With January just around the corner, it’s hard to believe another year in Dallas has come and gone. The city has seen much change in 2018 — major announcements, openings, closings, arrivals, departures and, of course, new park developments. Let’s revisit some of the biggest Dallas happenings of 2018.
Perhaps the most exciting item on our list is this past April’s official ground-breaking for Pacific Plaza. This new 3.4-acre public park has been much-anticipated since the land was first acquired for $9.1 million over a decade ago. Funded in its entirety by Downtown Dallas Parks Conservancy, Pacific Plaza will transform what were surface parking lots near the Harwood Street pedestrian corridor into a public green space for all to enjoy, complete with shaded paths, beautiful landscaping and a children’s play area. Pacific Plaza will also include what is now known as Aston Park, a small pocket park located at the corner of N. Harwood Street and Pacific Avenue. World-renowned architecture firm SWA is leading the park’s construction and is predicted to wrap-up their work by late fall of 2019.
Meanwhile, we also welcomed a new type of transportation to the city this year — electric scooters. When the Dallas City Council approved a motor-assisted scooter ordinance in late June, it took only a few days for the first company to unveil its fleet. Now, Dallas is home to three scooter companies: Bird, LimeBike (which also currently operates a bike-share program in Dallas) and, as recently as October, Razor USA. According to the ordinance, scooters are allowed on city-owned properties, such as public paths, roads and trails. However, the ordinance was passed on a six-month, trial basis. Only time will tell whether the city decides to renew or end its partnerships with the scooter companies, and the decision will likely take into account safety concerns as well as the programs’ impact on making Dallas’ culture less car-centric.
Dallas also continued to see significant changes this year to a storied Downtown landmark: the Adolphus Hotel. Following a massive, two-year renovation that included the opening of City Hall Bistro and the French Room, the Adolphus did not miss a beat in 2018, opening two additional spaces to the public. Otto’s Coffee & Fine Foods, a Viennese-inspired café that serves coffee from local favorite Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, opened this April. A few months later (and just in time for a scorching Texas summer), the hotel opened its seventh-floor outdoor pool to the general public for the first time in its history.
Finally, big news came in October when Klyde Warren Park announced an estimated $76 million expansion to its current 5.2-acre footprint. The project is a result of a partnership between the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation (WRPF) and VisitDallas and will add 1.2 acres of park space over Woodall Rodgers Freeway just west of St. Paul Street. The expansion will include additional green space, public gathering spots and — most notably — a 20,000-square-foot pavilion situated between St. Paul and Akard Streets. The pavilion will contain a large visitor center that emphasizes state-of-the-art, interactive technology, plus event space. The project is scheduled to get underway next year, with completion anticipated as early as 2022.