Lonely Planet Writer

A new urban park in Dallas will be 11 times larger than New York’s Central Park

As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas, and now that includes the green spaces. Dallas is building a 10,000-acre park along the Trinity River roughly 11 times larger than New York City’s Central Park

Artist's impression of the new park.
Artist’s impression of the new park. Image by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (also responsible for New York’s popular Brooklyn Bridge Park) designed Trinity River Park, which aims to transform what is now an underutilised floodplain into a world-class urban park. The recreational space will be one of the largest urban parks in America, with lawns, playgrounds, paved trails, plazas, sports fields, and fountains. Five bridges will connect the park to the city center. In a press conference, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the park will bridge the existing gap between the city’s poorer southern sector and wealthier north. ‘For a city, it’s a remarkable watershed moment. The Trinity project in its completion will redefine Dallas for the 21st century. We need a park to do that.’

Plan of the new 10,000 acre park along Dallas' Trinity River.
Plan of the new 10,000-acre park in  Dallas. Image by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

In addition to providing beauty and open space, the park was designed to protect Dallas from extreme floods that have plagued the city in the past. Designers added riparian landscapes to stabilise and restore the riverbanks and worked with government engineers to ensure the park’s sound infrastructure throughout potentially damaging rainstorms, making it accessible even during 10-year storms.

Aerial view of the site for Dallas's new 10,000 acre park.
Aerial view of the site for Dallas’s new 10,000-acre park. Image by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

While the project has been ongoing since the early 2000s and currently features trails, a horse park, a golf course, and a community center, it got a recent boost in the form of a $50 million donation from Annette Simmons, the widow of billionaire Harold Simmons. Set to be completed by 2021, the 285 acre section will be named Harold Simmons Park.

Artist's impression of the the new 10,000 acre park in Dallas.
Artist’s impression of the the new 10,000-acre park in Dallas. Image by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

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