Oak Cliff Gets Millions for New I-35 Deck Park

City, Featured

Rendering of the Southern Gateway Park | Image by Southern Gateway Park

The Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation announced on Tuesday that it has raised most of the funds needed to cover the construction of the first half of the planned Southern Gateway Park.

The new five-acre deck park will be built over Interstate 35E in southern Dallas. Although the concept of the deck park is similar to the Klyde Warren Park in Uptown Dallas, the new park will be unique.

It will feature various levels, mimicking the area’s topography, and is designed to “be authentic to the place and to the diverse group of people who live in this community,” according to landscape architect Chuck McDaniel.

During a press conference at Dallas City Hall this week, the non-profit fundraising organization revealed that some recent large donations helped bump the funding to roughly 75% of the total needed for the first half of the park project.

The Eugene McDermott Foundation, the Rees-Jones Foundation, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation, and the Communities Foundation of Texas recently contributed $10.5 million to the cause, bringing the total raised to $62 million.

The first construction phase is estimated to cost $82 million and will cover the area between Ewing Avenue and Lancaster Avenue. It is expected to be completed by late 2023 or early 2024.

An additional $90 million will be needed to complete the second portion of the project, which will extend the park out to Marsalis Avenue. Exactly when the second section will open is unknown.

In addition to the private funding raised by the foundation, the City of Dallas is contributing $7 million from 2017 bond money, and another $40 million is expected from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

According to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, the new Southern Gateway Park will be “a park with purpose.”

Aside from spurring development and economic opportunities in southern Dallas, the park will reconnect Oak Cliff neighborhoods split by the highway’s construction in the 1950s.

When Interstate I-35 was built in the 1950s, dozens of homes and businesses in the Tenth Street Historic District of Oak Cliff were demolished. The Tenth Street Historic District is one of the few freedmen’s villages remaining intact in the United States.

The neighborhood has been neglected and has deteriorated over the years. Proponents of the park hope that the construction of the new park will infuse life and investment dollars back into the community.

In the press conference held on April 19, April Allen, president and COO of Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation, stated, “We all understand that the historical lack of investment has stifled its residents’ growth and success. We believe that Southern Gateway Park will help reverse this neglect by drawing attention, money, and foot traffic to the area.”

“Southern Gateway Park should be viewed as what it is, which is a game-changing investment in the individuals and the families throughout southern Dallas,” stated Mayor Johnson.

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