Five U.S. presidents will be in the Park Cities this week for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The list includes the center’s namesake; his three living predecessors, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter; as well as his successor, Barack Obama.
“The world’s eyes will be on our community that day,” SMU vice president Brad Cheves said.
Thursday’s dedication is open only to invited guests, but traffic all over the Park Cities will be affected.
“We’ve been working very closely with SMU to make sure we have blanket coverage,” University Park spokesman Steve Mace said.
In University Park, street closures are scheduled for various times. SMU will continue regular classes during the day, so DART passes and shuttle services will be issued to the faculty, staff, and students who are required to move their vehicles.
Those who live and work east of Central Expressway are being advised to use Greenville Avenue instead of the highway Wednesday through Friday.
Residents closer to the Bush Center are asked to be patient with setup noise throughout the week. On Thursday evening, SMU will host a private event featuring a seven-minute fireworks display.
“We believe the inconvenience is a small price to pay to help support and celebrate the opening,” Cheves said.
For neighbors to the south, the logistics are slightly different.
“We’re not anticipating any actual road closures in Highland Park,” director of town services Ronnie Brown said. “If barricades are requested [by the Department of Public Safety], we’ll set those up.”
Instead, a “no parking zone” bounded by Mockingbird Lane to the north, Hillcrest Avenue to the west, Cornell Avenue to the south, and Airline Road to the east will go into effect. Signs marking the area will go up Tuesday afternoon and come down on Friday evening, Brown estimated.
Windshield notices and courtesy letters have gone out to residents, along with two parking permits. The Highland Park Department of Public Safety will also use emails to keep residents up to speed.
On Thursday, Highland Park police will be at two intersections — Airline and Mockingbird, and Bishop Boulevard and Mockingbird. Public works officials will be at the 12 affected intersections south of Mockingbird to serve as road monitors.
Highland Park ISD spokeswoman Helen Williams said she has announced the street closures via the district’s e-newsletter and has two more emails planned to keep parents informed.
In addition to traffic flow changes, University Park and Highland Park are working with police officers from Cedar Hill, Farmers Branch, and Dallas to ensure the safety of attendees and residents in case of an emergency. The North Texas Tollway Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation are working on signage to guide drivers arriving via Central and the Dallas North Tollway.
“Everybody feels really good about the collaboration,” SMU spokesman Kent Best said.