Dallas saw the resolution of three hotly debated issues in the past few weeks, thanks to some proactive residents, lobbyists, and two celebrity cameos. There was lots of news regarding one of our favorite topics: transportation.
Here are the biggest city news stories from the past week:
Lakewood Theater on hold
Residents trying to stop further development of the Lakewood Theater got a victory on September 8 when the Dallas Landmark Commission voted to start the process of making the building a historical landmark. The status of the theater is now on hold until that landmark status is designated. Co-owner Craig Kinney told NBC that he and partner Bill Willingham intend to save the landmark portions of the building.
DCC OK DART D2 B4
A second DART rail line being planned for the south side of downtown now has a route recommended by the Dallas City Council. Proponents say that adding a second line through downtown will improve service by increasing the capacity and flexibility of the entire system.
The original "D2" line, called B4 or the Young alignment, was designed to run along Young Street to Deep Ellum. But property owners along Young Street, including the Farmers Market and First Presbyterian Church, objected. The modified route approved by the city council juts over to Jackson and is called the Modified B4 or Jackson alignment.
The downside of the Jackson alignment is that it might affect renovations for the Statler hotel and the Continental apartment building. The route will be voted on by the DART board on September 22. Its deadline to submit applications for federal funding is September 30.
Downtowners created a big push, including polished-looking and surely not inexpensive printed banners urging Farmers Market stakeholders to "SHOW UP!" at the city council meeting.
I-345 not so bad
The much-debated I-345 highway between 45 and 75 isn't going to cost that much to repair after all. TxDOT originally budgeted that it would cost $184.5 million to fix but has determined that, never mind, it'll only cost $30.5 million. Engineers say they will only have to strengthen the bridge, not replace sections of it.
The Dallas City Council voted to keep pumping money into the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center by renewing a long-term contract giving the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau 30 percent of the city's hotel occupancy tax until at least 2020. Council members Mark Clayton, Philip Kingston, and Scott Griggs wanted to delay the decision until after the budget is resolved on October 1. Mayor Mike Rawlings said that people are too negative about the DCVB.
DCVBers created a big push, including getting namesake Kay Bailey Hutchison to show up at a city council meeting.
In an odd revoting on something it already voted on, the Dallas City Council voted to approve a deal at Dallas Love Field. Two weeks ago, it voted against giving developer Randall Reed permission to redo the old Braniff building, requesting that the Aviation Department submit competitive proposals.
But council member Monica Alonzo asked for another vote. Guess that's all it takes for the council to vote twice on the same topic? Last time, she voted against Reed's project, which will include a charter jet hangar, car dealership, and office complex. This time she voted for it. Whyever?
The Observer suggests the big push has something to do with Reed's hiring former city council member and City Hall lobbyist Steve Salazar. "People hire him to get stuff done for them at City Hall," says writer Jim Schutze. "What kind of stuff? Well, his sub-specialization is getting Monica Alonzo to do stuff."