Earth & Conservation

Dallas Is Building a 10,000-Acre Urban Park

The green space would be 12 times the size of New York's Central Park and includes a thousand-acre hardwood forest.

In the river corridor, "Dallas has a great piece of natural beauty," explains Stephen S. Smith, chairman of the Trinity Recreation Conservancy, one of the nonprofit groups promoting the effort. Smith envisions the area as a massive "urban nature park" that will attract people to an area that they've avoided in the past.

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In recent years, the Corps has shifted its management efforts and focused upon restoring more of the river's natural curves, according to Brent Brown, an adviser and design facilitator for the Trinity Trust, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for restoring and developing the river corridor.

"Engineering and other efforts worked in the past to corral the river, so flooding would not occur," Brown says. "Now we're in the next chapter, where we move beyond that to bring back a more natural landscape."

In May, Dallas mayor Michael Rawlings unveiled a plan by the architectural firm of Michael Van Walkenburgh Associates, which calls for spending around $250 million to develop a 200-acre section of the river corridor near downtown into what the architect calls "a world-class park and a catalyst for urban growth." The vision includes amenities such as playgrounds, fountains, plazas and lawns for recreation, all intended to reconnect the city to the waterway.

Image: The Trinity River corridor in Dallas, Texas, is being transformed into one of the nation's largest expanses of urban parkland. Credit: Trinity Trust / Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates WATCH: Capturing Mysterious Ghost Lights In Marfa Texas