Dallas United Crew addressed White Rock area residents Monday night regarding the plan — on which they are working with the Dallas Park Department — to build a new boathouse on the north shore of White Rock Lake.
The proposal looks quite similar to what we posted here.
Designer, Josh Theodore of Page Southerland Page, LLP, the architectural firm designing the project, presented plans for a 9,000-square-foot structure on the water, which will include boat storage, locker rooms and showers for students involved in the program, plus an observation deck and fountains that the public can access. The plan also calls for a public dock for kayaks and boats on the edge of the existing parking lot.
Dallas United Crew team coach Jonathan Stevens says they want the site to serve the whole community, not just select members.
Of course, the facility would foremost serve its members—150 student members of Dallas United Crew hail from 20 different Dallas area schools. It formerly was Highland Park Crew, because it started with a few students from Highlands Park. Stevens says they changed the name to reflect the existing membership. The DUC is a non-profit. That doesn’t mean it’s inexpensive or easy to be on the competitive DUC team. Tryouts are held in the summer and those on the team look at spending about $3,000 in a season. It’s similar in accessibility to a club soccer team, for example. Coach Stevens says one of the goals of the new facility is to garner more visibility and thus more donations to the scholarship programs by which lower-income kids get an opportunity to participate. Aside from the competitive team, DUC offers summer camps, learn-to-row days and recreational programs. Stevens says DUC is in talks with local hospitals, hoping to partner with programs for disabled veterans and children.
Despite their involvement (the city will own this property once it is built; DUC will manage it), no one from the city or Dallas Park and Recreation attended this meeting, an absence pointed out by one attendee who stood and stated loudly that he had “a question for Councilman Sheffie Kadane. Oh, he’s not here? Well, how about someone from the Park Department. Oh! They aren’t here either?” (They obviously were not there). He is appalled that city representatives are not on hand to answer questions, he notes.
White Rock resident Hal Barker stood and warned the presenters about making plans with city officials in secrecy. He pleaded for transparency moving forward with plans for the boathouse project. He says that when things happen “behind the scenes,” it creates an atmosphere of mistrust, which impedes the process.
“Can you make a commitment to be open and transparent?” Another audience member shouts before Barker wraps up. To which a DUC board member responds, “We have always tried to be open and transparent,” citing early meetings with the White Rock Lake Task Force, which includes leaders from dozens of White Rock Area homeowners groups.
A few more tidbits mentioned during Q&A:
The shoreline and wetlands will not be touched by this project.
Dallas United Crew spokespeople say they have never been kicked out of any previous facilities. The rumor, based on a question, is that they were kicked out of the existing boathouse but they say they outgrew it.
There was an early suggestion that the new boathouse might be rented out for special occasions. That proposal is now off the table.
The Corinthian sailing club is about 24ft tall. The new boathouse would not stand that high. It’s length would less than half a football field. It would practically blend into the landscape when looking at it from across the lake, the designer says.
The proposed site is very near the former Snipe Club site, which was on the lake from 1935-1995 and occupied about the same footprint as the proposed new boathouse.
Lighting at the new facility would be minimal and only on periodically. No new parking lots would be built specifically for the boathouse.
Some neighbors of the lake want the coach to address the noise of the megaphone used during crew practice. Another is concerned about how the noise will impact the birds. The coach says coaches have the ability to adjust the volume on the megaphones and that they can look into that.
By the end of the meeting, there seemed to be a more supportive tone from attendees.