Two organizations are approaching the challenge of a Trinity River park with different—though not necessarily conflicting—ideas for moving forward.
Today, Dallas is embracing its river, viewing it as a way to connect neighborhoods and provide access to nature, while continuing to play a major role in flood protection.
The Trinity River has been an untapped natural resource for generations and now is being transformed into a true asset, bringing together communities and nature. After the great flood of 1908, George Kessler led a plan to move the river away from downtown and to the west, building levees to protect Dallas from future flooding. Since then, Dallas has grown up all around the river with little interaction. Now, as part of the Trinity River Corridor Project, Dallas is creating the Harold Simmons Park to join the already existing Trinity River Audubon Center, Texas Horse Park, the Ronald Kirk Bridge, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, and the Margaret McDermott Bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava. This new feature includes a naturalized river landscape, elevated urban parks, hard- and soft-surfaced trails, and places for people to gather, walk in nature, and celebrate community—all while maintaining the river’s role in protecting the city in case of flooding.
|Infrastructure Type||Waterfront / Waterway|
|Status||Advocacy & Design|
|Design Team||Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, LimnoTech|
Managed by Trinity Park Conservancy in partnership with the City of Dallas
Latest News / Trinity River Park
Trinity Park Conservancy’s Brent Brown speaks to the challenges of transforming a key piece of Dallas’ flood control into a space for recreation—one that makes everyone feel welcome.
Buffalo Bayou Park is a strong model for Dallas’ Trinity Park—one that suggests that it’s possible to design a park that can withstand historic levels of flooding and quickly bounce back, just so long as that design is robust, respectful of local ecologies, and properly supported by a fund for maintenance.