Tuesday, September 09, 2008

$500,000 model used to pitch Trinity Toll Road Park for developers

Trinity River project's backers unveil detailed model

September 9, 2008

Dallas Morning News
Copyright 2008

A massive scale model of the planned Trinity River park was unveiled today at the Trinity Trust, capturing in minute detail what backers of the long-delayed project hope will be a cornerstone of Dallas’ development.

At 20 feet long and more than 7 feet wide, the model portrays a 10-mile path of the park. It includes much of downtown, the medical district and neighborhoods north and south of the river.

For the first time, it offers a large scale, three-dimensional view of the Trinity’s planned toll road, two white Calatrava-designed bridges, large man-made lakes and the river meandering past lawns, ball fields and forest.

“It’s a vision. It shows our citizens, the community and our neighborhoods our vision,” said Dave Neumann, chairman of the City Council’s Trinity River Corridor Project Committee.

The model, which cost more than $500,000, was built by Oak Cliff artists Charles and Susie Kendrick. It sits inside the Trinity Trust building at 1444 Oak Lawn Ave.

It will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning Wednesday.

Those viewing hours continue through Friday. Then, beginning Monday, the model can be viewed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Much of what appears in the model has yet to be built inside the real levees. Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert has set a goal of 2014 to see major elements of the park, including the toll road, in place.

He said he remains optimistic that goal can be reached but warned that it will take great effort.

“This is $2 billion. It’s a complex project. Nobody should get the feeling this is easy. It’s going to take a lot of hard work,” he said.

Funded by Alon USA, the model will give the project a boost for two reasons, the mayor said.

First, the public will be able to get a firsthand look at how the Trinity could look. Second, it will give prospective donors a real sense of where their money is going, he said.

The model is impressive. Even the roof pitches of the tiny homes dotting the neighborhoods north and south of the Trinity are accurate.

It took more than a year and a half to build, and there is still work to be done.

But what it represents may not be what ultimately appears inside the Trinity’s levees.

The city is still awaiting a federal environmental study on the placement of the toll road. That will surely affect its final position inside the levees. That, in turn, will affect the placement of the major lakes and the surrounding parks.

Funding remains a crucial question as well. Despite voters’ approval of the toll road project last year, the final cost of its construction isn’t certain.

That cost, to be borne in part by Dallas taxpayers but largely by the North Texas Tollway Authority, likely will affect its construction schedule.

Still, city officials and the private backers of the project are eager to see the huge and meticulously detailed rendering that sits now inside the Trinity Trust building become a reality sooner than later.


© 2008 The Dallas Morning News:www.dallasnews.com

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