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

Dallas Arboretum has been using the Winfrey Point parking lots for employee parking, during arboretum construction

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Tuesday, May 1, 2012  |  Updated 8:21 PM CDT
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Dallas neighbors won a court order blocking the Dallas Arboretum's plans to build a parking lot in a wildflower area at Winfrey Point by White Rock Lake.

Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News

Dallas neighbors won a court order blocking the Dallas Arboretum's plans to build a parking lot in a wildflower area at Winfrey Point by White Rock Lake.

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Angry residents won a court order Tuesday to block construction of a parking lot in wildflower areas at White Rock Lake Park.

The Dallas Arboretum, an attraction that champions plants and nature, wants the extra parking areas at Winfrey Point on the lake.

The arboretum has big expansion plans but a shortage of parking.

"It's hard to kind of reconcile all that," Lance Spillman, Dallas Little League president, said about the arboretum's plan to take a wildflower area.

The little league has fields at Winfrey Point, and Spillman said he was shown the parking plans Saturday by arboretum CEO and president Mary Brinegar.

"They would mow this area down just to grass, put some of these bollards around the perimeter of it, and that they would have parking attendants, parking managers, who would manage all of the parking down here, and it would be for-fee parking," Spillman said.

Spillman said the arboretum would get control of all Winfrey Point parking, including the lot the little league paid to put gravel in.

"The parks department is essentially saying we are ceding control of this area over to the arboretum," Spillman said.

Dallas Councilman Sheffie Kadane, who represents the area, said he has heard the complaints but said the arboretum is important to Dallas, too.

"This is just a temporary situation," he said. "They're going to park cars temporarily here, and the Park Board has already approved and passed that situation."

Kadane was named in the neighbors' lawsuit, along with Dallas Parks Director Paul Dyer and the Dallas Arboretum and its leaders.

The temporary restraining order granted Tuesday blocks construction of new parking areas, but does not necessarily block mowing of wildflowers and parking on grass, according to plaintiff's attorney Robert Cohen.

He said the case is set for a hearing May 14.

Contacted by telephone Tuesday, Brinegar said the arboretum is working under a transportation management plan dictated by the city but she declined to discuss the use of a wildflower area for parking.

"It is the Parks Department's property, and we've gone through channels," she said.

Brinegar referred other questions about use of the site to Dyer, who did not return messages left for him Monday and Tuesday.

Previous Report: Dallas Man Threatens Lawsuit Over Wildflowers

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