The community was invited to attend an informational meeting at Winfrey Point about rebuilding Dreyfuss Club. Photo by Renee Umsted.

The architects leading the design of the potential new Dreyfuss Club are asking neighbors what they’d like to see at the site.

Six professionals participating in the American Institute of Architects Emerging Leaders Program joined District 9 Park Board member Maria Hasbany at Winfrey Point on Tuesday night to co-host the first community meeting regarding the project.

Around 30 neighbors attended to hear the goals of the project and provide feedback.

The designers aren’t yet planning the building itself; rather, they wanted to hear from the community about what other amenities should be included directly around the site.

This project is still in its infancy, and the AIA group has offered to create a design concept for the new building. However, if neighbors prefer not to construct a structure on the site, the Park and Recreation Department will take alternative suggestions into consideration, Hasbany says.

So far, the architects have heard questions about sources of funding, threats to the natural area and trash buildup. There’s also a concern about what’s to stop the building from one day being converted into a restaurant.

Hasbany says the White Rock Lake Conservancy has volunteered to help with the funding, and there’s also a fund-matching program through the park department. Some neighbors want to make sure the project doesn’t use up bond funds allocated to White Rock Lake Park. 

Many people are wary of development at the lake because it’s home to countless species of plants and animals (including bald eagles and other birds), and it provides residents and visitors a place to be close to nature. But the project won’t increase the amount paved surfaces already there (i.e. they won’t a parking lot), and if constructed, the building will have the same capacity as the previous Dreyfuss Club, around 150.

The building would be used as a rentable event space, operated by the park department. Trash overflow is already an issue at the park, and neighbors don’t want this project to make the problem worse.

Winfrey Point and Big Thicket are two venues on the east side of the lake available for events. Winfrey Point can hold about 300 people and is rented pretty much every weekend. Big Thicket has a capacity of about 100 people. So Dreyfuss Club would be between the other two in terms of size.

At the meeting, neighbors were invited to rate possible amenities based on how often they’d use each one — always, sometimes or never.

Architect Jessica Janzen answers questions at the Dreyfuss Club community meeting at Winfrey Point on May 17, 2022. Photo by Renee Umsted.

Here’s what the amenities were and how they were ranked:

  • Picnic area
    • Always: 10
    • Sometimes: 2
    • Never: 1
  • Lounging
    • Always: 5
    • Sometimes: 2
    • Never: 1
  • Sunset watching 
    • Always: 12
    • Sometimes: 1
    • Never: 0
  • Grilling
    • Always: 4
    • Sometimes: 4
    • Never: 0
  • Bike parking 
    • Always: 5
    • Sometimes: 4
    • Never: 0
  • Workout area 
    • Always: 3
    • Sometimes: 5
    • Never: 1
  • Hammocks
    • Always: 0
    • Sometimes: 1
    • Never: 3
  • Freestanding seating 
    • Always: 2
    • Sometimes: 5
    • Never: 0
  • Kayak dock 
    • Always: 1
    • Sometimes: 3
    • Never: 2
  • Shade structure 
    • Always: 8
    • Sometimes: 3
    • Never: 0
  • Water refilling 
    • Always: 11
    • Sometimes: 3
    • Never: 0
  • Playground
    • Always: 1
    • Sometimes: 3
    • Never: 2

The architects also accepted write-in suggestions, which included: puppies; food truck pavilion by building; keep the historic amenities; fix Big Thicket and Winfrey Point buildings first; concessions; picnic pavilion no building; save the view and don’t build; rental facility; space to watch sunset; kitchen, serving area, medium A/V EQ; restrooms; wine or coffee bar; shaded area for park users who aren’t renting; a mini Central Park atmosphere; and move the White Rock Lake Museum to Dreyfuss.

A survey will be shared in coming weeks with District 9 residents and neighbors who live in other City Council districts to provide another opportunity for public input. Also, the architects plan to host additional informational meetings.

Neighbors submitted their own suggestions about what they want to see at Dreyfuss Point. Photo by Renee Umsted.