May 18 2013 – The City of Dallas has restricted access to a Geo-Marine archaeological report described in a Dallas Park and Recreation Board briefing on May 16, 2013. Texas Horse Park Project Manager Don Burns described conclusions from the secret 2013 GMI report that minimized the impact of Texas Horse Park construction on the Native American site. Burns described hundreds of one meter excavations on the site he claimed to have been used for 7000 years by Native Americans.
In fact, a claim of hundreds of one meter excavations is clearly misleading. In 2009, GMI conducted an examination of an area north of the Texas Horse Park consisting of approximately 52 one foot diameter shovel holes. A subsequent 56 shovel tests were conducted in the area. (2009 GMI report at page 41). For clarification, none of the current Horse Park area was involved in the 2009 excavation.
The 2013 exploratory test holes are reported to have consisted of four excavations in preparation for a larger dig.
On May 17, 2013, the City of Dallas filed notice of the withholding of what is described as a “draft” document prepared by Geo-Marine. However, conclusions from this ”draft” document were presented to the Park Board Planning and Design Subommittee by a City of Dallas official and the Subcommittee voted 3 for and 3 against the recommendation of a multi-million dollar construction contract.
A full vote of the Park Board approved the contract and City officials say construction will begin immediately. There is no evidence that any Park Board member viewed the “draft” archaeological document prior to voting to ultimately destroy the 7000 year old American Indian site.
Two members of the full Park Board voted against the construction contract.
Editors’ Note: One source insists that no GMI “draft” report exists. If the City Attorney insists a report exists when a report does not exist, we will learn one way or another soon.
- Texas Horse Park Archaeological Excavation Attorney General Opinion Request
- 2009 Geo-Marine Archaeology Report – Area North of Horse Park Site
May 14 2012 – The City of Dallas in a surprise move will fence an ancient American Indian spring site on Pemberton Hill Road near the site of the Texas Horse Park. An extensive American Indian encampment is also located at the site of the Texas Horse Parks south of the Big Spring. A formal report on the encampment is pending after the City commissioned an archaelogical dig by Brown Reynolds Watford Architects contractor GMI, but the City apparently decided to proceed with the demolition of the American Indian site prior to issuance of the curation and final report by GMI.
In addition, the Horse Park site was reportedly the home of an illegal dumping site as well as a religious ritual animal slaughter site operating without a license. There is no known record of any environmental reports relating to contamination of soils and environment addressing illegal dumping and unregulated animal slaughter.
- Texas Horse Park Construction Award
- American Indian Archaeological Resources Investigation and Curation Report Contract – Search “archaeological” and “curation”
- Facebook – Save Pemberton’s Big Spring – Trinity Forest
Mess at White Rock Lake – May 9 2013
City Council and Park Board Attitude – “Can’t See It From My House”
Photos show debris and trash accumulated over the last year at Sunset Bay at White Rock Lake. The debris now makes a solid mass of garbage in an area where only two years ago large fish bred in the Springtime. This area is just yards from the City of Dallas Aquatics Division and Sunset Bay Park and Recreation Department maintenance facility.
Photo of long-term raw sewage leak at Sunset Bay, White Rock Lake. A New York City Public Works official visiting the park noted evidence of raw sewage flowing into the wildfowl breeding grounds at Sunset Bay. It is apparent that Dallas Park Board officials and the City Council give new Park and Recreation facilities priority over existing landmarks like Sunset Bay and White Rock Lake. Building top left is City of Dallas Aquatics Division. Buiding center is City of Dallas White Rock Lake Maintenance Headquarters. Bollard posts along drive denotes entrance into main maintenance facility.
April 28 2013 – Arboretum Attorney Steven Coke reads riot act in Sunday afternoon telephone call to PaveTheLake founder Hal Barker. All Arboretum nonprofit records “private” under Texas law and Internal Revenue Code and no voting members or anyone else can ever see the books and records of the Dallas Arboretum under any circumstances in formal legal opinion. Coke states City of Dallas provides an “infinitesimal amount” of funds to Dallas Arboretum so Texas Public Information Act is invalid since Arboretum receives no funds from City. “Virtually none” repeats Arboretum attorney in heated comments. Barker subsequently joins Arboretum as voting member and seeks position as member of Board of Directors. City records show millions provided to Arboretum but prominent licensed attorney and former Board Chairman says otherwise and stands his ground on Texas and Internal Revenue law. More to come on this issue.
