Showdown Over Restaurant Plans at Dallas White Rock Lake Park

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    The son of Robert F. Kennedy has been charged with harassment and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly clashing with two nurses who tried to stop him from taking his 2-day-old baby boy from a Westchester maternity unit. Douglas Kennedy and his wife called the charges "absurd" and said the nurses were in the wrong. Jonathan Dienst reports. This story was published Feb. 24, 2012 at 11:31 p.m. (Published Thursday, Apr 26, 2012)

    Dallas opponents hope to scare away the backers of a restaurant proposed at Dallas White Rock Lake Park.

    Developers plan to build the restaurant at Boy Scout Hill, but some folks resistant to the plan will voice opposition concerns at a community meeting Tuesday night.

    Opponents complain the Boy Scout Hill site is scarce Texas Blackland Prairie that should not be disturbed.

    “This land has never been touched by a plow. It’s one of the few, most endangered ecosystems left in this area,” said opponent Larry Spann.

    Spann and his wife have been circulating a petition which they say shows most neighbors don’t want a restaurant on the park site.

    “I think Dallas is very, very lucky to have such a beautiful park and it’s called the gem of Dallas and I think it’s worth preserving,” Suzann Spann said.

    Attorney Richard Kopf is dedicated to proceed with the lakeside restaurant plan.

    “I really hope that we can get the support of the city because I really think it would be something that can be enjoyed by the entire city and people that use the lake,” Kopf said.

    Architect Lyle Burgin is also involved in the project.

    The backers want to build the restaurant with private investments, give it back to the city and then lease and operate it as a lakeside attraction.

    Kopf said White Rock Lake needs a restaurant.

    “So many cities have that sort of an amenity. Why doesn’t Dallas have that? I think that would be such a great thing, trying to do that for the city of Dallas,” Kopf said.

    The opponents fear allowing a restaurant would open the door to other private lakeside development.

    “We don’t want the precedent here. We don’t want this lake developed,” Carey said.

    Kopf said the restaurant would be constructed without harming the blackland prairie site.

    “We’re going to restore an equal area of the black land prairie in that area,” Kopf said.

    The community meeting is set for 7 p.m. at Lake Highlands Baptist Church, 642 Brookhurst near Hexter Elementary School.

    Kopf said the backers will not be stopped by opposition at one meeting, but they won’t build the restaurant if it is not wanted. 

    Editor's Note: The original report said Dallas chef Stephen Pyles was involved in this project, that information was incorrect. Pyles is not involved, we regret the error.