It’s not every day that a city gets a $50M gift. But then every city doesn’t have Annette Simmons! To celebrate the announcement of Annette’s gift to commemorate her late husband Harold Simmons and to get things hustling for the creation of the Trinity River Park, city officials and longtime Trinity Trust staffers and friends gathered on Wednesday, November 9, to toast the news at Saint Rocco’s New York Italian. Here’s a report from the field:
On November 9, The Trinity Trust gathered its supporters to celebrate Annette Simmons’ $50 million historic gift to the Trinity River Park with a “Toast to the Trinity.” Taking place on the rooftop of Saint Rocco’s New York Italian restaurant overlooking the Dallas skyline and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, this location was also where Mayor Mike Rawlings announced the gift in honor of Annette’s late husband, Harold Simmons, just the previous week.
The gift will launch development and construction of the first phase of Trinity River Park that encompasses more than 285 acres of land near downtown Dallas. With approval from the City Council, the park will be named the Harold Simmons Park, which will stretch from the Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge to the Margaret McDermott Bridge or about 200 of the 285 acres.
The Trinity Trust Rat Pack and River Rats and guests sipped wine and beer and noshed on Italian appetizers and watched the sun set. As the sun went down, the remarks began. The Trinity Trust President Gail Thomas said, “This is such as moment. As we crossed the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, I remember Jane Jacobs saying that as the sun is setting and shines on the glass buildings, the reflection puts her in her high heart. This gift has been a dream come true. Thank you to the Simmons family for believing in this project.”
Deputy Mayor Monica Alonzo, whose district includes the park area, welcomed everyone to her district and shared in the excitement of the news.
Representing the family, Amy Simmons Crafton said, “This park is something my dad would have been proud to do. Someday, this will be an incredible park. We’re proud to be associated with the park. We’re ready to hike and bike in it.”
Those in attendance included Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, Dallas Assistant City Manager Mark McDaniel and his wife Cindy; The Trinity Trust Board Members Garrett Boone and Nancy Cain Marcus; Nelda Cain Pickens, Lynlee and Dave Forehand; new Trinity River Audubon Center Director Lucy Hale; Trinity Commons Foundation’s Craig Holcomb; Gail Thomas’ three children: Stewart Thomas, Tori Mannes and Electra Harelson, their spouses and some of their children.
* Photo credit: Jerry McClure