What's Happening — Or Not — With Dallas' Trinity Park Plan, and More From Robert Wilonsky This Week

Here's the latest edition of Robert Wilonsky's Most Dallas Newsletter Ever. Enter your email address to subscribe below.Trinity River Park Plan Underwater?I agreed to do this newsletter I was under the impression someone else would write it for me, like my columns. Or, that it would be a one-off like that FOX TV series from 1997starring MacArthur High School's Brian Bosworth as "an ex-special forces operative who became a motorcycle riding private investigator in Miami's South Beach." So imagine my shock and surprise when my editor asked for this week's edition. But while I have you ... I saw on the Internet a few days ago where former Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt wrote that Michael Van Valkenburgh's design for the park between the Trinity River levees has been "rejected by the feds." Hunt, the hero who pushed harder than anyone to kill the Trinity River toll road and fought for trails between the levees, was riffing off a recent revelation that the Corps isn't happy with an early look-see at the park design because it doesn't jibe with what you can and can't do between the levees. Wrote Hunt in two long Facebook posts, ditch the high-priced park and "engage naturalists, botonists, Blackland Prairie habitat experts, biologists, wildlife experts, people who live and breathe the Trinity." Hey, fine by me. But I am a simple man who has always liked what's down there now -- a floodway, as intended, where you can bike and hike in the relative quiet of a skyline that looks close-up and feels far away. Alas, it may be too soon to proclaim the Van Valkenburgh plan DOA. Because soon as I saw Hunt's post, I asked the Corps for a response. And this is what I got: "The Fort Worth District has had preliminary meetings with City of Dallas representatives concerning several courses of action with recreation features within the Dallas Floodway. We have not received an official request from the city so would be premature for us to comment on any of the courses of action which have been proposed." I started asking around City Hall what the what. And after getting bounced around, The Mayor hisself wanted to weigh in. And this is what Mike Rawlings had to say: "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not formally said we are out of compliance with the Balanced Vision Plan and we have not asked for an official determination. The purpose of our ongoing conversations between the City, the Trinity River LGC, the Trinity Park Conservancy and the Corps is to ensure that the Harold Simmons Park design remains in compliance with the Balanced Vision Plan. The design process is ongoing and we are committed to working with the Corps throughout." So it doesn't exactly sound ... officially rejected by the feds. I do know that come May 20, three years will have passed since we were introduced to the Van V plan. And that we've been promised a park along the Trinity since the Brooklyn Dodgers announced plans to buy land for a ballpark that became Ebbets Field (fine, since 1911).The Trinity Park Conservancy is having a design thing on April 25 at the old Dallas High School. Here's the invite. Or wait for the next one. Or the next one. Or the next one. Or 2049.  Continue reading...

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