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Public Meetings on Harold Simmons Park in the Trinity Begin This Weekend

You can say something, if you'd like.
Courtesy of the Trinity Conservancy

It’s time for you to say something about Harold Simmons Park.

The Trinity Park Conservancy on Saturday is kicking off its three-week tour of the city with 10 community meetings about the 200-acre park it is building between the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge and Interstate 30. Saturday’s meeting lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the West Dallas Multipurpose Center at Singleton Boulevard and Fish Trap Road, about three miles from where the park will be.

Brent Brown, the president of the Conservancy, says he’ll be present at each of the meetings as will members of the design team. They’re all over—as far south as the Trinity River Audubon Center (Saturday, Sept. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to as north as Lake Highlands High School (Monday, Sept. 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)

“We intentionally did this so it’s across the city,” he said. “We want to hear and we want to learn. What does the park mean for the city as a whole?”

Don’t expect formal presentations. Residents will be able to speak with the organization. He said board members are planning to attend, as are members from the various committees that are advising the planning process. Attendees can make videos or audio recordings if they so choose. There will be small group meetings and one-on-one opportunities. Comments will be recorded, and residents can fill out a survey if they’d like. Brown says the information will then be shared with the design team.

“We’re styling it so that we can have conversations, that’s why it’s not a presentation,” he said. “It’s meant to be a dialogue.”

The Conservancy has spent the past few months meeting with stakeholders and spreading word about the events. They held a series of biking, kayaking, and hiking events along the Trinity over the summer. They’ve brought together chambers of commerce from neighborhoods bordering the Trinity, both north and south of the river. Neighborhood associations have offered input. Brown says he had discussions about what the park would mean for development in West Dallas, an area that’s still reeling from the displacement that came along with the Trinity Groves development and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Brown says the Conservancy will be developing an economic plan alongside the design for the park.

“We’re not going to design the park and then worry about it, we’re going to do it hand in hand,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do and it’s the way parks need to be built, especially transformative parks like this.”

The Conservancy is also in charge of fundraising. The park will cost in the neighborhood of $200 million to deliver, and that’s how much must be raised for the Conservancy to unlock a $40 million gift from Annette Simmons, the widow of the park’s namesake. That process is ongoing, although Brown didn’t have an update regarding how much the group has raised. He did say that landscape starchitect firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates has officially been contracted to design the park while Austin-based Limno-Tech is handling hydrology, to determine the “hydrologic needs of the river alongside landscape design.”

If you have something to say, the meetings are posted below. If you can’t make them, or if you’d just like to fill out a survey, you can do so right here.

  • Saturday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the West Dallas Multipurpose Center
  • Monday, Sept. 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cedar Crest Golf Course
  • Saturday, Sept. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Trinity River Audubon Center
  • Monday, Sept. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Lake Highlands High School
  • Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the South Dallas Cultural Center
  • Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Solar Preparatory School for Girls
  • Thursday, Sept. 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bachman Lake Recreation Center
  • Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Jimmie Tyler Brashear Elementary School
  • Wednesday, Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library
  • Thursday, Oct. 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at George Bannerman Dealey Montessori Academy

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