The agenda included a presentation and discussion led by City of Dallas’ Parks & Recreation (Parks & Rec.) representatives, who revealed the City’s plans to widen and extend White Rock Trail, create new playgrounds and refurbish existing ones.
Naysayers to the City’s plan to renovate playgrounds and install new equipment said that parents should be given the opportunity to be heard before the fact regarding new parks, and what equipment will be purchased. Neighbors said that existing equipment is unsafe, outdated and unappealing to kids. They requested that Parks & Rec. meet with groups of neighbors and parents to hear their suggestions, ideas and opposition before planning commences.
Parks & Rec. wants to enforce a plan to encourage use of White Rock Trail, while alleviating bikers, runners, walkers and baby strollers on Lawther Drive. Opposition to the plan argued that, while debating whether to enforce regulations, the City has not considered that those individuals who wish to use Lawther Drive, and not the trail, will continue using Lawther for their activities.
There was heated debate over the Boat Club’s parking lot, and whether or not the City should be responsible for repairs made to the private club’s parking lot.
Jeff Snoyer, owner of Highland Park Cafeteria and Monopoly Place Duplexes attended the meeting. Snoyer, who is an avid biker and sailor at White Rock Lake, said during the meeting he observed what seemed like a breakdown of communication between some dedicated, highly trained public servants presenting a completed plan, for which they had spent an enormous amount of time and money to develop.
“Some of those opposing the plan were truly caring individuals who intimately know and experience the lake, its trails and playgrounds,” Snoyer said. “This group felt left out of the process, for which they had distinct opinions.”
Snoyer added that he hopes that lake groups and the City can communicate better in the future. He said that the City Council’s Homeowners League boot camp could be a good model for White Rock residents, along with lake groups, to discuss and affect plans.
According to Snoyer, during boot camp individuals and groups meet in the City Council Arena, where there is a relevant keynote speaker, and then attendees break out into groups that discuss various topics and issues.
“The setting automatically brings respect for the authority that rests in our elected officials’ hands,” he said.
Richard Stauffer, P.E., an engineer with the Park and Recreation Department, said the map is the concept plan that was approved by the Park Board on Dec. 3, 2009.
“After the approval, we moved forward with securing a professional services design contract with Jacobs Engineering and had that contract approved by the Park Board on Aug. 19, 2010,” Stauffer said.
“Since then, we have been proceeding with design of the project and moved forward with the final public meeting to present the proposed improvements for the East Lawther Trail.”
Stauffer continued, “We are now producing the construction drawings for the improvements and we estimate we will have them ready to advertise for bids in August or September 2012. After that, we will move forward with an award of a construction contract to the lowest qualified bidder. We estimate construction to begin December of 2012.”
He added that the Dog Park project would follow the same schedule. For additional information about White Rock Lake Park, see dallascityhall.com/parks/index.html.