Nine years after we voted to spend $246 million on a bond proposal to turn the Trinity River downtown from a muck-hole into an urban oasis, do you see any parks or lakes downtown?




Where’s our park?

In 1998, we voted to spend $246 million on a bond proposal to turn the Trinity River downtown from a muck-hole into an urban oasis, complete with lakes and sailboats and parks and fountains.

I’ll admit it sounded like a pretty grand plan, but I wanted to believe. And all of those beautiful images in the campaign brochures (check out to see a few of them) convinced me to vote for the project.

Nine years later, do you see any parks or lakes downtown? Will we ever see any of the parks and lakes we were promised downtown?

Now we could start pointing fingers and naming names, but that’s not going to get the lakes and parks built any more quickly. And I think you and I and the rest of the registered voters in the city are guilty, too.

We voted for something. We entrusted our elected officials to follow our instructions. And then we turned our backs on them and started worrying about our jobs and our families and our mortgages and our car payments. We expected them to do what we pay them to do, and they didn’t.

Instead, they were diverted by someone else’s dream of building a “signature bridge” that none of us voted to build or pay for. And they’ve become consumed with building a toll road down the Trinity that is going to gobble up much of the land we set aside for parks.

True, we voted for a road in the 1998 bond issue, but not the proposed super-highway that has absolutely no access to the park land and is guaranteed to be an eyesore that no one will want to picnic under or near. And given the environmental stress and high gas prices of today, is another super-highway even the way we want to go?

That’s what councilwoman Angela Hunt’s petition effort is all about: Asking the people we employ with our tax dollars to build the parks we said we’d pay for.

Nothing else has worked to get their attention, so the only way to find out once and for all whether we’ll ever have parks and lakes in the Trinity is to put the proposed toll road location on the ballot in November.

The mayor and everyone else (so far) on the city council says if we sign the petitions, we’re just delaying the parks and lakes. But we’ve waited nine years for them to take some action; what difference will another six months make?

Hunt needs signatures from 50,000 people registered city of Dallas voters to bring the Trinity Toll Road location to a vote. Without this vote, the people running the city have promised to build the toll road in a location that will kill the parks and lakes we asked them to build. And the dream we have of building an urban oasis in the Trinity will die with them.

Where’s our park? It’s in our hands now.

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