Sep 9, 2022 - News

Dallas wants to preserve its wetlands in public-private partnership

A photo of a wetland area south of Downtown Dallas

The site of a future pond the day after the August flooding. Photo: Sean Fitzgerald

A private-public partnership could preserve and add to current wetlands south of Downtown Dallas.

State of play: The City of Dallas and the Dallas Wetlands Foundation are partnering to create 17 acres of restored wetlands and green space just south of downtown.

Why it matters: Wetlands act as sponges for runoff and flooding and store carbon to counteract climate change.

  • Plus, the wetlands can act as a filtration system, potentially adding to the drinking water system.

The intrigue: The project could ultimately be part of a reimagination of the southern portion of Downtown Dallas, which might feature a new convention center, a high-speed rail train station and a deck park over Interstate 30 linking downtown to the Cedars neighborhood.

Flashback: The idea emerged during a 2013 city design challenge and a 2017 bond election gives the project $7.5 million in matching funds to the Dallas Wetlands Foundation for the $44 million first phase.

Details: Dallas Water Commons will incorporate existing wetlands and constructed wetlands as part of the larger green space, between Riverfront Boulevard and the train tracks that lead into downtown.

  • Real estate developer Matthews Southwest will serve as the project manager and provided the first $7.5 million match to bond money, including a land donation.

Of note: The area that will be restored is the original bend of the Trinity River where Native Americans who lived in North Texas once resided.

What's next: The goal is to finalize plans and permits next year and break ground in 2024. Construction is expected to take 18 months to two years.


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