Activists, reporters/residents examine plans to build a new boathouse on the shore of White Rock Lake

Plans to place a state-of-the-art boathouse at White Rock Lake are in the works. From the looks of a Dallas United Crew presentation, it would include a part-land, part water facility.

Dallas United Crew, formerly Highland Park Crew, hopes to build what they call in their presentation to the park department “a new community boathouse for Dallas on White Rock Lake.”

The north shore of White Rock is under consideration for the Dallas United Rowing boathouse.

According to a March 27, 2012 meeting presentation, first posted on, Dallas Park Department along with the White Rock Task Force approved the prospective location on the north side of the lake for consideration as the site for the structure. (We’ve been asked a few times, Who is on this task force? I have included a list of members at the bottom of this post.)

Here is the proposed structure in relation to the lake's other boat-related facilities.

This is still in the planning stages and it has not been formally proposed to the city council.

Perhaps this explains why Jim Schutze at the Observer is calling it a $4 million party barge. I kind of get that. (Click on image to enlarge).

Over at the Observer, Jim Schutze is referring to the boathouse, which includes a floating structure, as “The Highlands Park White Rock Lake Carnival Cruise Ship” and the “$4 million party barge”.

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The floating portion of proposed boathouse from a bird's eye view.

Schutze speaks to a member of the task force, Michael Jung, who implies the task force doesn’t have quite the power or the say in plans and developments they once had—that in both the Winfrey Point parking plan debacle and this, “the park department has departed from an older tradition of using the lake task force as a sounding board before committing to major new uses at the lake. He cited numerous instances in which the task force has received multiple briefings on new ideas before the park department ever approached the City Council with a formal proposal.”

“But in both the Winfrey Point and the rowing club instances, Jung said Dyer and his department have gone far down the road of planning and negotiation with private entities before giving the public stakeholders even a hint of what’s going on. He says getting these things dumped on them full-blown has put the task force in a difficult position,” writes Schutze.

While Jim Schutze at the Observer and the operators of, among many, lament the idea, the project planners tout the positives.

Schutze continues in his article: “The larger picture looming over both the Winfrey Point story and the new boat club, Jung said, is one in which the park department seems determined to push development and commercialization of the lake. ‘I am convinced they would grant a license for strip-mining of the lake if they could,’ [Jung] said.”

Here's a final slide from the Dallas United Crew presentation, listing positive points. To enlarge this or any of the above images, just click on it.

And finally, as promised, members of the White Rock Lake Task Force include:

Cheryl Amerine, Old Lake Highlands

Jill Beam, Fair Park and community services

Amanda Boers, Corinthian Sailing Club

Darren Boruff, Centannial Committee

Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum

Randy Brown, Friends of Bath House

Jorge Chavez, L Streets

Andie Comini, White Rock Lake Dog Park

Mel Cyrak, WRL Volunteers on Patrol \

Denise Davis, Little Forest Hills

Max Davis, Little Forest Hills

Megan Doren, White Rock Boat Club

Ted Ellis, White Rock Lake Foundation

Win Evans, Lake Highlands North Neighborhood Association

Susan Falvo, Lakewood

Robert Giesler, Merriman Park

Joe Gillum, Peninsula

Susan Hello, For the Love of the Lake

Greg Hettrick, Emerald Isle

Scott Jenkins, Dallas Police

Michael Jung, White Rock (neighborhood)

Melanie Landay, For the Love of the Lake

Sam Leake, White Rock Boat House

Santos Martinez, Hollywood/Santa Monica

John Reena, Bicycling community

James Northrup, White Rock Boat House

Gary McDonnell, Lake Park Estates

Rob Raymond, White Rock Lake Conservancy

Becky Rader Environmental Health Commission

Joe Ries, Dallas Park and Rec

Ryan Spicer, Old Lake Highlands

Richard Stauffer, Dallas Park and Rec

Jeannie Terilli, WRL Foundation

Jared White, Dallas Park and Rec

Willia Winters, Dallas Park and Rec

Gerald Worrall, White Rock Lake Task Force Chair/Dallas Park and Rec

Rachel White, WRL Conservancy

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  • Tedbarker

    The DUC announced a meeting for this evening, July 30th. There should be a lively group asking questions on process and impact on the lake.

