Going in to this morning’s dedication ceremony commemorating the new and improved White Rock Lake spillway, I set the mental over-under on calling the lake the jewel of Dallas at 10.
Smart bettors who went with the under scored big because I counted only four such references during seven speeches.
All in all, the affair played out well enough. Speakers kept their remarks mercifully brief — it all concluded in less than an hour — the heat stayed to a tolerable setting, which was even more welcome because the event took place on the concrete of the expanded parking lot along Winsted Drive, a gentle mist periodically blew over the crowd from fountains spraying up from the lake, and the big finish provided a bit of a giggle.
The whole thing feted the repairs and improvements made at the spillway after the flood of March 2006 took out a retaining wall and big chunks of earth. Four years and more than $16.5 million later, the area sports separate paths for people on foot and people on wheels, three scenic overlooks, which really aren’t all that scenic when there’s little water rushing over the spillway, and promenade and plaza areas for general milling about.
Cyclists and skaters whizzed behind the makeshift stage, and while I was back there chatting with someone, an inline skater might have taken off one of my toes. I haven’t had the nerve to look yet.
I found it a little disconcerting to hear “The Star Spangled Banner” without the crowd punctuating the anthem with “STARS!”
It all concluded when the six speakers — Jody Puckett, director of Dallas Water Utilities, went twice — gathered around a big water valve conspicuously set up along the edge of the parking lot. Seemed odd, until they ceremoniously turned off the fountain spraying up from the lake, and a park department employee standing next to me said, “Ah, it’s just a prop.”
A more cynical type would say something like, “Typical Dallas … all image and no substance,” but I’m not that cynical.
Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He loves his hometown, he’s just not sure why.