A Dallas Water Garden project planned along Riverfront Boulevard will combine a linear park with water quality improvements for the old drainage channels that once were the original Trinity River path.
Voters approved $7 million for the $50 million project in the November 2017 Dallas Bond Referendum. The rest of the money would come from other government grants, a developer with adjacent property and private donations.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments has hired an engineering firm for $365,000 to do preliminary Water Garden design. The park will include a series of wetland ponds to filter storm water that moves through the area. An expanded Able Pump Station just being completed on Riverfront Boulevard will help move excess storm water from the Water Garden through the Trinity River floodway levees. The river was relocated into the floodway when the levees were built in the 1930's.
Dallas Park Board President Bobby Abtahi campaigned for the bond referendum and inclusion of the Water Garden Project.
“We thought it was a great addition to say that we’re not just going to focus on grey infrastructure and pouring concrete but we’re going to focus on green infrastructure and parks and blue infrastructure with our water sources,” he said. “Some people talk about win, win scenarios. This is like a win, win, win scenario, so it’s going to be great.”
The plan thrills neighbor Roger Reyna who owns a nightclub and the land around it on Riverfront Boulevard just south of I-30. His property is right beside the proposed water garden site.
“It will be a tremendous change from what it is now to what it will be then,” Reyna said.
The street was called Industrial Boulevard before the city changed it to Riverfront in 2009 to upgrade the image of what was a mostly industrial area.
Portions of Riverfront Boulevard have since been reconstructed. The terminal for a proposed High Speed Rail line to Houston is planned near the Water Garden site just east of Riverfront Boulevard on Cadiz Street. The hike and bike bridge portions of a new Margaret McDermott I-30 bridge over the Trinity River are expected to open soon with an entrance right behind Roger Reyna’s property.
“There probably will be more folks walking around, biking and stuff like that. And if we have those little ponds like they plan to do, there will probably be people around those ponds,” Reyna said.
His land is already zoned for development up to 300 feet in height. That could be more than 20 stories tall. He said the Water Garden could make this the perfect time to get top dollar for his property.
“I want to retire,” he said. “I want to do something different.”
Abtahi said the city hopes to begin construction of the Water Garden next year.