Dallas’s famous freeway-capping park is one step closer to being expanded

Dallas-based Jacobs Engineering Group donated a $ 8 million donation to the city’s Klyde Warren Park, used by the nonprofit group that operates and manages the park, the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, to help realize an extension of the the announced Autobahn comes a significant step closer. Closing green spaces. Jacobs was designed by the youngest National Design Award winner, OJB Landscape Architecture, and worked as a civil engineer on the complex, long-term project.

The donation to secure the naming rights is the largest corporate gift in over a decade for a project in downtown Dallas. The announcement also lands eight years after the park’s debut and two years after the planned expansion was unveiled – and met with criticism. A press release from the park announcing the gift stated that October was historically an “important month in the development of Klyde Warren Park.”

At an estimated cost of $ 100 million, the expansion would add 1.65 acres to the western edge of the 5.2 acre park, generating significant fanfare and curiosity in 2012. The park connects the downtown Arts District to Uptown Dallas. The above-average section of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway is a hub for food trucks, outdoor recreation, and community gatherings. The extension would also be right above the motorway. In the press release, Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation Chairman Jody Grant described the expansion as “a project we believe is critical to improving the connectivity of our urban core.”

In addition to his gift, Jacobs is of course also working on expansion. “[…] Due to the success of phase 1 and the valuable findings, Jacobs will use this experience for the future planning and construction of the park extension. The same team that worked on phase 1 will also work on phase 2, ”the company explained in its own press release. (To be clear, OJB is not involved in the expansion project.)

The new parking strip is called Jacobs Lawn and has a three-story, 20,000-square-foot event pavilion with a visitor center, an ice rink the size of a Rockefeller Center in the winter months, according to the new local source CBS DFW, and 36,000 square feet of outdoor space for festivals, pop-up Markets and the like. The start of construction is expected for the end of 2021 and in the last three years. According to the Dallas Morning News, the rink is being designed in collaboration with the local professional ice hockey franchise Dallas Stars.

One of the top five highest earning architecture / engineering firms, Jacobs, noted the Morning News, is a relatively new addition to the Metroplex, which moved its longtime headquarters from Pasadena, California to Dallas in 2016.

“We know that developing human-centered infrastructure builds strong, vibrant communities and adds value to society at large,” said Steve Demetriou, chairman and CEO of Jacobs, in a statement. “Klyde Warren Park helped transform Dallas, and everyone who works and lives in the community has a responsibility to see Dallas continue to thrive. The park – and soon Jacobs Lawn – is a place where everyone is welcome and where diversity is celebrated, which is an integral part of Jacobs’ culture. “

The Jacobs gift is critical in that it brings project funding in half – $ 50 million – and allows construction to officially start on the freeway deck. It also comes at a time when fundraising has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. “This gift will get us back in the game,” Grant told the Morning News.

The economic impact Klyde Warren Park has had on Dallas since it opened has attracted an estimated 10 million visitors in its eight-year history – an estimated $ 2.5 billion per park. Over 1,300 free public events and programs have been held in the park, although the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in many large gatherings being canceled, including most recently an open air showing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. As reported by the Morning News, the park was also forced to cut its operating budget by 40 percent and invest heavily in new cleaning protocols while staying open seven days a week.

Other important donors to the expansion project are energy billionaire Kelcy Warren and his wife Amy. Warren donated $ 10 million to the original park project, named after his then ten-year-old son, who was cleaned up once a month as part of the naming contract.

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