    Dallas United CrewInformation MeetingMonday, July 30th… 7:00pmWilshire Baptist ChurchMcIver Chapel4316 Abrams Rd.
    Dallas, TX

  • Rational Man

    When does wood duck season begin?  Looking forward to bagging the limit. 

  • Furd Floater

    The proposed new Highland Park rowing boat house will absolutely destroy an alreadybeleaguered Wood Duck habitat which includes breeding, nesting grounds and prime cover wetland area that have been cared for by the citizens of east Dallas to include members of the Audobon Society, Sierra Club and Ducks Unlimited. Better take their picture quick cuz if you don’t, the only place your children will ever see these will be on the internet. SAVE THE WOOD DUCKS!!

  • Furd Floater

    Floating restaurant – entertainment- rowing venue facility better suited to be built north Side of Jackson Point (Lakewood)  for prevailing southerly wind break on the west side of the lake. Already has parking and dock facility. Would be a perfect spot for restaurant and great place to have a wedding, birthday rentals.

  • Michael Mosteller

    Calling the comments of people who disagree with you “retarded” is a great way to get people to be more open to listening to what your side has to say. 

    A few of us have asked Donna to answer some questions about this project and she has since not returned to give any sort of reply/rebuttal to what people have asked or commented about. 

    You are totally correct in that WRL belongs to the whole city. So what better than to give part of it to a group that composes a good portion of its membership from people who live in a area of town that pays no taxes to the city that houses WRL? These taxes which would help fund the up keep of the lake they want to have a portion of. 

    So again I ask, is this private group going to pay a monthly/yearly fee to occupy a portion of WRL? 

  • Rational Man

    All of the comments below are, as the kids say, “retarded,”  except for Donna Swanson’s.  I guess that makes sense as she is the only one whose comments are based on facts.  This East Dallas paranoia is getting old.  “OMG!  Highland Park is trying to take over.  Oh Jeez.  The rich people are trying to exclude us!”   White Rock Lake belongs to the whole city, not just those who live within walking distance of the lake.  For future reference, whenever Jim Schulze takes a position, the opposing party will be right 99.9% of the time. 

  • andre

    The task force is a RUBBER STAMP for self serving city interests and “for profit” ringers projects who use White Rock Lake as their personal Piggy Bank, to include the Dallas Police Special Events Department. It is a city stacked deck full of self interest “for profits” and finacially motivated city ringers with a few homeowners associations thrown in for smoke screen . In essence, shell groups nobody has ever heard of ( Fair Park and community services,Centannial Committee,White Rock (neighborhood), ad nauseum) sponsored and manipulated by the city. The real joke is the White Rock Lake Conservancy!!! Started as a non-profit by head of park department and out of work city councilman to supposedly benefit the lake. Audit their books and see where the money they get from homeowners associations and special interest groups goes. Pay particular attention to line items Dreyfuss Club and Security Camera and salaries. Also note there is absolutely no representation of “for profit” running corporations Lukes Locker,White Rock Racing, Run On etc. the heaviest users and biggest problem of the lake with their unchecked crowds, loud speakers, and overparking. Guess they have their own task force! SAVE THE WOOD DUCKS!!THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE!!.

  • Apratc

    So what is the reason to go to the other side of the lake?

  • The Task Force reviews proposals for White Rock Lake Park

    If your home owners association does not show up for the meetings, they are not representing you. 

    On the other hand, if DPARD does not present the proposal – such as the Arboretum’s plan to pave and privatize Winfrey Point, then the Task Force is in the dark. 

  • Me

    The old Art Deco boathouse by T and P Hill is currently in use by white rock boathouse and is already full of single shells, kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards It can’t hold anything larger than a single shell anyway.

