Government
6:00 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Dallas Council Rows Controversial Boathouse Across Finish Line

Plans for a rowing club boathouse on White Rock Lake received unanimous approval of the Dallas City Council Wednesday. Rowers may be happy, but some neighbors are not.

Many residents who live on the east side of White Rock Lake are not excited about the 9,000 square foot, $4 million boathouse to be built by Dallas United Crew, a regional, student rowing club that started a decade ago in Highland Park.

“It would change the flavor of that whole area,” said Julie Long-Sherrod, who lives across the street from the location. She told Dallas City Council members her view would be a floating boathouse, not the natural shoreline of the lake.

“And the truth is if I thought this development would help all of us and be in the greater good for all the kids in the city, I would be all for it,” said Long-Sherrod. “I would give up my view and it would be no problem. But this is a small interest group that enjoys our lake.”

Dallas United Crew board member Belinda McDonald rejected the small interest group label.

“In just the past few months alone, we've increased the number of schools in our program from 10 to 25,” said McDonald.

Crew members say scholarships are available to students who can’t afford the cost, about $3,000 a year. Dallas United Crew is not asking for city money. The crew will pay for design, construction and maintenance of the boathouse.

That was Bingo for Councilman Jerry Allen.

“We did not have to do a bond program and wait six, eight, ten years for something to happen,” said Allen. “We have someone else who’s coming in and paying for this.”

Councilman Sheffie Kadane, who represents the White Rock Lake area, acknowledged that sometimes balancing neighborhood concerns and overall city interests is tricky, but in this case:

“I do believe that this will be an asset. It’ll be an asset to our lake,” said Kadane. “It will be an asset to our city.”