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Woodall Rodgers Park: Dallas Takes A Giant Step Towards Becoming A World-Class City

Three attributes seemingly shared by all world class cities are outstanding public parks, transportation and neighborhood connectivity. In building Woodall Rodgers Park, Dallas improves all three.

In September, Dallas broke ground on a park over Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets. The park creates tremendous connectivity between Downtown Dallas and Uptown – the neighborhood immediately north of Woodall Rodgers Freeway – arguably one of the hottest real estate markets in Dallas.

 When complete, the park will serve as a central gathering space for Dallas and its visitors to enjoy in the heart of the city. The 5.2-acre deck park will create an urban green space over the existing Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets in downtown Dallas. Plans include a performance pavilion, restaurant, walking trails, a dog park, a children’s discovery garden and playground, water features, an area for games and much more.

Connectivity is central to The Park’s purpose. The Park will promote increased pedestrian, trolley and bicycle use between Uptown, Downtown and the Arts District, contributing to a more walkable city center.

woodall_rodgers_park_greatlawnThe Park will create a Great Lawn for the adjacent cultural centers including the Dallas Center for Performing Arts, Dallas Museum of Art, the Meyerson Symphony Hall, Nasher Sculpture Center, Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, Booker T. Washington School for the Visual and Performing Arts and the Museum of Nature and Science.

Construction on the deck plaza began in October 2009. The base park is expected to be complete in early 2012 with amenities expected to be complete in late 2012.

Construction is funded through a public, private partnership including $20 million in bond funds from the City of Dallas, $20 million in highway funds from the state and federal government through the Texas Department of Transportation and $20 million from private donations. In March, the Park was selected to receive $16.7 million in stimulus funds that are specifically for transportation enhancement construction. The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation continues to raise private funds, including the naming rights for park features, to fund amenity construction, operations and programming.

The Park will be owned by the City of Dallas and managed by the private Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. The Foundation has studied great public parks across the country and plans to bring best practices to The Park’s operations, programming and maintenance.

The design and construction of the park is being managed by Bjerke Management Solutions and the design is led by two nationally-recognized design firms, The Office of James Burnett and Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. The Texas Department of Transportation selected Archer Western as the contractor for construction of the deck plaza.

The project is in its second phase of construction – one of the less exciting phases – construction of the support structures. Walls are being erected along Woodall Rodgers Freeway and new sections go up daily.
Project managers will begin seeking bids for the park’s amenities and other final improvements starting in April. By June, freeway motorists will see the support structures going up for the beams that will stretch across the freeway, forming the park’s foundation.

It is a fantastic project, brought about by a partnership of the public and private sectors.  Thanks to all those who worked so hard on this project and contributed so much; you’re helping Dallas along the path to world-class status. For more information, visit the Park Website.

Scott Schaefer