  • OldDallasNative

    I believe you mean Fish Hatchery? 

  • RSF

    Why is the historic Art Deco boathouse by Woodrow Hill not good enough for you?

  • Milly

    I’d love more information about this…I hate to dismiss it on face, because rowing is a great fit for the lake.  That said, we are all leery of more development without open discussion, especially on the topics of public use, traffic and parking.  I would also like someone from the DUC to respond to the reports that they’ve been “kicked out” of Bachman Lake & WR boat house.  Is this true, and if it is…what happened?

  • Michael Mosteller

    Donna – I am referring to the parking lot resurfacing that I noticed in the above diagram and other architectural plans that have been released via the FOIA request by Ted Barker. Is your group paying for the paving of the parking lot that is being renovated to accommodate your addition to the Lake? That would be one of my issues with what the Parks Board is trying to push through. I have seen reference to 2009 bond money being used for exactly that reason which unless I am mistaken was not part original bond package the voters of Dallas agreed to. Perhaps you can clear that up since there seems to be a disconnect on accurate information about this proposal.

    Another question, why is the existing White Rock Boathouse not a better spot for your group to have a dock? There is existing parking and it would seem to fit better on the SE end of the Lake.

  • andre

    I am a member of one of the very active homeowners associations mentioned in the above White Rock Lake Task Force membership list posted above and there was nothing ever communicated to me or my neighbors about this or Winfrey Point parking  through our association in monthly newsletter format or minutes of meetings. In addition, we have talked to many other home association members on above list and find the same thing as this was never addressed in their newsletter or minutes. What gives?

  • x the unknown

    Since you are involved with existing rowing club, why don’t you tell us the interesting story of the man the children keep referring to as “THE OWNER” who is, and I quote: “kicking us out”. While you’re at it, publish the audited books of existing rowing club dues, pump house party rental and paddle boat rowing rental revenue along with your “exclusive private country club type” rowing membership roster. Would like to see who gets the money (the owner?) and who keeps their boats stored in the facility. Why not build it on water next to the metal abortion that compliments the historic pump house for mentoring and synergy of kids. Plenty of room there with parking with existing infrastructure. Another perfect spot would be on cove on north side of Jacksons Point (great wind break from prevailing south wind) which is in Lakewood with existing dock facility already in place and plenty of parking, if not more, than proposed. Won’t kill Wood Ducks and other animals by destroying prime wet land habitat either. No audit, then we have to assume this is nothing but an entertainment venue with much better access to Central @ Mockingbird (Highland Park) than current facility. It is only 4 miles away and 15 minutes closer. Looks like Lakewood residents don’t want dozens of cars blowing through their neighborhood so they are pushing it to the east side like all other venues. By the way, could you keep the loud bullhorns down at the dam. This is a park, not the State Fair Midway. PUBLISH THE ABOVE REQUESTED NUMBERS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND TO END SPECULATION AS TO WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT!

  • Donna Swanson

    Michael – The proposed boathouse will be 100% paid for by funds raised through our capital campaign, not by the City.  DUC has never been “kicked out” of anywhere.  The team rowed from the Bathouse in the early years, then moved into the White Rock Boathouse when that facility was completed.

  • Donna Swanson

    Christina, my name is Donna Swanson.  I am the parent board president of Dallas United Crew.  My daughter is a Bishop Lynch student who rows for DUC.  I am also an East Dallas resident for the past 26 years.  I am a rower on White Rock Lake and member of the White Rock Boathouse for the past 4 years.  DUC is a Juniors rowing program that has been rowing on WR Lake for the past ten years, made up of teens from 10+ area high schools.  The team started with 4 HP high school students in 2002 – hence the name – but quickly expanded to include students from all over the Dallas metroplex.  Our desire now is to expand our programs to offer Dallas residents adaptive rowing, kayaking, and youth outreach programs, making the lake more accessible to all.  We have hosted numerous public meetings over the past months and spent countless hours meeting with area neighborhood associations.  The proposed boathouse is a low-impact, efficiently-designed structure which will house the equipment for these programs – not the “party barge” referenced by Jim Schutze.  The location is a former sailing club, not an area of new development on the lake.  I would be happy to talk with you to give you all of the facts about our proposed boathouse. It’s an exciting story.

