By Heather Tomlin
The White Rock Lake Foundation (WRLF) is handing over $151,000 they raised for the restoration of the historic event venue Winfrey Point to the Dallas Park and Recreation Department on Friday, January 20. Attendees will include Board Members from The White Rock Lake Foundation, the director of the Dallas Park and Recreation Department, assistant director and many staff members and city representatives.
After receiving approval from Dallas Park and Recreation and The White Rock Lake Task Force in the Spring of 2022, WRLF designated restoring the venue as their primary fundraising project. The renovation is estimated to cost around $500,000 total, with the aim of restoring the building to its original glory. Funds have been raised primarily through the foundation’s annual golf tournament and the Jewel of Dallas Gala, held in October 2022, which raised approximately $78,000. The foundation was also approved for a matching fund program through the city, which will bring the total amount earmarked for the initiative to over $300,000.
“We will continue to provide funds for the Winfrey Point restoration project, and are calling on the community to help,” states Joe Kidwell, president of the foundation. “In partnership with the Dallas Park and Recreation Department, and pending their blessing, we will post signs on site asking for donations and continue hosting our premier fundraising events — the golf tournament in the spring and the gala in the fall.”
Board members met with park department staff at the location last year to review a wish list of improvements and estimates, and see the tasks targeted for renovation firsthand. This initial contribution will go toward repairs of the HVAC system, painting the interior and replacing the roof, with other restoration initiatives to follow.
The White Rock Lake Foundation has raised millions of dollars for numerous projects benefitting White Rock Lake during the course of 32 years, including developing the total Master Plan rendering for White Rock Lake Park, funding and designing new architectural stone abutments to the pedestrian bridge at the main park entrance, and installing shade structures at the Winfrey Point Ball Felds.
Most recently, the foundation raised more than $25,000 for directional signage around the lake, like those on the Santa Fe Trail, which provides the distance between certain points on the trail and a map of the area. The 11 new graffiti-proof signs will be located along the entirety of the White Rock Lake Trail, with the four largest ones measuring 6 feet tall. Concrete for the signs is scheduled to be poured this spring.
The White Rock Lake Foundation had its start in 1989, when a concerned group of citizens formed the foundation to improve and protect the lake. The Foundation was instrumental and led the efforts to secure an $18 million dollar bond package through the City of Dallas to dredge White Rock Lake and restore it to a healthy, life-sustaining depth by the end of the 20th century. The bond package was approved by voters in May 1995. From those grassroots origins, the White Rock Lake Foundation has adopted goals that include the completion of the White Rock Lake Master Plan, the development of a Comprehensive Landscape Architectural Concept Plan and a schedule for all restoration, preservation, and development efforts at White Rock Lake.
Fundraising continues to be a critical component of the White Rock Lake Foundation’s responsibilities. Private funds have paid for essentials at White Rock Lake Park such as picnic tables, bicycle racks, benches, trash receptacles and additional landscaping.