Confederate monuments remained a hot topic around Dallas this week, along with trains and sex education. Meanwhile, the city is considering handing off the Mort to an outside agency.
Here's what happened in Dallas city news this week:
Confederate statuary in downtown Dallas is one step closer to being removed.
Two weeks after the Dallas City Council voted to disassemble and remove the Confederate Memorial in Pioneer Park near the convention center, the Dallas Landmark Commission approved a demolition permit at its March 6 meeting.
Landmark heard the case because the monument lies in a historic district. The vote is the next step in the ongoing drama to remove Confederate art.
Now, there is a 30-day waiting period for the decision to be appealed to the City Plan Commission before anything can happen. The monument is likely to be removed and stored at Hensley Field in West Dallas.
The monument was installed in 1897 and moved to Pioneer Cemetery in 1961 when Interstate 30 was constructed.
In 2017, Mayor Mike Rawlings created a task force to look at Confederate art and symbols in Dallas. The task force recommended adding more explanation and context to Confederate markers at Fair Park and the removal of the Confederate memorial at Pioneer Park.
Privatizing the Mort
The Meyerson Symphony Center could be the next building turned over for private management, allowing for faster repairs to the concert hall with leaks and cracks.
For the last five years, the list of needed repairs has grown, with maintenance issues and damage being traced from water-stained ceiling tiles to ripples in the carpet. But receiving bond money for repairs has been a slow process.
On March 7, the City of Dallas held a public hearing to receive comments on giving the Dallas Symphony Orchestra management and operations responsibilities to repair and preserve the Meyerson.
Other privatized facilities in the city include the Arboretum, zoo, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, and Fair Park.
The next meeting is set for March 21.
Dallas ISD's board of trustees passed a new comprehensive sex education program, marking the first curriculum overhaul to provide a unified education across grade levels. The new curriculum will include education on abstinence, communication skills, contraception, and preventing sexually transmitted infections.
Texas has the highest teen birth rate in Texas, and sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in people ages 15-25 in Dallas County, affecting African American and Latino communities the most.
Cotton Belt updates
DART is holding a series of community meetings to review the progress of the Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project. Members of the Design-Pre-construction Management Team will be on hand to outline the latest developments and answer questions.
DART, in cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess the impacts and benefits of passenger rail service on the 26-mile long Cotton Belt Corridor from DFW International Airport to Plano.
Presentations during these meetings will include:
- Updated alignment drawings showing track configurations, final grade separations (bridges), and station locations
- An overview of the Design-Builder's early design and construction schedule
- A description of pre-construction equipment and processes to be used along the alignment
- Identification of contacts for FAQs and community concerns.
Community meetings are as follows:
- Thursday, March 21, 7 pm: Parkhill Junior High School Cafeteria, 16500 Shadybank Dr., Dallas
- Thursday, March 28, 6:30 pm: Richardson Civic Center, 411 West Arapaho Rd.
- Tuesday, April 2, 6:30 pm: Element by Westin - Dallas/Fort Worth Airport North, 3550 W. IH 635, Irving
- Wednesday, April 3, 6:30 pm: Addison Conference Center, 15650 Addison Rd.