Find a back issue

The Plan For Pacific Plaza Is Perfect, So Don’t Screw It Up, Dallas

Yesterday, Dallas’ Park Board approved the city’s new and improved parks master plan, the one with the capes and the superpowers and all that. You can read the whole thing here (thanks DMN, for uploading it). In the report, four parks are labelled as “priority parks”: Carpenter Plaza, Harwood Park, Pacific Plaza, and West End Plaza. If the city’s smart, they’ll fund all of these spaces, whether that’s through private donations or whatever.

The one that’s the best for the city, however, is Pacific Plaza. It balances the needs and wishes of old – read: car-dependent, 20th-century – Dallas with new Dallas, in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the mission of downtown parks. The city already owns much of the land it needs for the park, which would sit between Harwood and St. Paul, north of Live Oak. (Live Oak will be closed in this new plan, though, newly minted parks director Willis Winters said yesterday. Anyway, point of reference.) On it right now is a surface parking lot, one that sucks the life out of any walk from the Arts District to downtown.

The problem, Winters said, is that the neighboring buildings don’t want to lose the parking. Understandable, Winters said, so here’s a plan: buy the land from us, build an underground parking garage, and, as a stipulation, throw a park on top. The master plan mentions this in passing – “Underground parking for 840 cars with ingress/egress of Harwood Street” – but if the city pulls this off it could, in theory, satisfy both sides of the downtown base.