Hardwood Park is currently nothing more than some empty buildings and an old, cracked parking lot in the Hardwood Historic District. But as of Tuesday, that is beginning to change.
For the last few years, the city and local non-profit Parks for Downtown Dallas have been working tirelessly to bring green spaces to the center of town, and this 3.8-acre park is next on their agenda.
The space, located just a short walk from the Dallas Farmers Market and bordered by Hardwood, Jackson, Pearl, and Young Streets, was one of four areas designated several years ago to become parks in the Downtown area.
“These are four parks that were identified in the 2013 update of the downtown parks master plan. But really, they’re part of a 20-year effort that began with the realization in the early 2000s that we had a porosity of green space in downtown Dallas. And there was no plan for addressing that challenge,” said Robert Decherd, chairman of Parks for Downtown Dallas.
Two of the other parks, Pacific Plaza and WestEnd Square, are already completed. At the same time, Carpenter Park near Deep Ellum is currently under construction and expected to be finished next year. Together the parks occupy over 23 acres of green space within the freeway loop, not found in many major cities.
When it is complete, Hardwood Park will feature a children’s playground with mammoth sculptures, an interactive splash pad, a dog park, and what was once a roadway will become a wide promenade for pedestrians.
The park is being paid for with $39.4 million in City bonds approved in 2006 and 2017 and $56 million in private investments. Once complete, the park will be maintained by the City. However, Parks for Downtown Dallas plans to stay involved and continue to help care for the parks.
“We’re raising money to create permanent endowments that supplement the maintenance and care of these parks so that they will be as beautiful and welcoming 10, 15, and 50 years from now,” said Decherd.