“Great cities have great parks,” Parks for Downtown Dallas Chairman Robert Decherd has said. And he’s certainly doing his part. His newly formed nonprofit organization is focused on adding 17 acres of new green space to the City, all within the next 10 years. This in addition to Belo Garden, a 1.7-acre oasis at Griffin and Main streets, that’s already been completed.

Parks for Downtown Dallas is working with the Dallas Park and Recreation Department and its director, Willis Winters, in developing these plans. The organization has committed $30 million to the project with the expectation that an equivalent amount will be included in the City’s 2017 bond election. Additionally, the John W. Carpenter III family and The Decherd Foundation have pledged a total of $5 million.

With this groundswell of community support and awareness, it’s a good time for Dallas parks. Klyde Warren Park, Belo Garden and Main Street Garden have transformed the City’s urban core in the past seven years. The four Parks for Downtown Dallas newcomers will further extend this leafy reach and transition downtown’s palette from gray to green.

First on the agenda is Carpenter Park, the largest of the four at 8.8 acres. If it sounds familiar that’s because the area used to be known as Carpenter Plaza. Its new incarnation won’t just offer landscaped open space; visitors will also find a fountain, dog park, skate park, basketball courts and room for food trucks, among other amenities. It’ll also boast two pieces of American art from renowned American sculptors Robert Irwin and Robert Berks.

Pacific Plaza, nestled in the heart of the Harwood Street pedestrian corridor, will one day provide a grassy respite — a true neighborhood park. The existing Aston Park will be folded into this larger development, which borders One Dallas Center, the Republic complex and the back of the Majestic Theatre.

Harwood Park, located in the Harwood Historic District two blocks from the Farmers Market, is all about location, views and amenities. The 3.8-acre park will be one of the most imaginative in the country, incorporating historic structures located on the park site into its design while still leaving room for spacious lawns, a dog park, gathering areas and children’s play spaces. Eco-friendliness is paramount, and cisterns and a linear rain garden will feature in the irrigation plans.

Though smaller in size, West End Plaza will be big on open space, contributing a canopy of green and offering plenty of space to sit and relax, eat lunch or just people watch.  The park site is in the heart of the West End Historic District, which has become a hub for technology-related companies and organizations such as the Dallas Innovation Alliance.  Community stakeholders will play an important role in making this a “smart” park.

These plans offer the opportunity for our great City to have great parks. Visit our main blog page for more information about each of the parks above and sign up to receive updates so you can stay in the know about important meeting dates and park plan changes. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be part of the conversation about Dallas’ urban green spaces!