Dallas Councilmember Carolyn King Arnold claimed that Southern Gateway Park needs more money to finish its construction, prompting park leaders to clarify that she is referring to a future park extension rather than the portion currently being built.
“We probably need an additional $20 million,” said Arnold on Inside Texas Politics on Sunday. “And that is what concerns me is that we must have those — a plan or philanthropic dollars to come in to support that deck park.”
“There was a commitment made to build a park — a commitment of course made to build the Gateway and so now we must come through on the promise that was made,” she said. “Now the public is looking for us to come through with the funding for that particular park.”
Arnold further claimed that the park would benefit economic development in South Dallas.
However, the president and chief operating officer at Southern Gateway Park, April Allen, said the $20 million Arnold referred to is for an extension of the park planned to be built in the future.
“She is referencing Phase 2 of the park,” Allen tweeted, responding to Arnold’s interview. “We are on track to open Phase 1 next year.”
Southern Gateway Park in Oak Cliff is being developed and will be managed by the Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation, which said that in order to extend the bridge park south to Marsalis Avenue, it will need $20 million from Dallas’ next bond election.
Construction on the “Phase 2” extension will not begin for another three to five years. The North Central Texas Council of Governments has applied for a federal grant that would match the $20 million in city bond funds.
Phase 1 of the park is more than 85% funded and will be 2.8 acres, according to a representative.
“We are on track to break ground on the park’s amenities later this spring and open as scheduled in 2024,” the spokesperson said. “Not one major donor has backed out of the project to date. In fact, we are set to announce an additional $3 million in new funding secured since January 1.”
Dallas City Hall green-lit the park’s development unanimously in November 2021.