El Paso seeks to emulate Dallas with construction of I-10 deck plaza

El Paso seeks to emulate Dallas with construction of I-10 deck plaza

Deck plaza concept

DALLAS, Texas — After the triumph of Clyde Warren Park in Dallas, the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation thinks El Paso could emulate the same success.

Covering over five acres on top of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Clyde Warren connects downtown Dallas to the arts and historical district.

According to the Dallas Fort Worth Real Estate Review, the idea for the park was born in 1968 but nothing was done until a push by downtown real estate developers wanting to connect the districts that the highway had split.

Within 4 years, the group became the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation and amassed around $3.5 million to seed the project.

The city and state added $20 million each for the project and by then, the foundation had raised another $55 million in private donations.

In 2002, the ball got rolling and by 2012 the park was officially opened. It was named Clyde Warren after Billionaire Kelcy Warren donated $10 million to the foundation.

OBJ Landscape Architecture program developer Tara Green worked on the Clyde Warren Project and is also helping with the concepts for El Paso.

“It is a city-owned park that had public bond dollars that went into it. It had federal money that went in to it and when it was being constructed, there was stimulus money available. That was paired with an almost equal amount of private dollars, so that was the money raised to build the park. The park is owned by the city of Dallas but it is privately run by a 501-c3 (non-profit organization),” Green said.

The Paso Del Norte Foundation believes El Paso can benefit from the same style of park that was built in Dallas.

They created the Downtown Deck Plaza Foundation to work with city and state officials in order to build a 12.5 acre deck plaza over Interstate 10 in El Paso.

The project manager for the Downtown Deck Plaza Foundation, Lauren Steinmann, believes El Paso can benefit financially in the long run from the park.

The City of Dallas gets $15 million a year from the foundation as payment for all of the work that was being done and run by the foundation,” Steinmann said.

The Deck Plaza concept would have to coincide with Teas Dept. of Transportation’s next phase of the “Re-imagine I-10” downtown corridor project.

TxDOT is interested in adding extra lanes of highway through the downtown corridor, but in order to do so some property may need to be taken by imminent domain and residents displaced.

This doesn’t sit well though with some city leaders like Precinct 2 El Paso County Commissioner David Stout.

“The Pearl Apartments, most everything you see along the north side of the highway is going to be taken out to widen the highway.  People are going to be displaced and guess what kind of people?  Not the people that own the bank building on the south side of town, the people that are probably low income people that live on the north side of the highway,” Stout told ABC-7.

TxDOT spokesperson Jennifer Wright said the transportation agency has been working with different designs to add the lanes in order to reduce the properties needed to be seized for the project to begin.

Wright said, “What has caused some alarm was that the corridor study in this segment too, not taking railroad property into account, looked at displacing 92 commercial properties along that corridor. Now with the alternatives that we are looking at producing, they would take anywhere from nine to eight commercial properties.”

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