Zumba, yoga, chess instruction, dance lessons and more activities are free at the Continental Bridge Park.
The city pays for all of that programming along with maintenance as part of the Continental Bridge Park and West Dallas Gateway.
The city’s Transportation and Trinity River Project committee is considering whether to charge fees to rent part or all of the park as well as for classes and activities. The park’s budget is $457,000, which pays for staff, supplies, programmed activities, maintenance (trash pick-up, portable toilets, etc.) and utilities.
The park itself was built using funds from an anonymous donor, but unlike Klyde Warren Park, there is no foundation raising money to pay for its programming and upkeep.
When the park opened this past May, city officials decided to foot the bill for programming for the first few months in the hopes that free events and activities would draw people to the park. Now that the park is somewhat established — as many as 1,000 people turned out for National Night Out Against Crime recently, for example — City Council must consider whether to charge vendors and event planners to use the park.
Trinity Watershed Management, which oversees the park, suggested a $5,000 rental fee for an event that would close the bridge to the public or charge a general admission. It would cost $100 to rent space, such as tables for a birthday party, and there would continue to be no charge to throw a party on the bridge on a first-come, first-served basis.The city also is considering whether to stop paying for programmed activities, such as fitness classes, and allowing instructors to charge a fee to users instead. Councilwoman Sandy Greyson said she would prefer to keep the programming free for now, but start charging eventually.Councilman Scott Griggs said programming should be free unless demand grows so high that there are scheduling conflicts.The committee is expected to revisit the question in December.