Thursday, April 30, 2009

Updated Woodall Rodgers deck park construction timeline, costs to be unveiled Thursday afternoon


After long last, Woodall Rodgers Park is primed for construction, its parent foundation set to unveil an updated construction timeline at an event Thursday afternoon featuring Mayor Tom Leppert, among other area notables.
The roughly 5-acre "deck park," slated to cover over canyon-like Woodall Rodgers Freeway between downtown's Arts District and Uptown, should be under full construction as soon as late August, says Linda Owen, president of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, which is overseeing the park's development.
"It's all going to be good news," Owen said.
Owen explains that bids for the park's heavy construction will be advertised on June 15, with bids scheduled to be awarded July 9.
At this juncture, deck park construction is projected to be complete by the fall of 2011, with various amenities atop the park ready for use sometime during 2012, Owen tells us.
She also offered updated funding numbers, saying that $77 million in government and private funds have been raised to date, including a recent infusion of $16.7 million in federal stimulus funds that will go directly toward transportation-related aspects of the project.
The stimulus money, Owen says, will help allow privately raised funds to go toward park amenity design instead of transportation-related elements, thereby expediting the overall process.
Owen expects her foundation to raise another $20 million to $25 million in strictly private over the next several years to fund development and construction of park amenities.
City leaders view the park as critical to downtown development -- a jewel-in-the-making that will attract thousands of people to the center city, immediately across from Dallas' burgeoning Arts District.
Indeed, construction of the park, initially projected for as early as 2007, has been a long time coming.
And construction itself won't be without hurdles, especially for motorists who use Woodall Rodgers Freeway. They'll likely face months of lane closures or limited use of the freeway.
All the same, Owen says, the Texas Department of Transportation, which will be responsible for the freeway's management during the deck park's construction, "does a very good job of minimizing how drivers are affected."

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Dave Levinthal/Reporter