According to Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation’s President and CEO April Allen,
“Southern Gateway Park is a Bridge to Communities. The first phase of the five-acre Southern Gateway Park (SGP) is taking shape, above I-35 between Oak Cliff’s Ewing and Marsalis avenues. Slated to open in late 2024, the once-in-a-generation project is designed to become a positive symbol of Southern Dallas as a destination rich in historical charm and natural beauty. In fact, the park’s impact is so promising that former Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings calls it ‘The front yard of Dallas on I-35.’
“Both Rawlings and another former Dallas mayor, Ambassador Ron Kirk (who both serve as Southern Gateway Alliance co-chairs), point out the basic math of the park’s potential: 60% of Dallas’ landmass is in the city’s southern sector but it represents just 10% of the city’s tax base. Increasing the area’s prosperity will help create an inclusive, innovative, welcoming, entertaining space while also improving environmental, economic and educational opportunities for the people who call the area home.
“The new deck park, within a mile of six DISD schools and next door to the world-class Dallas Zoo, will feature a variety of attractions and amenities, including a stage pavilion for concerts and performances, water features, a two-story food and beverage building with rooftop seating, a large lawn space, walking trails and a children’s play area.
“The nonprofit Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation oversees the park’s construction and is a public-private partnership between the City of Dallas, the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the Texas Department of Transportation. More than 85 percent of the estimated $82 million needed to complete phase one has been raised by the Foundation and its public partners, thanks in part to grants from The Rees-Jones Foundation, the Communities Foundation of Texas and Eugene McDermott Foundation. The group is still working to close the remaining fundraising gap to complete phase one but is confident in its ability to do so and will start construction this fall.
“Phase two is estimated to cost over $90 million in total. While Southern Gateway Park will rival the quality of the city’s existing 5.2-acre Klyde Warren (situated atop Woodall Rodgers Freeway in downtown Dallas), it will also reflect the unique heritage of the Oak Cliff communities it’s designed to serve. Once public funding for the bridge and deck infrastructure for Phase two is identified, the foundation will embark on a new fundraising goal of $30 million for park amenities.
“Key to the park’s success is the SGP Equitable Development Plan (EDP), the culmination of a year-long research and stakeholder engagement process that harnessed the ideas and priorities of more than 500 area residents, community leaders, local businesses and non-profit organizations.
“In a joint statement issued last year, Rawlings and Kirk wrote: ‘This is a project that all of Dallas can and should get behind, because that’s the kind of city we are and intend to remain. We’re the kind of city that invests in all our neighborhoods and uplifts all our communities. A world-class city with world-class infrastructure built by world-class citizens.’”
* Photo credit: Jessica Turner * Graphic/photo provided by Southern Gateway Park
In 14 years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $503 million into the North Texas community. In 2022, more than $62.6 million was raised through 94,385 donors benefiting over 3,210 area nonprofits.