Oncor Electric Delivery has made a major donation of parkland to Dallas that promises to connect the city in new ways: According to a release, it's the largest parkland dedication in Dallas since 1938 and will help bring a huge trail project to completion.
The donation is the result of a joint effort between Oncor, the city of Dallas, and the Circuit Trail Conservancy (CTC), a nonprofit that's overseeing The Loop, a 50-mile walk and bike trail project.
Once built, the Loop will unite Dallas with a city-wide bike and pedestrian active transportation system that joins 39 miles of existing trails in Dallas with 11 miles of newly built trails — connecting neighborhoods and destinations in north, south, east and west Dallas.
A critical portion is the Trinity Forest Spine Trail, a nine-mile connection from White Rock Lake to the Great Trinity Forest, and that's part of Oncor's gift.
"With this donation, the Circuit Trail Conservancy can complete the Trinity Forest Spine Trail, and The Loop, in its entirety, bringing together neighborhoods that have long been disconnected and make walkable, bikeable green space a strong part of Dallas' identity," says Philip Hiatt Haigh, Circuit Trail Conservancy executive director.
The North Phase of the Trinity Forest Spine Trail will be completed in two phases:
- The first phase, which broke ground in July, extends from just below the White Rock Lake spillway to Samuell Road
- The second phase will extend to the Lawnview DART Station in the Parkdale/Lawnview neighborhood of southeast Dallas
The Southern phase will extend from Scyene Road to Pemberton Hill Road, passing through Roosevelt Heights, down to U.S. 175, with construction expected to begin in 2022.
The donation comprises 110 acres, including Parkdale Lake and surrounding land west of White Rock Creek — part of a 280-acre parcel Oncor Electric Delivery has owned since 2010.
Parkdale Lake is in Southeast Dallas along White Rock Creek. It was built in 1953 as a water storage site for the Parkdale Steam Electric Station, which was decommissioned in 2005. Prior to that, the area was farmland in the 1930s, but abandoned in the early 1950s because of flooding.
Most of the Trinity Forest Spine Trail lies within the White Rock Creek floodplain. Parkdale Lake is valuable because it can play an important role in managing runoff and preventing flooding, as well as serve as future park land.
The land is considered critical to deliver the Trinity Forest Spine Trail and The Loop.
Once complete, the Loop has the potential to unite Dallas in many ways.
"We know there is an infrastructure disparity between North and South Dallas that has left neighborhoods like Parkdale without dedicated, safe pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods or the rest of Dallas," says Hiatt Haigh.
"It will help the City of Dallas, and specifically Southern Dallas as this donation is south of 30, grow in a healthy way," says President of the City of Dallas Park Board Arun Agarwal.
Oncor CEO Allen Nye calls it a big win.
"The initiative by the City of Dallas and the Circuit Trail Conservancy to unite Dallas' neighborhoods is a big win for our entire community," Nye says. "The Loop will connect Dallas in a way that increases access for all residents to our city’s economic resources, enhances green space and improves overall quality of life. We’re so proud to be a part of making this project a reality."
In November, the Circuit Trail Conservancy received a $12 million federal grant from the Department of Transportation. The RAISE (Rebuilding America Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) Grant will be used to construct phase III of the Trinity Forest Spine Trail, a 4-mile shared use path that will connect the Lawnview DART Station to the Lake June DART Station and Pemberton Hill Road, connecting White Rock Lake and East Dallas to Southeast Dallas and the Great Trinity Forest trail system.