New Green Spaces Enhance Downtown Dallas

For many of us, it may be hard to imagine Downtown Dallas without Klyde Warren Park’s 5.2 acres of bustling greenspace, even though the park only opened to the public a short seven years ago. Indeed, it seems that Dallas, like many metropolises around the country, has been making heightened efforts to create more public outdoor recreational spaces downtown in the past decade and shows no signs of stopping. This year brings several new additions to the urban landscape, including Klyde Warren Park’s upcoming expansion and Pacific Plaza Park, an entirely new public greenspace in the heart of Downtown.

The final design of Klyde Warren Park’s highly anticipated expansion was revealed Oct. 15, after the project’s announcement late last year. The effort comes as a partnership between the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation and VisitDallas, and has found huge funding in both private and public sectors. Coordinators announced new donations along with the design plans, including $20 million from Kelcy and Ann Warren, whose contribution largely funded the park’s original construction nearly a decade ago.

The final renderings, presented as a joint effort between HKS, Gensler, Jacobs and OJB Landscape Architecture firms, showcase impressive plans for the future of the beloved Dallas destination, adding 1.2 acres in total. Along with an expected added 32,000 square feet of green space, the expansion will include construction of a three-story pavilion, a new fountain facing Pearl Street complete with choreographed water shows and a revamping of the popular children’s park, according to D Magazine.

The planned pavilion will serve several purposes for the city, with VisitDallas to occupy the ground floor as an interactive visitor’s center. The pavilion will also house a new café, a rooftop deck and a ballroom available to rent for special events. Rental revenue earned from the space will fund park upkeep and allow existing and future programs and events presented by Klyde Warren Park to remain free for the enjoyment of the Dallas public.

“This project fulfills the vision we outlined when we began talking about decking over Woodall Rodgers a decade ago, and it is the next step in improving the connectivity of the Park and the Arts District with the West End, Victory Park and the Perot Museum,” said Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation chairman Jody Grant of the expansion. Construction for the project is expected to begin in winter 2021 and be completed by 2024, according to Klyde Warren Park.

Along with these exciting new plans for Klyde Warren, Dallas has recently unveiled a finished new urban park in the heart of downtown. Called Pacific Plaza Park, this space provides 3.7 acres of new green space, transforming what was previously a parking lot into a meticulously-detailed public recreational area.

Pacific Plaza Park was funded by nonprofit organization Parks for Downtown Dallas and designed by a team within HKS Architects, one of the firms designing the Klyde Warren Park expansion. Details of the park’s sizable metal shade while extraordinarily beautiful, may seem a bit random, but each design element actually nods to Dallas’s rich history.

For example, perforations in the structure’s stainless-steel panels actually serve as an abstract version of Morse Code to reference the historic 19th century rail line that ran adjacent to the new park’s location, whose engineers used Morse Code to communicate along the line from El Paso to New Orleans.

Hidden meanings and attention to detail set Pacific Plaza Park apart from other urban parks, providing a much-needed natural refuge set against the stark concrete landscape of downtown. In fact, the park offers 144 newly planted trees and 23 mature live oaks to garnish the space between busy Dallas streets.

Dallas’ effort to beautify its urban areas does not end with Klyde Warren Park’s upcoming expansion or Pacific Plaza Park, however. Non-profit Parks for Downtown Dallas already has plans in place for three more parks downtown: West End Square, Carpenter Park and Harwood Park, all of which are expected to be open to the public by 2022.

Head downtown to soak in drab expanses of concrete while you still can—within the next few years, Dallas will likely be unrecognizable thanks to the many plans to fill the city with public recreation spaces, from expanding established favorites to introducing impressive new projects.

Image courtesy of WFAA

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