Dallas Leaders Cheer Trinity River Park Plan as Rangers Choose to Stay in Arlington - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas Leaders Cheer Trinity River Park Plan as Rangers Choose to Stay in Arlington

Proposed Dallas park first approved by voters in 1998

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    Dallas leaders Friday cheered the unveiling of yet another plan for the Trinity River Park that voters first approved in 1998. (Published Friday, May 20, 2016)

    Dallas leaders Friday cheered the unveiling of yet another plan for the Trinity River Park that voters first approved in 1998.

    It came as Arlington unveiled plans for a new Texas Rangers baseball stadium that some Dallas leaders tried to lure to Dallas.

    "If the citizens of Arlington want to spend their money on that stadium, good luck for them, and I'm excited. We have decided in Dallas that we're going to spend our money in nature," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said.

    The latest Trinity River Park concept could cost around $250 million. Some money for the park remains from past public improvement bond referendums, and Rawlings said the remainder would be raised from private contributions, not taxpayers.

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    "We're going to have wonderful buildings and opportunities for so many things over the next 50 years along this Trinity if we do what we're talking about," Rawlings said.

    Park planner John Alschuler said the park would be the catalyst for new development patterns in Dallas.

    "It's really a once in a century opportunity to build a new heart," Alschuler said.

    Downtown Dallas booster John Crawford confirmed talks with the Rangers about a possible move to Dallas. Crawford, CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc., said sites beside the proposed park were mentioned, along with Dallas Fair Park and a Deep Ellum site. But the Rangers and Arlington Friday announced plans for a new stadium near the site of the team's current home at Globe Life Park.

    "From a downtown perspective, we hate to see that happen but it is what it is," Crawford said. "You really can't lose something you never had. And, frankly, we had discussions, but they were never serious overtures."

    The new Dallas park plan includes a controversial road that could start out as a four-lane street and become wider six-lane road in the future.

    Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

    One longtime critic of Dallas Trinity River plans expressed skepticism about the lack of park construction money after Friday's unveiling. Former Dallas City Council Member Angela Hunt said the "delightful renderings" look a lot like 1998 and 2003 drawings that never became reality.

    "We keep reinventing the park but we don't build it," Hunt said. "We're no closer today to getting the park we were promised 20 years ago."

    Rawlings said he will strive to make this plan reality.

    "I'm going to be mayor for the next three years and I'm going to put every ounce of energy I've got to making it happen," he said.

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