New – Park Board Meetings – 2011 to 2013 – Some missing. Posted May 2013
New Record Release – April 25 2013
Record Release- April 23 2013
Additional Record Releases
- City of Dallas Disbursements To Arboretum – April 3 2013
- Partial Records Release – March 5 2013
- Attorney General Opinion Request Filing – February 26 2013
TOP SECRET II – City Stonewalls Open Records on Arboretum Parking Study
TOP SECRET – Winfrey Point Records Remain Top Secret Under New Abbott Ruling
- Attorney General Opinion OR2013-01313 - January 23 2013
City of Dallas Financial Transparency Page – Disbursements
Park Board Approves New Boathouse and New Public Dock – No Word on Who Pays for Parking and Utility Connections
- New – Boathouse Design Powerpoint – Includes New Public Dock But No Parking or Utility Connections – July 30 2012 Meeting
- Notice Of Public Meeting – Dallas City Hall – 9 AM October 18 2012
- Agenda Information Sheet and Contract – DUC Boathouse
- Google Earth View – Dallas United Crew Boathouse – Park Board Presentation – March 1 2012
- Google Earth View – Dallas United Crew Boathouse – Layout Scaled – March 27 2012
- Google Earth View – Dallas United Crew Boathouse - Aerial View - July 30 2012
September 12 Open Records Production
- September 12 2012 – New – Arboretum Parking Study – Contract Details
- September 12 2012 – New – Parking Study Contract – Signed August 8 2012
- April 2 2012 – Original Story – Robert Wilonsky – Dallas Morning News
- April 2 2012 – Original Request For Proposal – Robert Wilonsky – Dallas Morning News
More AG Opinions Set To Issue Shortly
Editor and Researcher – Hal Barker
New – June 19 – Proposed Dallas United Crew Boathouse at White Rock Lake
- File 32 – Dallas United Crew White Rock Lake Boathouse – March 1 Presentation
- File 27 – Dallas United Crew White Rock Lake Boathouse – March 27 Presentation
- File 51 – Dallas United Crew White Rock Lake Boathouse – July 30 Presentation
- File 28 – Open Records Produced June 19 2012
- File 31 – Dallas Park Board Agenda – March 1 2012 – Dallas United Crew Briefing
- File 50 – White Rock Lake Master Plan – June 18 2009
New – June 18 – Records Produced June 18 2012 – Open Record Production
New – June 15 – Records Produced June 15 2012 – Open Records Production
New – June 10 – East Lawther Trail – White Rock Park – February 16 2012
New – Dallas Arboretum Master Parking Plan – 2008
Special Report – City of Dallas Releases New Open Records Documents
Records reveal 2010 planning behind current Winfrey Point controversy
Proposal to take over Winfrey Point for private enclave
Proposal for 2000-4000 space underground parking garage under Winfrey Point Hill
- Plan for exclusive restaurant and observation complex atop parking garage
- Proposal would cost tens of millions of taxpayer funds if approved
- File 21 – August 8 2010 – Arboretum Suggests Plan To Take Over Winfrey Point – With City of Dallas Office Notes
- File 22 – May 17 2012 – Official Arboretum Statement – Misconceptions and Facts – Compare To File 21
Proposal 5 For Winfrey Point Restaurant and Parking Garage
Metrics For 4000 Parking Spaces
- 4000 spaces at 300 square feet per space on flat ground = 1,200,000 square feet
- 1,200,000 square feet = 30 acres
- American Airlines Center basic footprint = 200,000 square feet
- Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Google Earth overlay over Winfrey Point
Cowboys Stadium overlaid on Winfrey Point – For comparison purposes, full rectangular overlaid graphic equals approximately 4000 parking spaces plus infrastructure on flat ground.
