Looking Back on 2020 and the Continued Growth of Downtown Neighborhood Parks

We made it. One of the craziest years in recent history is finally coming to an end. Despite COVID-19 and dealing with the challenges that came along with this moment, Downtown Dallas still has plenty to rejoice. Over the last 12 months, Downtown Dallas Parks Conservancy has commemorated numerous milestones in our quest to build and sustain four new neighborhood parks in Downtown, and we have no intention of slowing down in 2021.

In a year where the value of outdoor community spaces have been especially appreciated, it’s no surprise that parks, namely Downtown parks, are getting their due.

We kicked off 2020 breaking ground on West End Square. The former parking lot in the West End Historic District got an instant boost on its transformation just as the shovel hit the dirt. First when Corgan, leading architecture and design firm headquartered in the West End Historic District, committed a $100,000 donation toward the construction of their new neighborhood park. When the square opens, it will include a unique weather emulating water feature thanks to a $300,000 gift from the charitable arm of DDI – the Downtown Dallas, Inc. Foundation. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Meadows Foundation joined our lead donors to make this park in the West End a reality.

As summer burgeoned, the next highly anticipated venture got the go-ahead from the Dallas City Council. Carpenter Park received unanimous approval for the plans to restore this forgotten space into a 5.6-acre park between east Downtown and Deep Ellum. The plans call for the park to be equipped with play areas for children and dogs, a basketball court, walking paths, a pavilion, public art and plenty of open green space. Only a few short months later, construction officially commenced on the east Downtown park which is expected to open to the public in Spring of 2022.

Harwood Park design work officially kicked off in 2020, and the public weighed in on the concepts and amenities they want to see in this park in the East Quarter District of Downtown. Todd Interests and East Quarter pledged $1 million to Parks of Downtown Dallas for the construction of Harwood Park, which will serve as the backyard to East Quarter residences and businesses. Harwood Park is still in its planning stages, and is scheduled for a late summer 2021 groundbreaking.

The summer swelter didn’t slow down progress. By late July, Belo Garden was extensively renovated to nurture the natural beauty that was already a staple of the 1.7-acre Downtown park. Beyond replanting over 4,000 perennials and grasses, the beloved fountain’s pump room was improved for added versatility and garden fencing was added to allow the new plants to settle and bloom without the threat of being trampled.

Even with so much progress under our belt and on the horizon, it’s important to take a moment to reflect. In October, we celebrated Pacific Plaza’s first birthday. The intricately designed pavilion, lawn space and swings alongside the reimagined Aston Grove, has secured this beautiful space as a mainstay of the Downtown community.

The past year was a whirlwind of growth and recalibration, which only adds to the anticipation for 2021. We look forward to the opening of West End Square in the spring, as well as the ongoing progress at Carpenter Park, with both construction projects led by Beck Group. We also expect to break ground on Harwood Park in 2021, which will mark the homestretch of this four-park initiative between Downtown Dallas Parks Conservancy and the Dallas Park & Recreation Department.

The health and success of our Downtown parks hinges on the community’s support. DDPC is making Downtown Dallas a more vibrant and walkable place through the development of four dynamic neighborhood parks. Learn more and donate to the Support the Parks campaign.