Encore Park—Coming into its Own

We are over the top to be celebrating “Dedication Weekend.” It signals that we have progressed far enough in our planning to share our vision and our progress with the public. 

Placing the last panel into the sculpture wall.  This panel celebrates artists who recorded at 508, including Robert Johnson, Bob Wills, and The Light Crust Doughboys. 

Watching people look carefully at the marvelous new piece of public art we commissioned (The Birth of the City by Brad Oldham International), listening to Larry Lampkin play the blues, and seeing people admire 508 Park knowing that the building is being preserved—well, any of those experiences would be special. 

But tied to the response by the press who were given a hardhat tour on Wednesday, we are over the top!

Sharon Grigsby’s headline in the Dallas Morning News captures much -- "508 Park’s Bluesy Restoration in Downtown Dallas Gets it Right"  --but she goes on to say, "Encore Park has big expectations — It’s trying to combine preservation, commerce, art and social justice issues."  She also writes, our work on the 508 building,  “shows what can happen when preservation and new urban ideas are braided together.”  She concludes, “Thank you, First Presbyterian and partners, for not taking that easier “shiny and new” path and instead preserving a grand piece of our city.”

Peter Simek of D Magazine also caught the magic of what we are trying to do  

"Encore Park has the laborer and the tramp in mind, which makes it bold, almost provocative kind of development for Dallas. Encore Park seeks to adapt and reuse the historic property in a way that doesn’t necessitate displacement and gentrification. Standing on the roof of the building, which features what is perhaps the most magnificent view of downtown and will surely be a popular spot for events and weddings, you can immediately see 508 Park’s significance with regards to the redevelopment of the rest of downtown."
"But by weaving its services into the redevelopment of this historic site, Encore Park is advancing a more progressive way to think about how to handle redevelopment. Rather than displacing the homeless, it will attempt to integrate and normalize. It will be a fascinating to watch their efforts take root."

Thank you to everyone who has helped us move the vision this far! Part of Encore Park became a reality this weekend and, though, we still have work to do to finish it, thanks to everyone who has embraced Encore Park!

More news items:  WFAA   The New York Times    KERA    The Dallas Morning News

508 Park is getting its color back.

Can everyone smile and say “Burma Jade”?

Can everyone smile and say “Burma Jade”?

The word around the Encore Park Project Committee (ProComm) is “Burma Jade.” It’s that classy green color that is returning to the window frames. How did we decide to go with Burma Jade? First, the ProComm, working with architect Jon Rollins at Good Fulton & Farrell, determined to return 508 Park as much as possible to how it appeared in 1930 when construction on the building was completed. The team of experts was expanded by reaching out to Phoenix 1 Restoration and Construction, a Dallas-based business with expertise in historic building restoration. Dale Sellers of Phoenix 1 asked art conservator Michael van Enter, of van Enter Studio Ltd, to do a historic paint analysis of 508 Park. van Enter has been involved in conservation of several historic buildings including restoring the historic iron work at Union Station. Phoenix 1 received the Preservation Dallas Award for Craftsmanship for 2014, and van Enter for 2006.

After viewing samples taken from the building under a microscope, van Enter determined that the newel posts, the balusters, and many of the walls, columns, interior windows, and doors were originally Burma Jade. One detail photo of an exterior metal window frame showed the exposed green paint layer.  Analysis revealed that subsequent layers of darker green paint covered the original, lighter green paint, but the original could still be espied.

We’re excited to watch this new (old) paint return to 508. We’re even more excited to be working with such excellent historic restoration companies that enable us to make wise decisions. Can everyone smile and say “Burma Jade”?

Community Garden Work Day April 12

With Earth Day coming up, and lots of exciting plans for the Community Garden to announce (watch for a post soon), we are having a Community Work Day this Saturday from 1 to 3. 

Bring a water bottle and your strong arms to the corner of Park and Canton.

Here's a photo of the most recent planting of bell peppers, which are planted in what we call the "donation plot" which is being maintained by volunteers and the produce is distributed through various Stewpot programs.

peppers in encore park community garden