Budget talks for the city of Dallas are underway, with citizens offered a chance to meet their council members in person. Trains were in the news, and so were local videos and city logos. These are the high points of city news in Dallas this week:
Discussions about the budget began this week with a painful discovery about the city's street repair situation. At the city council meeting on August 19, confusion reigned over exactly how much money is being allocated towards street repair, and where it's coming from.
To get the streets right again, the city needs to spend $900 million. That won't be happening this year. To stop the worst deterioration, city staff requested $16.7 million, but then asked for another $7.3 million at the meeting.
"We need $121 million just to avoid our streets getting worse," noted city council member Scott Griggs. "This crisis is getting critical. Deferred maintenance has caught up to us."
High speed rail
The notoriously silly North Central Texas Council of Governments has set in motion a project to develop high speed rail that would connect to the Fort Worth-to-Houston line when it opens "and could eventually offer access to a third corridor stretching from Oklahoma to South Texas."
The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) approved the expenditure of $4.5 million for planning, design, project development and preliminary engineering. The money will come from the Regional Toll Revenue funding account.
This is not the previously planned privately-funded high-speed rail being developed by Texas Central to run between Dallas and Houston. This would be a high speed speed train linking Fort Worth to Houston and other metropolitan areas in Texas, because "the North Central Texas Council of Governments continues to play a role in planning activities." They still matter!
The train would ostensibly make it easier for riders from Fort Worth, even though the Trinity Railway Express already covers that route. Facebook commentator Wylie H Dallas calls it "possibly the single dumbest, most wasteful idea yet. High speed rail operates at speeds in excess of 150 mph. Running such a line between Dallas & Ft. Worth, with a stop in Arlington is just bizarre and wasteful."
Historical Lakewood Theater
The owners of the Lakewood Theater were ordered to halt renovation until the city can determine the building's historical significance. Construction crews were spotted throwing theater seats into a dumpster. The theater will now be evaluated by the Landmark Commission to determine if it merits historic landmark status.
The peak of the arch was installed on the Margaret McDermott Bridge, aka the I-30 bridge. The piece, which weighs 192 tons, was raised by jacks in a 4-hour process that was compressed to a one-minute video by the Dallas Morning News. The arch is not functional; it's for decorative purposes only. The bridge will allow pedestrian and bicycle traffic in and out of downtown Dallas, the floodway and Oak Cliff.
Dallas Animal Services made a video to show the behind-the-scenes operations at the shelter. An adorable Papillon mix named Pattycakes is relinquished by her owners, examined, spayed and then adopted by new owners. DAS takes in more than 100 animals every day during the summer.
Meanwhile, the city is working on a branding campaign, including an update to its 43-year-old logo of a stripey blue D with a tree in the middle. The alternative would be the D with the star cut-out used by the Dallas Visitors & Convention Bureau, but Frontburner offered a forum for alternate alternatives.