Woodall Rodgers Deck Park Gets Stimulated

"Shovel-ready" projects were all the rage during the early days of the stimulus, and now, the feds are funding $16.7 million of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway Deck Plaza construction costs.

We had forgotten about the park until a few weeks ago -- which we wrote about here -- but this news is sure to light a fire under the construction of the park.

We've attached the full press release from The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation below, where they extol the virtues of their "landmark Dallas project."

Full Press Release:

Transportation Enhancement Stimulus Funds Awarded to Woodall Rodgers Freeway Deck Plaza
Landmark Dallas Project Moves Forward

DALLAS (March 26, 2009) - The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation will receive $16.7 million in federal stimulus funds toward constructing a deck plaza over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway in downtown Dallas. The Woodall Rodgers deck plaza is a "shovel-ready" transportation enhancement project that will create approximately 1,000 immediate jobs and will stimulate additional economic development and job growth in the future.

The project will provide a vital pedestrian and bicycle connection between both sides of the existing freeway, connecting Downtown Dallas, the Arts District, and the Uptown and Victory residential districts. The Woodall Rodgers Park will be a 5-acre urban park built on top of the deck plaza structure.

"The stimulus money will go towards a project that will be central to the Dallas' identity for generations to come," said Linda Owen, president of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. "We are excited and grateful for the boost in funding that will help us achieve even more of our goals for the Park."

The stimulus funds were awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation Commission with a vote to approve a list of projects selected for transportation enhancement funds. The funding for highway and bridge construction under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stipulated that three percent of those funds be set aside for transportation enhancement projects.

Since its completion, the Woodall Rodgers Freeway has served as a barrier between Uptown and Downtown Dallas. The deck plaza mitigates the harsh environment and will re-knit the urban fabric to enable safe, useful pedestrian connections across and along the freeway. A bridge structure will be constructed across the freeway between existing bridges on St. Paul and Pearl Street.

"The pedestrian and bicycle enhancements will serve as a major catalyst for improved mobility, safety and economic development," said Owen. "The project will transform our city's geography and quality of life."

The Woodall Rodgers Freeway Deck Plaza is funded and developed through a public, private partnership including the Texas Department of Transportation, the City of Dallas, the North Central Texas Council Of Governments and the private sector's Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. It has been in the planning stages since 2004.

Utility construction began last month providing the infrastructure necessary to begin work on the deck plaza. The additional stimulus funding is expected to accelerate the deck construction which is slated for late summer or early fall 2009.

About Woodall Rodgers Park

The Woodall Rodgers Park is a 5.2-acre, $80 million deck park that will create an urban green space over the existing Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets. Like the Washington Mall in D.C., the park will provide connectivity to the city's flourishing Arts District, bringing world-class cultural offerings together as a central gathering space for Dallas and its visitors to enjoy.

Plans for the park include jogging trails, a dog park, a children's playground, a restaurant, a performance pavilion, a water sculpture, an area for games and much more.

The park is being designed by The Office of James Burnett in conjunction with the engineering firm of Jacobs Carter Burgess. Bjerke Management Solutions is the project manager.

For more information, please visit www.woodallrodgerspark.org

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