the City has chosen consultants to design Trinity Park” – Deedie Rose
HISTORIC $50 MILLION DONATION TO TRINITY RIVER PARK BY ANNETTE SIMMONS
The donation is in honor of Harold Simmons and is the single largest gift from a private donor for a public/private partnership benefitting the City of Dallas
Dallas, Texas, October 31, 2016 – Mayor Mike Rawlings, along with Annette Simmons and The Trinity Trust Foundation, announced a historic $50 million donation from Simmons in honor of her late husband, Harold Simmons, for the new Trinity River Park.The donation is the single largest gift from a private donor for a public/private partnership benefitting the City of Dallas. It will launch development and construction of the first phase of what is poised to become one of America’s greatest urban parks.
“This gift represents a major turning point for this project, and for our city,” said Rawlings. “With the generosity of Annette Simmons, in honor of Harold, we can begin to create a natural treasure for the future generations of Dallas. This will be one of America’s greatest urban parks and will serve as a gathering place that unites us right here in the heart of our city.”
The donation comes five months after Rawlings unveiled a conceptual design for the park to widespread acclaim. This concept was made possible by a gift from Deedie Rose, interim chair of The Trinity Trust Board of Directors, and the late Rusty Rose.
“My husband Harold was a visionary, a humanitarian and a nature lover.” said Annette Simmons. “He was committed to investing in Dallas and its citizens. This gift will begin the creation of a great public space in our city that will be a place to gather, to enjoy nature and promote health and well-being. I cannot think of a more lasting and meaningful
way to honor Harold’s memory and legacy,” Annette Simmons said.
With this historic donation, and following City Council approval, the park will be named the Harold Simmons Park. Other contingencies of the gift include that the park be operated by a private entity that has secured operations and maintenance funds.
The donation by Annette Simmons will fund further design of the concept presented in May, and along with other sources, will fund construction of the park. The Trinity Trust will serve as custodian of the initial gift payment until an entity is established to oversee and manage park- related expenses.
The full park concept encompasses more than 285 acres of land near the heart of downtown Dallas. The concept envisions a new naturalized river landscape that is ever-changing with miles of pathways and trails within the levees, and includes sites for five elevated parks that will extend from inside the levees into the adjacent communities. The concept also allows for the Trinity Parkway, which will provide primary access into the park and will require separate funding.
The concept is the careful work of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., one of America’s premier design firms whose work includes the Brooklyn Bridge Park and Harvard Commons Spaces. The next critical step in planning the construction will be community input that will provide the necessary information to create final designs.
“Dallas is very fortunate to have this forward-thinking, transformational gift from Annette Simmons,” Rawlings said. “This gift changes everything. It has the ability to change the culture and image of our city in the future. And in terms of immediate impact, it transitions us from thinking to doing. My hope is that in the near future we can begin a series of public input meetings to start building out the design of the park. By next year, we want to be building America’s next great urban park,” said Rawlings.
MAYOR RAWLINGS UNVEILS TRINTY RIVER PARK CONCEPT
DALLAS, Texas, May 20, 2016 – Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings unveiled a new concept for the first phase of the Trinity River Park. Using native plants, elevated landscape and natural features, the park will transform and restore the Trinity River Corridor while making it accessible to citizens.
“Today is a new day,” Rawlings said. “There have been many conversations about what this park can be, and should be, but we’ve never had a clear and realistic vision until now. For too long, this project has divided this city. The concept we now have for the Trinity River Park has the potential to take what has long been a divider in our city and transform it into a connection.”
The proposed park area spans more than 285 acres in the heart of the city, encompassing the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Margaret McDermott Bridge and the Continental Avenue Bridge. The area connects both the sides of the Trinity River from downtown Dallas to Southern Dallas/West Dallas/Oak Cliff. This location was selected because of its close proximity to downtown.
The concept includes a new naturalized river landscape that is ever-changing, just like the Trinity River. During rainy seasons, the design will allow for flowing waterways and lush greenery. During the drier seasons, it will transform into a marsh-like waterscape with an exposed river bottom and drier plant life. It also includes miles of pathways and trails within the levees, and sites for five elevated parks with overlooks that will extend from inside the levees into the adjacent communities. Those overlooks will serve as connectors that will attract park visitors and draw new growth into the communities they touch.
The conceptual plans were funded through The Trinity Trust as a gift from Deedie and the late Rusty Rose. This $5 million gift was given in 2009 to explore possibilities for the Trinity River Corridor. Also from that gift, funds were provided to create the Dallas CityDesign Studio housed at Dallas City Hall, to support bcWORKSHOP and to fund the Connected City Design Challenge that brought the best ideas for redevelopment to the Trinity.
Mayor Rawlings called for a first phase park strategy compatible with similar conditions. He selected Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), one of America’s most distinguished landscape architecture firms, and John Alschuler with HR&A to help with the concepts.
MVVA has extensive experience with flood conditions in major parks working along rivers and harbors in St. Louis, Toronto, Brooklyn and Pittsburgh, among other places.
MVVA has also been selected by President George W. Bush and Laura Bush to create a true Texas landscape to surround the Presidential Library here in Dallas, making the firm intimately familiar with the native Texas blackland prairie natural landscape palate. Finally, MVVA has extensive experience in their work in Tulsa working with the Regional Office of the Army Corps, the critical regulator with jurisdiction over the Dallas floodway.
HR&A’s experience includes working on waterfront development efforts for sites in New York City, Toronto, Hong Kong, Philadelphia, Charleston, St. Louis and along a 10-mile stretch of the Anacostia River Waterfront in Washington, D.C. The firm has also worked on the development of the 4,500 acre Daniel Island for the Guggenheim Foundation.
“Parks are the great gift that one generation can give the next,” said Alschuler. “This park will be for centuries to come the center soul of your city.”
The Mayor’s newest concept is consistent with the Balanced Vision Plan, completed in 2003 and endorsed by the Dallas City Council to transform and restore 10,000 acres of the Trinity River Corridor, one of the largest public works projects in the nation. Costs of the park will be based on the final plans and availability of funds through public and private fundraising efforts.
Deedie Rose, interim chair for The Trinity Trust, said, “So many have supported this Trinity project. Now we know it is possible to create a great park in a floodplain and it is time for public input.”
The model of the Trinity River Park concept will be on display for public viewing in the City Hall lobby beginning Monday morning. Over the coming months, there will be various community engagement efforts. These will help to further develop a design and programming plan for the five connector parks that can feed new life into the communities they touch.