As we reported here last week, the first actual step toward the desperately needed dredging of White Rock Lake will likely happen August 15. That’s when the Park Board will vote on a proposal by Councilwoman Paula Blackmon to spend $100,000 from the White Rock Lake Beautification Fund to pay for a dredging feasibility study. The dredging itself will cost upwards of $25 million. Again, a big part of that bill will be the line item for disposing of the tons and tons of silt that will be sucked out of the lake.
Dear readers, I have a solution. Or at least a partial solution.
I propose that some of the silt be deposited right in the dang center of the lake, thereby creating an island. A party island. One might even call it a fantasy island. The only way to access it would be via watercraft. Paddle or row or sail — your choice. So the thing would never get overcrowded. I’m not talking an enormous landmass. Maybe it’s only 5,000 square feet. It would be covered in Astro Turf so that it would remain green and floodwater resistant. Maybe you put one palm tree on it. Some folding chairs. I’m not sure. But this is important: it would have a small beer shack on it. Or a food truck, as pictured above in the rendering by Kendall Creative. (How does the food truck get there? Details!) Whoever wins the bid to run the beer shack (or food truck) would have to ferry the ice and beers out there every day. There’d be a flagpole to signal when the shack (or, again, truck) was open for business. Obviously weather would play a major role. As would — are you ready for this? — rentals. Want to rent the island for your wedding or bat mitzvah? Bang, you can do that.
The best part? Mark Cuban helps fund the construction, and we name it — this is too good — Cuban Island!
Before you dismiss this idea as another harebrained, new-urbanism dream — like walkable sidewalks downtown and protected bike lanes and buses that run on time and actually go where people want to travel — I present this list of irrefutable facts that nearly guarantee Cuban Island will be built:
1. I think this idea originally came up on 1310 AM The Ticket. It had nothing to do with dredging, and they didn’t have Cuban involved. But I’m told a White Rock Lake island was first conceived by The Morning Musers. Their backing will solidify city support. (Important: I didn’t myself hear them talk about this, so I am claiming full credit for this idea. Can’t stop me.)
2. Mark Cuban has a track record of throwing money at silly, fun causes. Remember when he ponied up to save the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade? Exactly. With this project, unlike the parade, he’ll have something tangible that his kids can take pride in, just like Klyde Warren Park.
3. Speaking of Klyde Warren Park, remember when everyone thought it was crazy to build a park over a highway? Compared to that, building an island in a lake sounds like a no-brainer.
4. There is precedent. When the lake was dredged in 1974, some of the silt was used to create what is now the dog park, at the north end.
5. Cuban Island would pay for itself. Just as the Filter Building rentals are being used to fund the proposed dredging feasibility study, so would Cuban Island rentals generate funds for future projects.
That’s it, people. Let’s get ’er done. Remember: this is Dallas. Big things happen here.