Dallas Is Building A $600 Million Park That’s 11 Times Bigger Than Central Park

Everything is bigger in Texas. That probably explains why Dallas is building a 10,000-acre nature district along the Trinity River. The Trinity River Park will cost $600 million and be more than 11 times the acreage of New York City’s Central Park.

The park is supposed to be completed in 2021, but this project has been in the works since 1998. Voters passed a bond referendum at that time to help finance it, but red tape delayed the project. Until now.

The two main goals for the park consist of creating civic spaces and improving the natural landscape for the floodplains of Dallas. The playgrounds, fountains, and plazas will connect the city to the river.


Park organizers see the park at a way to bring the city’s low- and high-income earners together—literally. Five bridges will stretch across the park, and organizers hope these will connect the city’s poorer southern and the wealthier northern areas.

Because the Trinity River floods constantly, there are concerns over whether or not the Trinity River Park will withstand massive flooding. According to Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the designers of the park, they built the park to produce natural paths for the flood to traverse in the case of a massive flood, along with “riparian” vegetation that will withstand flooding. This will make the park accessible “even during 10-year storms, ensuring the adaptability of the space even under extreme circumstances.”

Van Valkenburgh Associates are also behind park designs such as Maggie Daley Park in Chicago (below), a 20-acre park in the heart of the city. They’ve also just been chosen to design the grounds around Barack Obama’s presidential library, which will also be based in Chicago.

One chief concern with the Dallas park, as with all government projects, is where the money will come from. Mike Rawlings, mayor of Dallas, believes most of the money will come from philanthropists like Annette Simmons, who recently donated $50 million to fund 285 acres for a section of the park named after her late husband, billionaire Harold Simmons. The rest of the money will come from the 1998 bond package and the Trinity Park Conservancy, a non-profit that’s raised $60 million for bridges and trails.


Most of the 10,000 acres is held inside the 7,000-acre Great Trinity Forest. Golf courses, the Texas Horse Park, and a nature center named the Trinity River Audubon Center are already developed in this area of the park.

Before the project can go any further, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still need to approve the plans. But until then, we can watch this video produced by Business Insider and start planning our 2021 visit: