Dear Councilman Narvaez, Medrano and Gates,
I am writing to you to express disappointment in the recent decision to move forward with the largest and costliest option for the Bachman Aquatic Center. The disappointment is not in the actual choice, but in the lack of community participation on a major infrastructure project that will change the nature of the park. It is becoming rote that Northwest Dallas citizens are ignored. In this case, we were not asked to weigh in on the aquatic center options, features, cost to access, hours of availability or the impact to a 120-year-old tree grove. We have not been informed on how this will affect traffic in the area nor where the patrons will park.
It is our understanding that on March 18th you gave the approval to the Parks Department to proceed with the Regional Aquatic Center. At exactly the same time, Friends of Bachman Lake was working with the Parks Department on a community survey. FoBL was offering assistance to the Parks Department in getting this very belated feedback because we were told the project was on hold pending community input.
Friends of Bachman Lake was formed to give Bachman Lake Park a voice. Our mission is to advocate for the quality park that residents of Northwest Dallas deserve and cherish. You know this because you lauded our rise in the community and depended on our advocacy to defend the lake from being shrunk to a stream. With this in mind I must respectfully ask: what is a friends group supposed to do when it is left out of a critical conversation about a very critical piece of this “recreational jewel?” What exactly is a friends group for?
While I applaud the emphasis on making Bachman Lake Park a hub of recreation and family enjoyment, direct input from those living around the park could have resulted in an option that met the scale and appropriateness of the community needs in a more equitable and impactful way. Adding a regional facility, modifying the design, deciding to destroy mature trees should not be done behind the closed doors of City Council offices.
This project can still be paused because despite what is being posited by the City of Dallas, it affects neither the 2015 Aquatic Master Plan nor the 2017 Bond Request.
Finally, even though you did not stop to ask or listen, we feel that it is only fair to the community to share with you the results of the survey. Over 700 people living in the neighborhoods around Bachman Lake Park responded, including both English and Spanish speaking members of our community. We had this survey open less than a week and the response rate should show you just how much people care.
“To pay $30 for 4 people is too much for families in that neighborhood. Plus a bathhouse? A lot of beautiful, natural environment being destroyed. Where is parking for the amount of people coming? Makes no sense” Susana M., Midway Hollow
“I may be missing the point of such a facility but sounds like a ridiculous use of the piece of property or of any site. Maybe (option) #3 on a reasonable scale and park land keeping trees” Laura D., Netherland Park
“I just hate the thought of all these trees being destroyed. All that plus the cost for only 2 months a year. The cost benefit doesn’t seem to be there.” A. Mora, Midway Hollow
“We could use a dog park in this area.” Michael A., Midway Hollow
“While one recognized the benefits of having aquatic features for family fun, it certainly changes the nature of the park and the amount of noice and traffic it will attract.” Susan W, Briarwood
“If they have to put the aquatic center somewhere, there are so many other places it could go. There are large areas of vacant lots on Harry Hines with no trees. Dallas has so few large trees and to eliminate a grove with 100 year old trees is truly sickening.” Ellen B. Bluffview