The long-discussed vision to transform the Trinity River in Dallas into a world-class park is $50 million closer to reality.
"I think it's going to be great," said Dallas visitor Stephan Hoadley. "I think it's going to be nice when it's done."
What will be called Harold Simmons Park will span 155 acres along the banks for the Trinity River, a vision first approved by Dallas voters in 1998.
"The long-term look of the park is going to be reflective of what the citizens want," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings at a City Hall event to announce the donation Monday.
The family of the late banking billionaire Harold Simmons donated $50 million to jump start the project, five months after Rawlings unveiled the concept the for park.
"He loved nature, he loved family and he loved the city of Dallas," said Simmons's daughter, Amy Simmons Crafton. "I can imagine Harold smiling down from heaven, knowing that his name will be associated with something that he loved and that people would enjoy for many, many years to come."
"This will be a place where people can gather from all over the city," said Deedie Rose, with The Trinity Trust, which will help manage the park. "The whole thing is built as a city park, not a neighborhood park."
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"I think it's very awesome. I'm a very outdoors sort of person so it's a beautiful view out here, it's relaxing and (I'm) really excited about it," said Joel Eslora, of Dallas.
"It's a great asset to the city of Dallas to bring life back into different parts," said Krostofer Hunt, who lives in Oak Cliff. "We've seen what Klyde Warren (Park) has happened and what that's done for that area."
The final cost of the project could total $250 million, with the city kicking in $30 million approved by voters nearly 20 years ago.
"I had hoped we'd be here 10 years ago," said former Mayor Ron Kirk, who pushed for the project in 1998 while in office. "Let's got on with it, let's get this thing going, let's stop debating it. This is going to be an incredible asset for our city."
Fundraising continues, but Rawlings predicts construction could start in just over a year.