The City of Dallas Tuesday received the largest donation of park land in 83 years.
It will provide a missing segment to help complete a 50-mile trail loop around the city.
And the 110-acre East Dallas land donation includes Parkdale Lake, which will be surrounded with a large new park for the residents.
Neighbors in the adjacent Parkdale neighborhood Tuesday said they are pleased about the big plans.
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“I can’t wait to see what the vision is for this project. I’m just super excited that we have this coming,” resident Jose Rivas said.
Many Parkdale homes were built in the late 1940s but the area is also popular today with younger families.
“We were really lucky, my brother and my sister and I got to grow up in this community,” Rivas said.
He and his siblings roved around creeks and smaller parks in the area as they grew up, but in all their years, Rivas said they never visited that lake.
“There was this old tale that said there was quicksand. There was quicksand back there. And so, the kids, we were adventurous, but we were also smart enough to know, we better not go someplace where our parents can’t find us,” Rivas said.
Parkdale Homeowners Association President Casie Pierce said visitors will soon be able to find out for themselves that there is no quicksand because the loop trail will provide access to the site.
“Years and years ago we were thinking, ‘Man, Parkdale Lake would be a great place to do something.’ And so I’m glad there is finally something happening on it and it’s going to be donated to the city,” Peirce said.
Officials with the Loop Trail project said a $12 million federal grant has recently been secured to complete the $85 million needed for the entire loop.
It will use existing trail segments already completed. The Parkdale segment was one of the gaps.
Peirce said the trail and new lake park should provide a new boost for their older part of Dallas, where there are some smaller parks old commercial buildings that need new investment.
“Instead of just people going, let's go use this trail for the sake of using, they'll have a destination to go to. They'll come through the neighborhoods and they'll see. Hopefully, we'll be able to get better businesses in,” Peirce said.
Mayor Eric Johnson held a press conference Tuesday with those two residents on hand, along with neighborhood City Council Members Adam Bazaldua and Jaime Resendez and trail officials.
They officially accepted the donation and thanked electric power distribution provider Oncor.
“It's the single largest donation of park land to our city since 1938,” Johnson said.
The site was once a cooling lake for a power plant that was removed long ago. A small electric distribution facility is at one corner of the property.
“But there was a lot of it that was unused that could really provide, we think, a public benefit,” Oncor CEO Allen Nye said. “We couldn’t be more happy to do it and we’re thrilled to see what becomes of this property.”
Dallas Parks Director John Jenkins said around $20 million will be needed, likely from a future Dallas public improvement bond referendum, to complete park development around the lake.
But the new trail access through the site is already funded and could be completed next year.
“There is no quicksand as far as I know actually, so it's going to be great to have it,” Rivas said.
The long-time resident will soon be able to safely verify the lack of quicksand for himself.