The Flower Mound Planning and Zoning Commission’s unanimous approval on Monday night of the site plan for The River Walk at Central Park’s Farmers Market and splash pad amenities completes the design between the Amphitheater to the north and Restaurant Row to the south.
The Farmers Market and splash pad will occupy 3.7-acres on the western side of The River Walk Channel.
Three separate buildings and a splash pad area, with just over 6,450-square-feet of indoor space, are situated above and below a circular central plaza area at the eastern terminus area of the promenade.
The splash pad will feature spray fountains on a lower level adjacent to the actual river walk, while the upper-level provides a seating and viewing area.
As with most of The River Walk site plans, the chronic concern of parking was discussed.
Bobby Dollak, senior project engineer for G&A Consultants, said the project will have a [parking] situation similar to Southlake Town Square, only better.
The podium parking area in restaurant row has 400-spaces, two-to-three parking garages surrounding the entertainment district, plus on-street parking spaces throughout the development.
Commissioner Laura Dillon questioned whether signage would help visitors find public parking availability, since the parking garage to be near the hotel could be assumed to be for hotel-patrons only. She said event signage could help guide visitors.
Dollak agreed that it could be a problem, however, the project’s management association would likely provide traffic-direction during highly-attended events and special signage could be used, or even—for major concerts—the [Flower Mound] Police Department might be used for traffic or parking direction.
“It [the Farmers Market] is pedestrian-oriented, so we’re hoping people will park and walk,” he said. “We are trying to provide an experience.”
Commissioner Al Linley asked about the podium parking located to serve the customers of the restaurants and whether those businesses would want some dedicated spaces.
Vice Chairman Perfecto Solis wanted assurance there would be enough spaces on days the Farmers Market is open.
“I hear what you’re saying– parking free for everyone,” he pointed out to Dollak. “But, that’s not going to be the case, when these businesses become successful. They’re going to want a dedicated number of parking spaces in front of these entities.”
“There’s a balance in there that you guys are going to have to find,” Dollak said. “It’s a sticky situation. And we have to give it the attention it deserves.”
“I don’t want to get a reputation for this that folks aren’t going to want to come here, because of parking; and, they have to walk three-quarters of a mile to get to the amphitheater, or whatever it is,” Solis said.
Dollak said a future tweak in the ordinance could allow for a certain percentage of reserved spaces. He said the Property Owner’s Association (POA) can also help write the rules on parking specifications.
Additional bike parking for the splash pad area was requested by Commissioner Heth Kendrick and Commissioner Dave Johnson requested a review of a rope railing being replaced by a fence as a preventive measure against possible falls into the river channel.
It’s expected that both amenities should open about the same time as the restaurant row, amphitheater and wedding chapel in the summer of 2018.
“The outlook for 2017, looks like a lot of construction at The River Walk; a whole lot of construction,” said Dollak.