  • Milly

    Here, here.  I love the idea of having rowers on the lake and supporting a sport that seems like a great fit for Dallas, but don’t we already have a boathouse?  If we need another, we should have some constraints around use – maybe require 70% of crews to be city residents, for example.  We can’t use their parks, we shouldn’t cede ours.

  • Michael Mosteller

    I think that might be  reference to the blog not updating. Every time I come back to the site, the blog is stuck on June 6. I’ve tried other browsers and get the same result. Only way for me to see new blog entries is to go to your home page.

  • Egouge-hoepfully it is working for you now. Because of the quantity of images, it might be taking time to load? 

  • Rotten

    Make no mistake, this is Highland Park (which doesn’t allow non-residents to use its parks) under a stealth name.  Exclusion is important to Parkies. That’s the opposite from the way most East Dallasites feel.

  • Lee Gibson

    People need to see this issue in context. It is merely one more part of a long campaign by economic elites to destroy the public sector in this country and to privatize everything—the schools, the roads, the parks, everything—while siphoning tax dollars into their own pockets for their own purposes.

  • alice

    Yes, please build a simple, hip permanent dock and shed for the White Rock Rowing Co.  I just moved from Austin and I can’t tell you how “cute” and fun seeing the dock is whenever I ran by it on the trail. It would be a discreet addition to White Rock that would really add to its ambience.

  • alice

    Yes, please build a simple, hip permanent dock and shed for the White Rock Rowing Co.  I just moved from Austin and I can’t tell you how “cute” and fun seeing the dock is whenever I ran by it on the trail. It would be a discreet addition to White Rock that would really add to its ambience.

  • Michael Mosteller

    I’m conflicted on this story. I agree that it’s part of a larger problem that the Park Department seems more than willing to give away parts of White Rock Lake for private use with little to no discussion or concern to the public. However, the Lake has been given to private groups for quite some time like the Corinthian Sailing Club and the White Rock Boat Club. 

    It is disturbing that lake space is going to be given to another private group when a crew facility is already located on the edge of the southeast end of the lake near the spillway. There’s also some tidbits that this formerly Highland Park Crew Club has been kicked out of every place they’ve formerly been given to launch their crew boats (Bachman, the Bath House, the crew boat docks by the Spillway). They don’t seem to be the best neighbors nor tenants for a space on the lake.

    Ultimately, I don’t think City funds should go towards building anything for a private group. Public funds shouldn’t be used to build anything related to a private facility on public park land. The City is going to pay paving a new parking lot for this private group. I’m not familiar with the other private clubs that occupy space on the Lake. Are they paying any sort of rent to the Parks Department? Or were they grandfathered in a long time ago? 

    It’s funny to me that I go to a city like Austin and there are docks similar to the one in the drawing above (without the structures built on) situated right on the shore of Lady Bird Lake. You can rent canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and paddleboards. In Dallas though, we want to give public space to a group that can exclude the public when it wants and the public has to rely on entrepreneurs like the White Rock Paddle Company to give the public access to water recreation on the Lake. Thank goodness for White Rock Paddle Co. The Parks Department needs to take a cue from Austin and build the ladies there a permanent dock. Doesn’t have to be much but it could be a great destination spot and an investment in a great business that definitely fills a need and makes going to White Rock Lake even better. How about paving their parking space and setting aside an area for their trailer to go? That would be a better use of public funds. Hence the word “public” in that sentence.

    Here’s a picture of what they have on Lady Bird Lake in Austin:

  • Egouge78418

    Why is the blog not working?