Let me know if you're interested in joining me on a
September Saturday (date to be determined) canoe trip on the Trinity River led
by Charles Allen of Trinity River Expeditions. (For info, go to http://www.canoedallas.com)
Here's my report on Wednesday morning's "celebration"...
You saw a few minutes coverage of what organizers billed as
the ?Dallas Floodway Extension Press Event? on the evening news and you can read
about it in the DMN?s Thursday edition. I venture to say, however, that the
media?s perspective will differ from mine.
Despite the extreme sunlight and heat, I was made to shiver
at the comment made by Dallas Councilwoman Thornton-Reese. She stated that it
was great to see all levels of government represented, showing their support.
Indeed, she was right. City, state and federal elected officials were present
along with EPA Regional Administrator Richard Greene and Col. John Minahan of
the US Corps of Engineers.
Another chilling truth was stated by Congressman Frost. The project is
bipartisan, as he proved with his presence and his speech.
Dallas Mayor Miller told the fairly large crowd that it's been a long road to
this day of celebrating the first step in the Trinity River Corridor (TRC)
development. Initial efforts, she said, can be traced back to 1965. I would
say talk of doing something with the Trinity goes back much farther. At any
rate, she glossed over the "why" of the long delay, the controversy. Today,
after all, was an historic opening to a bright future.
A couple of times, the TRC exhibit behind the speakers' canopy fell down and the
mike blared during Sen. Hutchison's claim that she wanted to save as much of
nature as possible. But these minor interruptions did not deter.
The morning's hour-long presentation, emceed by Mayor
Miller, was filled with verbal pats on the back and misdirection.
Congressman Hensarling opened his remarks about the DFE flood protection project
by talking of the high waters that threatened Downtown Dallas in 1908, alluding
to a river that no longer exists. He forgot to mention the flood control
measures that led to channeling the river in the 1930s.
EPA's Greene admitted he hadn't spoken to President Bush about the TRC lately
but back when the President was part owner of the Rangers, he went along with
the idea of a trail in the river area that would eventually connect Dallas to
Fort Worth. However, according to a position paper produced by Save the Trinity
Chair David Gray, the President's administration continues to recommend a zero
budget for the Corps' Dallas Floodway Extension (DFE).
Dallas City Councilman Oakley talked of the Trinity River Committee he chairs
and claimed his committee's bi-monthly meetings are open to participation by
all, including environmentalists. Oakley and many others offered proof of
environmental support by invoking the name of Ned Fritz who sat in front of the
podium, but Mr. Fritz was not part of the group under the canopy today. He was
not invited to speak.
Mayor Miller mentioned the road on the downtown side that
will be part of the corridor development, but most emphasis was placed as always
on environmental enhancements - trails, parks that would be coming along as
There was an admission that we have a funding shortfall.
Congress needs to come through to approve $$ for a Calatrava bridge. It was
pointed out the Trinity Trust was established to provide funding for
corridor-related projects. However, it was not made clear that most
environmental enhancements described at the ceremony are the projects needing
The project at Joppa was highlighted as a project related
to the TRC development. There were display tables set up and horses in "full
regalia" as the event agenda pointed out. The Dallas County Buffalo Soldiers
brought in the flag to begin the event and were featured again at the end to
begin dismantling an old shed on the former Sleepy Hollow Golf Course where the
ceremony took place. The soldiers will be taking the pieces of the shed to use
as part of the Joppa Rodeo site. Soldier Paul Allen spoke before the
dismantling, emphasizing that the Joppa Rodeo Recreation & Development Center
According to a center brochure, the following were listed on a wish list:
Horse Stables/Trail Development,
Neighborhood Park Pavilion
Community Development Center
Covered Rodeo Arena
Buffalo Soldier Museum
Boarding School for at-risk kids.
Tax-exempt donations can be sent to Communities Foundation of Texas, Attn: Joppa
Rodeo Fund, 5500 Caruth Haven Lane, Dallas, TX 75225-8146.
Since Mr. Fritz was not able to express his views, I invite
you to go to
for background info that he and others have provided over the years. (NOTE: If
you're asked to sign in after you've double clicked on the above URL and you're
not a Yahoo user, create an ID and password to register. You will then have
access to the list of files.)
Below are comments from Save the Trinity Chair David Gray.
On behalf of Save the Trinity:
1. We are disappointed that such a costly, destructive project is going ahead.
Taxpayers are paying for pork-barrel projects to benefit contractors,
speculators, and developers. Bureaucrats and politicians are sacrificing 30,000
trees to keep the project alive.
2. Much less damaging and costly alternatives are available.
3. Relief for *all* of
Heights has not yet been recommended.
4. Funding is $10 million a year. The costs have already gone far beyond that.
5. Taxpayers for Common Sense and National Wildlife Federation have ranked DFE
as one of 10 worst Corps projects in the nation.
6. The Bush administration continues to recommend a zero budget for it.
7. Mitigation does not save trees or habitat. It sacrifices them.
Don't forget to contact me regarding the Saturday canoe trip in September.
Come enjoy the Trinity River!