White Rock East neighbors rally to preserve White Rock Lake’s ‘Blackland Prairies’

A man rides a horse across Boy Scout Hill where developers are interested in building a restaurant: by Danny Flugencio

A group of neighbors from the White Rock area have formed the White Rock East Coalition of Area Neighbors. It comprises Old Lake Highlands, Lochwood and, Peninsula neighborhood associations and the main purpose, according to representative Leigh Ann Ellis is “€œto build a stronger sense of community by, collectively, addressing quality-of-life issues that affect our neighborhoods.”

Based on a letter to Dallas City Hall (on which we were CC’d), the group’s chief concern at the moment is the prospect of a restaurant at White Rock Lake.

“We feel strongly that is an inappropriate use of public park land and we cannot support this kind of disruptive commercial development on the east side of White Rock Lake,” notes the coalition.

“Together we should take this as an opportunity to establish a review of the of 1987 Management Plan for White Rock Lake, strengthen its original mission, and ensure the ecosystems of the native Blackland Prairies remain intact. These sacred grasslands, on the east side of the Lake, are just a handful of the priceless Blackland Prairies in Dallas County. And for us as good stewards of the Lake, we must ensure that respect, preservation, and maintenance are acknowledged as being valued and important for these irreplaceable areas,” they continue.

The sacredness of the prairies have been debated in the past, namely by Dallas Arboretum representatives who wanted to use the Winfrey Point prairies as a parking lot, and their hired experts who call “Blackland Prairies” a hot-button phrase to get people all worked up. “There are 12 million acres of Blackland Prairie in North Texas,” the Arboretum-hired expert said.

Nonetheless, you get the idea. People are organizing to oppose any commercial development, even that which is in infancy. 

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