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Klyde Warren Park: A peaceful getaway in the middle of downtown Dallas

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by Mia Castillo

Julie Vazquez and Stacy Bailey singing and playing guitar

It’s lunch time on a Monday afternoon. Everyone rushes out of work and speeds through the hustle and bustle of downtown Dallas in order to grab a bite to eat and get back to work on time.

But Douglas Webb is in no hurry.

Webb, who works at Plaza of the Americas in downtown, chooses an alternative lunch break. He takes a walk to Klyde Warren Park and grabs lunch from one of several food trucks that are available. Not only has Webb had lunch, but he has gotten in some exercise , enjoyed some fresh air, and caught up on some reading as well. And he arrives back to work with 15 minutes to spare.

While at the park, Webb sat peacefully in a neon green chair one day recently and flipped open the day’s paper. A few seats away from him is a couple enjoying a game of checkers on a bright yellow table underneath a Cypress tree. Across the lawn is a woman practicing yoga, and on the sidewalk a chocolate brown Dachshund puppy runs in circles around his owner. To the far right a playground is full of smiling children.

Alexandria Martinez and Matthew Kannenberg enjoying a game of Jenga

And all this is taking place in the middle of downtown, at the new Klyde Warren Park, which just opened at the end of October.

“I have been coming here every day since the park opened,” said Webb. “This is one of the best things Dallas has ever done.”

Klyde Warren Park, previously known as Woodall Rodgers Deck Park, is located over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets in downtown Dallas. The 5.2-acre, $110 million project, celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 27. Now, a little over a month since the opening, the park is not only attracting people from all over Dallas, but it is leaving them wanting to come back.

“I like how it feels like a neighborhood park, yet the skyscrapers are all around us,” said 19-year-old Matthew Kannenberg, who sat playing a game of Jenga with his friend Alexandria Martinez. Martinez agreed that the park had an awesome environment.

“I didn’t even know that they had these games set up out here,” said Martinez, as she pointed to The Dallas Morning News Reading & Games Room kiosk.

Klyde Warren Park is named after the red-headed 10-year-old whose father, Kelcy Warren, donated $10 million to help make the project possible. Not only does the park offer readings, games, dining, music, croquet, ping pong, petanque, a putting green, and a dog park, but also, numerous activities from Stroller Boot Camp to Lunchtime Piano are offered daily.

“We drove by the other day and saw a yoga class going on,” said Stacy Bailey, who sat with her girlfriend Julie Vazquez. Bailey and Vazquez sang and played their guitars in the middle of the park on their day off from work. The two who live just a few minutes from the park realized what a nice day it would be to play outside instead of in.

“We saw people playing chess here the first day we came, and there was someone playing a piano earlier. There is a piano that stays here,” said Bailey smiling while conversing about all the unique things taking place at the park.

Julie Wetzel held her eight-month-old baby boy in her arms as she watched her five-year-old and four-year old play on a merry-go-round in The Children’s Park. She stood smiling with her friend, Tori Shubert, who watched her three children play on a jungle gym.

“My kids are loving it,” said Wetzel. “I was kind of a doubter at first, but it has turned out so great. I am proud of Dallas for having something so amazing.”

Douglas Webb reading a newspaper during his lunch break

Kenneth Thompson sat at a table at the park enjoying some sushi from the Crazy Fish food truck on his day off from work.

“On a beautiful day like today, with 77 degree weather, I couldn’t sit at home,” he said. “There isn’t a better place to come.”

He compared the park to places in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. “There couldn’t be a better setting. I think that in five years down the road it could be Dallas’s Central Park.”

After he finished his lunch, Webb folded up his newspaper, packed it in his briefcase, and stood up to walk back to work.

“Everyone is talking about the park’s linking of downtown to the uptown area, and the way it is creating an urban feel that Dallasites have never experienced before,” he said. “I finally got some of my coworkers to come and none of them had any idea it was this great – it is definitely a different experience than what people expect.”

Average Joe
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