The Dallas City Council is back after a break through the holidays, with bonds to delay and neighborhoods to scrape. There's also an opportunity to see your mayor in action. Here's what happened in Dallas news this week:
No streets for you
A majority of the city council voted to delay a bond referendum that would have fixed Dallas streets. Scheduled for May, the referendum will be voted on in November instead.
Pushing for the delay, Mayor Mike Rawlings claimed that Dallas' fiscal shape was a higher priority. But Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze speculates that there’s another agenda, quoting Rawlings who said, "I have been in really close contact with those financial supporters that have traditionally raised money for this, and they said they will not be supporting this in May." Fixing our streets doesn't offer the same profit potential as bonds for toll roads.
Fair Park plans
A number of suitors have offered proposals for the rehabilitation of Fair Park. After a plan to hand off the task to a Park Cities conclave was found to be illegal, the process was opened to the public. At least two parties expressed interest, including local developer Monte Anderson, and an unidentified international group.
West Dallas gentrification
A coalition of landlords is suggesting a new approach to deal with West Dallas, where gentrification looms. HMK, the Kraish family; Topletz Properties, led by Dennis Topletz; and First Orion Properties, led by John Carney, propose that poor neighborhoods be stabilized so that they can stay in the area, while new residents move in. The result would increase mixed-income and diverse communities in Dallas.
The developers for Trinity Groves are OK with it, and so are the residents of West Dallas. There's no sign as to whether Mayor Rawlings will give the idea a shot. But meanwhile, Democratic state Rep. Eric Johnson intends to propose a bill that can protect low-income homeowners in West Dallas from climbing property taxes.
See your Mayor
Following a disappointing holiday shopping season, department store Macy's announced it will close up to 68 stores in 2017, including the Macy's at Southwest Center Mall, formerly the Redbird Mall, which will close in the spring. In a show of support, Mayor Mike Rawlings will join Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Erik Wilson and Council Member Casey Thomas on Saturday at 10 am at the mall when owner Peter Brodsky will give a community update. The Macy's at the Collin Creek Mall in Plano is also closing at the same time.
Jan Pruitt RIP
Jan Pruitt, former president and CEO of the Texas Food Bank, died on January 2; she was 63. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and left her job in December to spend time with family. Services will be held at First United Methodist at 1928 Ross Ave. on January 7 at 2:30 pm.