Arboretum Plans Mention Replacing Little League Fields

City files reveal new details about Dallas Arboretum parking in wildflower areas

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Wednesday, May 2, 2012  |  Updated 8:28 PM CDT
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New plans emerged Wednesday which put Dallas Arboretum parking in wildflower areas at White Rock Lake, but neighbors continue to fight to preserve the grassland.

Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News

New plans emerged Wednesday which put Dallas Arboretum parking in wildflower areas at White Rock Lake, but neighbors continue to fight to preserve the grassland.

New revelations about Dallas Arboretum parking expansion plans for a White Rock Lake wildflower area emerged Wednesday as the arboretum president appeared at City Hall.

Documents obtained by neighbors through a Freedom of Information request show a two-story parking garage has been considered to replace Little League fields at Winfrey Point, along with surface parking lots that would replace the wildflower fields.

"It's unbelievable," said Chris Herron, president of the Emerald Isle Neighborhood Association.

The community lies in between the Arboretum and Winfrey Point along White Rock Lake.

"There's been no transparency in the process, and I think that's what really upsets these Dallas neighbors," Herron said.

Arboretum President Mary Brinegar's City Council briefing on the arboretum's expansion was scheduled long before neighbors sued to stop the parking plans Tuesday. She was at the meeting to discuss the under-construction Children's Garden.

"It's world-class in absolutely every way," she said.

Brinegar did not address the parking issue in the meeting, but council members spoke about it anyway.

"Sure, there may be some inconvenience, but there’s going to be more convenience and more that we will gain from providing the necessary parking," Councilman Dwaine Caraway said.

"I don't care what we have to do, but we're going to have parking at that arboretum," he said.

After the meeting, Brinegar declined to answer questions about plans to mow wildflowers for parking.

"That certainly needs to be reinterpreted, but I can't say anything about it now because that's a part of this legal problem that we have," she said. "There's qualified people that can straighten everyone out on that."

Neighbors said they remain committed to the fight.

"We've collected, so far, over 1,200 petition signatures in about 48 hours, and that effort is going to continue," Herron said.

Lance Spillman, president of the Dallas Little League, said city officials have told him the Winfrey Point Fields may be saved, and the garage plan may not go forward.

But City Hall is clearly committed to arboretum parking expansion.

A hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled May 14.

Previous Coverage: Court Order Blocks Parking Lot Construction at White Rock Lake Wildflower Area

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