The city of Dallas on Monday received the largest single gift from a private donor for a public/private partnership benefitting the city — a $50 million donation from Annette Simmons for the new Trinity River park.
The donation, announced by Mayor Mike Rawlings, Annette Simmons, and the Trinity Trust, is in honor of her late husband, billionaire businessman Harold Simmons, who died in December 2013.
The money will launch development and construction of the first phase of what the city said will become one of the greatest urban parks in the United States.
TRINITY RIVER PARK WILL BE NAMED FOR LATE DALLAS BUSINESSMAN
“This gift represents a major turning point for this project, and for our city,” Rawlings said in the release. “With the generosity of Annette Simmons, in honor of Harold, we can begin to create a natural treasure for the future generations of Dallas. This will be one of America’s greatest urban parks and will serve as a gathering place that unites us right here in the heart of our city.”
The park will be named the Harold Simmons Park in recognition of the donation following City Council approval, according to the release.
The city said that Simmons’ donation comes just five months after Rawlings unveiled a conceptual design for the park, which encompasses roughly 285 acres near downtown Dallas.
“My husband, Harold, was a visionary, a humanitarian, and a nature lover,” Annette Simmons said in the release. “He was committed to investing in Dallas and its citizens. This gift will begin the creation of a great public space in our city that will be a place to gather, to enjoy nature, and promote health and well-being. I cannot think of a more lasting and meaningful way to honor Harold’s memory and legacy.”
“My husband, Harold, was a visionary, a humanitarian, and a nature lover.”
The city said that other contingencies of the gift include that the park will be operated by a private entity that has secured operations and maintenance funds, and that money necessary to build the rest of the park must be raised within the next three years.
Rawlings said other funds for the estimated $250 million park would likely come from philanthropists and $27 million of city money available from a 1998 bond package, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Simmons’ donation will pay for further design of the concept, and will help pay for construction of the park along with other sources.
The park’s concept envisions a new naturalized river landscape with miles of pathways and trails within the Trinity River levees, the city said.
“It turns a divider into a connector. What a great thing for a city,” Deedie Rose, chair of the Trinity Trust board, told The News. “It helps unite a city and if we ever needed it, we need it now.”
It includes sites for five elevated parks that will extend from inside the levees into the adjacent communities, and it also allows for the Trinity Parkway, which will provide primary access into the park.
The parkway will require separate funding, the city said.
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