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Park Donation Made in Southeast Dallas

DALLAS—Mayor Eric Johnson recently announced Oncor Electric Delivery is donating 110 acres of land, including Parkdale Lake, to the city’s Park and Recreation system.

It will be the largest donation of parkland in Dallas since 1938, when the city acquired more than 600 acres of parkland from the W.W. Samuell Estate.

The Parkdale Lake donation is the result of the combined effort of Oncor, the city of Dallas Park and Recreation Department, and the Circuit Trail Conservancy (CTC), the nonprofit completing The LOOP, a 50-mile walk-and-bike trail connecting northern, southern, eastern and western Dallas.

Mayor Johnson initially teased the park announcement during his State of the City address on Nov. 17. He made the official announcement during a news conference Tuesday at Dallas City Hall.

“Dallas’ development is a great story, one that is increasingly earning national attention,” Johnson said. “We are one of the fastest-growing major cities in the country. We have a booming and diverse economy that serves as the engine of the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Our skyline is dotted with construction cranes. But development alone does not tell the full story of our city.

“Dallas is flourishing, because we are intently focused on providing an amazing quality of life for our residents. We are eliminating blight and building new parks, trails, and green spaces across our city. The donation of Parkdale Lake and the surrounding land is huge for Dallas. It will create new recreational opportunities and help us connect our neighborhoods through our trail system. I am excited about the possibilities, and I am grateful to our partners at Oncor and the Circuit Trail Conservancy for helping us make this new park possible.”

Parkdale Lake is located in Southeast Dallas along White Rock Creek. The lake was built in 1953 as a water storage site for the Parkdale Steam Electric Station, which was decommissioned in 2005. Prior to that, the area was farmland in the 1930s and was abandoned in the early 1950s because of flooding.

Oncor Electric Delivery has owned Parkdale Lake and surrounding land totaling 280 acres since 2010. In 2019, the Park and Recreation Department and the CTC approached Oncor about donating the lake and land, which is critical to delivering the Trinity Forest Spine Trail and The LOOP.

Several years ago, Oncor began the process of donating Parkdale Lake and the surrounding land west of White Rock Creek to the city of Dallas for the Circuit Trail Conservancy to use to address flooding, and to the Park and Recreation Department for use as future park land to serve the community.

“The initiative by the City of Dallas and the Circuit Trail Conservancy to unite Dallas’ neighborhoods is a big win for our entire community,” Allen Nye, CEO of Oncor, said. “The LOOP will connect Dallas in a way that increases access for all residents to our city’s economic resources, enhances green space and improves overall quality of life. We’re so proud to be a part of making this project a reality.”

The parkland is also located near Lawnview Park, a 38-acre space that the city established in 1948. City Councilmember Adam Bazaldua, who represents the Parkdale Lake area, said the donation could help the city attract and retain families.

“This land donation is such exciting news for Southeast Dallas,” Bazaldua, who chairs the City Council’s Quality of Life, Arts, and Culture Committee, said. “Parks are critical to the quality of life for our residents, and Parkdale Lake has so much potential to bring recreation programming while also acting as a catalyst for economic growth in the surrounding area. I am very thankful for Oncor’s generous donation and for the Circuit Trail Conservancy‘s continued commitment to multimodal connection and preservation of green space in our city.”

The Park Board will be briefed on the donation at its Dec. 9 meeting.

“This is a real win for Dallas’ vision to have a comprehensive system of parks, trails, open spaces and recreation facilities that sustains, inspires and invigorates,” Arun Agarwal, president of the city of Dallas Park Board, said. “This is the largest land commitment for the Dallas Park system since the 1930’s. It will help the city of Dallas, and specifically southern Dallas, as this donation is south of I-30, grow in a healthy way. Great partnerships like this one between the city of Dallas, Oncor and the Circuit Trail Conservancy bring more beautiful, open green space to residents and visitors.”

The North Phase of the Trinity Forest Spine Trail will be completed in two phases. The first phase, which broke ground in July, extends from just below the White Rock Lake spillway to Samuell Road; the second phase will extend to the Lawnview DART Station in the Parkdale/Lawnview neighborhood of southeast Dallas. The southern phase will extend from Scyene Road to Pemberton Hill Road, passing through Roosevelt Heights, down to U.S. 175, with construction expected to begin in 2022.

Most of the Trinity Forest Spine Trail lies within the White Rock Creek floodplain, so it requires hydrological mitigation, landscape features that interrupt the flow of runoff to rivers. Parkdale Lake is a key addition to the plan because of the important role it will play in managing runoff and preventing flooding.

Any plans or programming for the remainder of the property will depend on community input.

“A critical piece of The LOOP is the Trinity Forest Spine Trail, a nine-mile connection from White Rock Lake to the Great Trinity Forest,” said Philip Hiatt Haigh, executive director of the Circuit Trail Conservancy. “With this donation, the Circuit Trail Conservancy can complete the Trinity Forest Spine Trail, and The LOOP, in its entirety, bringing together neighborhoods that have long been disconnected and make walkable, bikeable green space a strong part of Dallas’ identity.”

“We know there is an infrastructure disparity between North and South Dallas that has left neighborhoods, like Parkdale, without dedicated, safe pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods or the rest of Dallas. Completing The LOOP is a step in the right direction toward connecting and uniting Dallas,” continued Hiatt Haigh. “Parkdale is less than five miles from White Rock and because of this land donation, and public funding from the city of Dallas, County of Dallas and privately raised CTC funds, these neighborhoods will now be connected.”

SOURCE City of Dallas