As Bayside develops, water sports enthusiasts seek to preserve water access..
With his kite board and Lake Ray Hubbard’s winds, Fredric Jagu loves jumping higher than a small building and seeing reactions of patrons dining at Bass Pro Shop.
“We wave at the people at the restaurant,” said the Frenchman, who now lives in Richardson after moving to Texas three years ago.
“It’s nature. It’s what we love.”
– Fredric Jagu, a kite boarder from Richardson
Jagu looked like he had just come from the lake when he showed up wearing shorts over his wetsuit earlier this week at City Hall extolling the benefits of the being on the water.
“There’s no smell of gas,” he said. “It’s nature. It’s what we love.”
He was joined by several other water sports enthusiasts, many wearing yellow T-shirts with the message “Sail Rowlett: On the Water. On the Move.” The shirts are for sale on the website for the 1,200-member Texas Kiteboarding Association under the heading “Help Save Dalrock.”
Tommy Johnson, of Grapevine, explained how with Rowlett’s pending acquisition of the former Elgin B. Robertson Park and the transfer of the 257 acres to Donahue Development Corp., association members are worried about losing access to a prime launching and safe landing spot.
“You guys have a world-class launch right here,” he told city planners. “It happens to be the only launch in Dallas where we kite boarders can kite the prevailing southeast to southwest winds.”
Kite boarders have been setting up and launching from the southernmost tip of the property since 2000 and windsurfers have been using that location since 1994, he said.
But with the Bayside development set to go up during the next seven to 10 years, developer Kent Donahue’s plans call for placing a spectacular resort on that highly visible location.
“You are trying to create something with a major presence on that western side of the lake that really has some lights and activity and draws people into the development,” explained Mark Bowers, planner and landscape architect with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. in Dallas.
The look there will depend on the needs and brand of the resort developer, he said, while noting that Donahue is intrigued by the possibilities of The Crystal Lagoon in the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Chile.
Located between hotels and a seaside beach, the lagoon, filled with 66 million gallons of crystal clear seawater and billed as the world’s largest swimming pool by dailymail.com, is so large people can sail boats in it.
With the city of Dallas preferring to limit access to a lake relied on for drinking water, such an approach here could offer opportunities to provide activities on the water without being in the lake, Bowers said.
The Bayside development plan includes areas for parks and other public spaces. A road along the southwestern edge of the lake would include bike and hike lanes as well as open space to the lake. Those trails would have the potential to connect to other parts of the city, such as Lakeside Park.
Large park areas, surrounded by mixed-use buildings, are planned for the more commercial areas on both sides of Interstate 30.
The kite boarders are hoping the plan can also include public beach at the ideal launch spot and no buildings upwind from there.
“We don’t need much in order to continue doing what we’ve been doing,” Johnson said.
The presence of the kite boarders there would benefit the development by continuing to create visual interest and activity there even during the cooler months, the kite boarders said.
“Although we sail all year, the best wind is in the fall, winter and the spring,” Robert Cummings, of Garland, said.
Johnson asked Donahue, “Can I go ahead and get a commitment from you to work with us on this?”
“I can’t commit to anything until we own the property,” Donahue responded.
So Johnson asked, “Will you commit to talking to us?”
“Yes,” Donahue said, he could commit to that.
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A big thank you to our Dallas Ambassadors and kiteboarders who made this happen on behalf of all kiteboarders..Jennifer Friday, Tommy Johnson and Matt Bayazitoglu.