With the successful opening of three new Downtown Dallas parks over the last three years, we have our sights on Harwood Park, the final of four Priority Parks that PfDD is building in partnership with the Dallas Park & Recreation Department.
The 4-acre project is taking the place of parking lots and vacant buildings, and revitalizing a Dallas historic district. Known these days as the East Quarter, the Harwood Historic District was once a hub for the film industry in Dallas.
“People would come from small towns all over Texas to check out films and buy supplies such as popcorn for their drive-in theaters,” said Christine Ten Eyck, president and chief landscape architect for Austin’s Ten Eyck Landscape Architects (TELA), who is leading the Harwood Park design team.
A Vibrant Melting Pot
Bordered by the Main Street District, the East Quarter, and Farmers Market, Harwood Park will knit together these Downtown neighborhoods; the commingling this fosters is no coincidence.
“That mixture of neighborhoods can all funnel down into Harwood Park and bring this great diversity and vibrancy that I think would be really hard to capture in any other area of town,” said Patrick Todd, managing partner of Todd Interests, the development group behind the East Quarter who has also donated $1 million to the park’s construction . “That confluence of all those things together, meeting in a park that’s so wonderfully well done.”
After a decade of preparation and planning, Harwood Park is expected to open in 2023.
Harwood Park’s Many Amenities
The park will prompt the closure of one block of Wood Street, which will become a pedestrian promenade and bioswale that runs through the center of the park from Harwood Street to Pearl Street. In a nod to Harwood Park’s history, a rainwater harvesting garden follows the same path of a former tributary creek that used to flow through the site. This feature not only prevents water pollution and flooding, it is creating a habitat in an urban setting for birds, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. The Harwood Park bioswale will be an example of low impact development that we hope to see more of here in Downtown and across the city.
In addition to providing much-needed green space, the park offers immersive views of historic architecture. The charming historic buildings like the Dallas Scottish Rite Cathedral, the First Presbyterian Church, and Lone Star Gas Lofts that surround the park are juxtaposed delightfully by the modern addition of buildings like East Quarter Residences and the Downtown city lights. Its location alone ensures it will become not only a neighborhood favorite, but a visitor destination as well.
As relaxing as the ambiance may be, Harwood Park will be a place for play and activity. A multi-function sport court will accommodate all kinds of games including pickleball and basketball. A unique kid’s playscape – featuring a nod to the Columbian mammoths that once called North Texas home – is just a glance away next to a cooling splash pad.
The Harwood and Jackson Street entrance opens onto a prominent event stage, and features the striking Gold Ring Arbor. The gold rings on the arbor are repurposed from the old Statler Hotel parking garage that was once located two blocks away from the park.
Of course, a modern park would not be complete without a dog park, which Harwood Park offers two of: one for small dogs and another for large dogs. Learn more about Harwood Park, the public spaces Parks for Downtown Dallas is creating, and how you can support your Downtown parks.