News Stories – Recent
Open Records – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Open Records – City of Dallas
Maps – Open Records Production May 1 2012
- Map Set 1 – June 2011 – White Rock Lake – Winfrey Point Planning Study – Parking Garage – Flat Parking – Traffic and Pedestrian Study
- Map Set 2 -November 8 2011 – White Rock Lake Maps – Winfrey Point Concept Plan
- Map Set 3 – January 2012 – White Rock Event Planning – Access and Circulation Elements
- Map Set 4 – February 2012 – White Rock Lake Parking and Access Master Plan – Financial Analysis – Spreadsheet
- Map Set 5 – March 14 2012 – Final White Rock Lake Special Event Parking Layout
Park and Recreation Record Set 1 – Production May 1 2012
- File 02 – Childrens Park Bond
- File 03 – Renditions
- File 04 – Engineer – Pacheco Koch – January 10 2011
- File 05 – Engineer – Pacheco Koch – April 15 2011
- File 06 – Engineer – Pacheco Koch – May 27 2011
- File 07 – Engineer – Pacheco Koch – January 1 2012
- File 08 – January 2011 – Park and Recreation Emails – Key Winfrey Point Paving Cost Estimate $2,321,730 At Page 44 – Emails
Park and Recreation Record Set 2 – Production May 2 2012
- File 10 – Dallas Park and Recreation Board – December 9 2010
- File 11 – Dallas Park and Recreation Board – February 17 2011
- File 17 – Contract For Winfrey Point Study – March 9 2012
- File 12 – Email Manager Park Planning and Acquisitions with Winfrey Point Map – March 22 2012
- File 13 – Email Park Board Member To Winfrey Point Area Homeowner – April 2 2012
- File 14 – Email Arboretum to City of Dallas with Winfrey Point Maps – April 4 2012
- File 15 – Email Arboretum to City of Dallas with Press Statement
- File 16 – Dallas Park and Recreation Board with Arboretum Contract to Manage Winfrey Point – April 5 2012
- File 18 – Arboretum Press Releases with Back-Up Explanation To Allow Development at Winfrey Point – “If Asked” by Media or Citizen clause
Dallas Arboretum Economic Impact Study
Arboretum – City of Dallas Contract – April 27 2011
Arboretum – City of Dallas Winfrey Point – Executed Documents
Little League Records
Photo by Hal Barker
Hundreds Protest Outside Dallas Arboretum on Saturday Morning
Photo by Hal Barker
Photo – Texas Parks and Wildlife – Dallas Lone Star Land Steward Award – Austin, 2005
Left to Right – Unknown, Brett Johnson – TPWD Urban Biologist, Carolyn Bray – District 1 Supervisor, Paul Dyer – Director Dallas Park and Recreation Dept., Becky Rader, Principal Investigator and Naturalist, June Howard – Region 1 Maintenance Supervisor, John Davis – TPWD Urban Biologist (currently TPWD Director of Wildlife Diversity Program-Austin Headquarters)
How To Destroy a Park to Create a Parking Lot and Make Money Doing It
In a recent decision, the Dallas Park Board authorized parking in the Texas Lone Star Land Steward prairie grass and wildflower areas on Winfrey Point at White Rock Lake.
The argument goes back 25 years to the D Magazine story of August 1, 1987, titled “White Rockers to Arboretum: Don’t Pave Paradise.“
To further complicate the issue, the area designated for commercial parking is zoned Residential R-10(a) Single Family District according to published maps.
The Office of the City Manager has been unable to confirm that studies have been conducted to ensure compliance with the Migratory Bird Act or other federal laws that might control areas such as the Land Steward zones at Winfrey Point or the nesting area at Sunset Bay.
Behind The Scenes
Behind the scenes at a late-night meeting at City Hall, Arboretum and City of Dallas officials developed a fall-back position if media or citizens asked about environmental studies.
In an email dated April 4, 2012, sent from Mary Brinegar, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Dallas Arboretum, addressed to Park Board member Gerry Worrall, an architect and Principal of WKA Architects, to Paul Dyer, City of Dallas Park Director, to Jane Hensley of Spaeth Communications, a public relations firm, and Alan and Joan Walne:
“In talking to Merrie Spaeth’s office they suggested we not delay this but go
forward with it tomorrow. There is significant protection in the wording saying it will be at the direction of the Park Department. We will then ask if questioned, that before doing anything we would have a consultation with three respected botanic organizations as to how best to do it and then get this information to the Park Department.I am also copying the Spaeth office to see if they suggest any more wordsmithing on the Winfrey Statement.”
The previously prohibited parking was approved for use by the patrons of the Dallas Arboretum visiting the Dale Chihuly Glass Exhibit beginning May 5, 2012, and running through November, 2012.
Chihuly is a noted environmentalist and artist whose works are tied directly to the beauty of plants, wildlife, and formed glass. His works are indicative of a complex artist tied to nature and the implications of man’s stamp on nature.
