DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas residents and others who use White Rock Lake Park have reached a temporary truce on the contentious issue of parking at Winfrey Point.
On Wednesday the city and the Arboretum each they would not immediately mow a green space at the park to allow for overflow parking from the Arboretum. The irony is that the park is so successful that “parking at the park” is an issue that’s bounced between courts and City Hall.
On Wednesday, the ball was in City Hall’s court.
“We thought that today was the proper time to deliver the first round of petitions,” said Chris Herron of the Emerald Isle Neighborhood Association, as he displayed boxes filled with petitions. Eight thousand of them. Signed by people who argue there’s already parking at the park. “We feel they can better utilize the parking that they have,” said Herron, adding, “they don’t need to take away the natural areas the city has already worked so hard to preserve.”
In separate statements, both the Arboretum and the city announced plans to mow at Winfrey Point would be put on hold temporarily. “We’re glad they backed away from that and we’re very optimistic that they’re sincere about moving forward,” Herron told CBS 11 News.
A supporter, Donna Harris, addressed the council along with Herron.
“This concession was just the beginning of much work that needs to be done in how we go forward in managing our land,” she said in an open microphone forum at the conclusion of Wednesday’s council meeting.
“Don’t do anything crazy in the short term,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings cautioned, while adding that a long-term solution simply must be worked out. “People are parking there all the time and have been for years, whether they’re playing baseball or on the trails, so we’ve got dozens and dozens of cars parking there. This is just kicking the can down the road a little bit.”
And while the city and the council said they were listening, like the mayor, they cautioned something has to give. There is a need for additional parking, and building a garage in the park was one avenue under discussion.
“There’s so many things to look at in the area,” Parks Director Paul Dyer told the council. “We may have to something that may include structured parking underground, above-ground.”
And councilman Dwaine Caraway advised unhappy residents, “Stay open (to possible changes) because we must find an area that will benefit both the neighborhood and the Arboretum.”