Plenty of Lakewood residents have been celebrating the completion of the Katy Spur pathway connecting Lakewood Park to White Rock Lake. But those who attended the pathway’s formal dedication were given even more cause for cheer. More than $650,000 will be spent on further improvements to the park in the net couple of years.

The improvements will come thanks to 2003’s $100 million bond program, the city’s largest parks program ever. Passed by an 82 percent margin, it is designed to save the city down the road by making badly needed repairs to parks all over Dallas.

“It was geared toward fixing and replacing outdated and deteriorated facilities, not introducing brand new elements that would require additional maintenance,” says Willis Winters, a Lakewood resident and the Parks Department’s assistant director for planning, design, and construction. “We’re replacing old, broken-down equipment to have a positive impact on our maintenance  budget.”

Winters says Lakewood Park’s primary improvement needs center around three things: erosion control, the replacement of the picnic pavilion and replacing the foot bridges over the creeks.

“The erosion control along the creeks has scoured the soil there, exposing roots pretty severely,” he says. “And the foot bridges over the creeks are in bad shape also, and are sort of ugly.”

As for the pavilion, he adds: “The picnic pavilion is in very bad condition. There’s sort of a popular lore about it, that it used to be a drive-thru teller bank on Northwest Highway, and somebody arranged for it to be donated to the park. It doesn’t look like any other pavilion in the park department, so it could have been used for that.”

When the new pavilion is built, it still won’t look like any other in the city. Each of the other 24 pavilions being replaced through the bond issue will be a unique architect-created design.

An architect firm out of New York City will design the Lakewood Park improvements. “We’re using a woman named Barbara Wilkes, who is both a registered architect and a registered landscape architect, which we felt was perfect for this project since she’ll also be doing the erosion control and foot bridges. Her projects and designs are very impressive, and she has a very good reputation nationally.”

The bonds for the design phase of the project will sell in November of this year, with the approval of the designs expected to take eight to 10 months. The bonds in the construction phase will then sell in November 2005, with construction taking place in 2006.

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