Monday, June 29, 2015

Exclusive: Proposed Trinity River project could bring swimmable water to Dallas

A proposed public-private partnership soon could go before Dallas city leaders and the Army Corps of Engineers as an option to add to the flood control ability of the Trinity River and lead to a city amenity with a working title, the Water Gardens at The Rivers.
The Water Gardens is a proposed boardwalk-like development that could be built along the meanders of the Trinity River (the original path of the river before it was diverted further from downtown Dallas) as part of The Rivers development, which could also become the site of the proposed high-speed rail station.   
The Rivers — a 60-acre site owned by an investment group led by Dallas-based Matthews Southwest — is undergoing the process of studying for the site for the high-speed rail station.  
Until the high-speed rail station takes off, Matthews Southwest executive John Matthews (son of Dallas developer Jack Matthews) is overseeing the possibility of developing the Water Gardens, a new boardwalk-like development that was conceived in The Connected City Design Challenge.
The challenge pools design ideas from throughout the city to revitalize the river and the city’s central business district.
“This will take the utility of the meanders of being part of flood control and cleans the water to make it an amenity,” the 27-year-old son told the Dallas Business Journal in an exclusive interview .  
“This adds more capacity to the meanders by giving us better flood control and gives Dallas a great new park," he added.

Ultimately, the Water Gardens could bring swimmable water to Dallas, he said. That would be made possible through a seven-week process that works the water through wetlands designed to clean it with different plants.  
Matthews said while he's overseeing the development portion of the project, the Water Gardens was born of a community and will take a community to build. The Dallas CityDesign Studio and a number of City of Dallas departments have helped along the way, he said, including the city's public works, urban design and watershed departments.
“It’s a huge opportunity for a unique development,” said Brent Brown, director of the Dallas CityDesign Studio. “This project has significant frontage along the old Trinity River meanders and all of the property touches the river in some way.
“This will spur neighborhood development on both sides of the river and will bring economic development and opportunities to the south side of downtown Dallas,” he added.

Candace Carlisle/ Dallas Morning News