The parking designated for the Chihuly exhibit patrons in the Land Steward prairie grass and wildflower areas will have a lasting destructive stamp on the wildlife and flora displaced by the overwhelming need for land for commercial use at White Rock Lake.
Few know that White Rock Lake was once administered by the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Or that eagles and hawks and coyotes and bobcats haunt the areas set for paving.
And runoff from the main parking lot runs directly into the migratory wildfowl nesting areas at Sunset Bay. Prior contaminated runoff from the same area resulted in a federal water quality lawsuit in past years.
The lands are as fragile, if not more fragile, then the blown glass formed by the Chihuly Studio and exhibited at the Arboretum.
The glass artistry can be replaced in perhaps finer form if damaged by nature, but the wildlife and lands at Winfrey Point, soon to be paved, will cease to exist except as monuments to the lack of human dignity and honor of those intrusted with the lands at White Rock Lake.
The intense irony of the parking at Winfrey Point lies in the fact that in order to view the beauty of Dale Chihuly’s vision and art, the City of Dallas chooses to intimately destroy the beautiful and irreplacable art of Mother Nature at White Rock Lake to allow patrons to view other man-made beauty in an artificial setting.
Rather than preserving the beauty and wealth of the Winfrey Point wildlife zone, the priority of government officials is the systematic destruction of the Land Steward area with the enthusiastic and overwhelming support of the Dallas City Council and the Dallas Park Board.
Texas Land Steward Open Records documents from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department relating to the 2005 award for Winfrey Point and White Rock Lake tell the story of the history of White Rock Lake and the key reasons the eastern zone of the lake is special to environmentalists.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, all the City of Dallas has to do to revoke the prestigious Land Steward Award is to pull up the signs, box the award plaque, and send the remnants of the Land Steward Award back to Austin with a “Thanks but no Thanks” letter.
The repudiation of the Land Steward designation by the City Council will mark the first time the award has been intentionally rejected by a recipient for the purpose of commercial development.
Now, a commercial parking enterprise has been entrusted to manage hundreds of parking spaces at Winfrey Point in the award-winning grasslands area designated by the Land Steward Award.
The Future Of White Rock Lake
The takeover of Winfrey Point is part of a larger planned expansion of the Dallas Arboretum and the opening of the Children’s Park in 2013.
The Arboretum is landlocked in a sea of private and commercial property. The Park system is the only direction the Arboretum can expand without condemnation of the nearby Emerald Isle neighborhood and commercial businesses along Garland Road.
The only available nearby land is Winfrey Point and the prime flat land directly across from the Love of the Lakes’ Celebration Garden east of Sunset Bay.
The Dallas Arboretum is also scheduled to take over the current Park Department maintenance facility at Sunset Bay, and last year surveyed the area now scheduled for the current parking in the Land Steward areas.
With the Dallas City Council rejection of the Texas Land Steward designation, a large tract of land at the White Rock Bathhouse becomes immediately available for commercial development as well as land in the Big Thicket and at Norbuck Park.
Pressure has been mounting by commercial businesses who stage runs and other events at White Rock Lake to expand their operations and provide organized parking at White Rock Lake.
These organizations pay $2.oo per participant and hire off-duty police officers to handle crowd control. In addition, the Dallas Police Department provides vehicles for commercial events at a cost of $13.90 per hour per vehicle.
The City routinely waives many of the requirements for the commercial operations to use City property, including the onerous burden to notify real property holders abutting special events and laws relating to parking on grass at White Rock Lake.
For years, Winfrey Point has been known as the “Free Zone,” where laws are routinely waived on order of the City Council, City Manager, and Police Department.
The current controversy dates to the call by an event promoter on January, 28, 2012, at Winfrey Point, for what is now known as the “Garland Road Business Boycott.”
The “Business Boycott” was called after a participant at the event parked in front of A&B Animal Clinic on Garland Road, and the irate race participant was towed. This led to the repeated public call by a well known event announcer to “Shut Down” Garland Road businesses and subsequent complaints to City Hall.
What Comes Next? Another Bizarre Twist
Photo by Hal Barker
Photo by Hal Barker
In a odd twist, the City of Dallas has posted a solar powered sign at Winfrey Point prohibiting parking on the grass.
This would seem to be at odds with the vision of parking hundreds of vehicles on the grass in the exact same area.
According to a spokesman for the Dallas Police Department, the police currently have no idea who placed the electronic sign shown in the photos above.