Landscapes of the Month: Revitalizing a Downtown Dallas Park - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Landscapes of the Month: Revitalizing a Downtown Dallas Park

Underneath an interstate highway sits a 5 1/2 acre park that provides an escape from the hustle and bustle.
Photo: Sharp Frame Media

In Dallas, Texas, amongst all the exciting new growth, some of the essential details, including the landscape, had been neglected. So, the mayor desired to redesign the Dallas parks by re-shaping and dedicating over 20 acres of downtown Dallas to parks. At the center of the plan for reconstruction, with over five and a half acres in total, is Carpenter Park.

The city hired Southern Botanical, Inc., based in Dallas, Texas, to take on this project. Southern Botanical has already done work with the city through projects similar to this one, so the company has built a working relationship with the client throughout the years.

Due to Southern Botanical’s hard work, they earned a Gold Award in the 2022 Awards of Excellence.

The original park was once neglected and prime spot for homeless camps.
Photo: Sharp Frame Media

“We work hard to be the best at what we do,” says Bradley Wcislo, senior project manager at Southern Botanical. “It’s an honor for us to be recognized with awards like this one because it demonstrates to our clients and peers why we have become known as The Green Standard in the landscape industry.”

Carpenter Park is situated in one of the older parts of Dallas that has been used for a variety of different things in the past 100 years plus, from buildings and structures to roadways, parkways and railways. During subsoil drainage installation, some abandoned building foundations were covered in the lawn areas. These concealed conditions created challenges for the team throughout the project.

“The challenges began as soon as the project broke ground with delays for almost seven months due to engineering and roadway re-alignment,” says Wcislo. “The installation could not move forward until roadway completion and the project team was forced to re-sequence the construction schedule with each delay. This led to larger challenges like procurement of plant material throughout the entire project.”

Photo: Sharp Frame Media

Procurement was one of the bigger challenges that Southern Botanical faced. Carpenter Park had to be show-ready by the day of opening. To help with overall sizing and quality, the company initiated into a contract to grow here locally.

Midway through construction, Texas went through one of the worst freezes in the history of the state. Therefore, restarting the growth process took a major effort since such a strain had been put on replacing much of the existing landscape throughout the state.

Logistically, the project came with multiple challenges and was an unforeseen difficulty encountered during project execution.

Due to the poor subsurface conditions, the crew had to import over 400 full semi-truck loads of soil onto the site. Communication and planning between all trades and the project team was incredibly important when it came to coordinating all of the moving parts.

Even though multiple issues had to be dealt with, there was always a solution to compensate for them.

The park was able to solve the issue of a lack of green space and non-functional voids. As more people move into downtown Dallas and the surrounding areas, the park will be able to provide a usable green space that is family-friendly. This space will not only serve as a landmark, but be a pillar to the community.

Photo: Sharp Frame Media

“After much trial, we delivered an extensive lawn area, water fountains, seating areas and many native bed areas for a grand opening in May,” says Wcislo. “This park is now heavily scheduled with activities and seen as a landmark throughout the city spurring on economic development and community outreach opportunities.”

This project will have lasting effects and will live on for generations to come. A recent HR&A Advisors study researched and found that Dallas parks had a 7:1 return on investment, giving over $670 million dollars a year back to the local economy. On top of the financial impacts, this project also helped to bring the community together, with daily activities done at the park, including yoga, kids’ nights, and other recreational activities.

Interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence? Entries open on Feb. 13, 2023. Be sure to enter your projects by July 10, 2023.