City News Roundup

Secret garden sprouting downtown and more of this week's newsy tidbits

Secret garden sprouting downtown and more of this week's newsy tidbits

My Furry Valentine
More parks are coming to downtown Dallas. Photo by Renato Rimach Photography
Sam's Club rendering
Before a Sam's Club can be built, demolition will occur. Photo courtesy of Trammell Crow
Trinity River toll road rendering
There's a survey going around about the Trinity toll road, but it isn't being made public. Photo courtesy of Trinity River Corridor Project
My Furry Valentine
Sam's Club rendering
Trinity River toll road rendering

There's another park being plotted for downtown, and two Dallas City Council candidates already are getting the side-eye. These are the highlights from news around Dallas this week:

Secret park
The Belo Foundation revealed that it has been secretly buying land for a proposed park near the Dallas Farmers Market. Harwood Park would occupy 3.8 acres bound by Jackson Street on the north, Harwood Street on the west and Young Street on the south. Part of Wood Street would be closed and donated by the city. Chairman Robert Decherd is quoted as saying that the Belo Foundation "is dedicated to the continuing transformation of downtown Dallas with the addition of more green space."

Huh, wasn't it the Belo Foundation that erected a 12-foot "wall of spite" along the edge of its other park, Belo Garden, which wasn't much appreciated by its neighbors? A park, by the by, whose dreary design has always seemed barren and unfriendly. Belo is also responsible for the even more forlorn Lubben Plaza Park, a walled-in collection of oversized sculptures that probably look good from the upper floors of the Belo high-rise next-door, but are foreboding for a pedestrian. These are not people who get urban parks.

Public debate on parks
The Dallas Park and Recreation Department is holding a series of community meetings to share ideas for future recreational programs and facilities. The forums are part of the department's initial steps in developing a recreation master plan as well as updating its overall comprehensive strategy known as the Renaissance Plan. The public can attend any of four meetings, which take place February 4-5, from 6-7 pm, at these City of Dallas recreation centers:

  • Wednesday, February 4, at Martin Luther King Jr., 2901 Pennsylvania Ave.; and Fretz, 6950 Belt Line Rd.
  • Thursday, February 5, at Nash-Davis 3710 N. Hampton Rd.; and Pleasant Oaks, 8701 Greenmound Rd.

Candidate qualms
Two candidates for Dallas City Council seats who both previously worked for Mayor Mike Rawlings already are facing scrutiny over matters involving residence and compensation.

Adam McGough, running for District 10 against Paul Reyes, has an unusual residence scenario, involving his living in one place and his wife living in another, apparently so he could run for office but also have his kids attend school in Highland Park. He tried to half-explain it to the Lake Highlands Advocate, but his evasiveness kinda makes things worse. He's offered to give people one-on-one explanations, but doesn't that seem unwieldy? Let's deluge him with requests for one-on-ones.

Sam Merten, running in District 9, received $10,000 from Rawlings, and two conflicting explanations have emerged. Merten claimed it was "additional compensation" for his work with the city that the mayor decided to provide. But Rawlings says it comes from campaign funds and lists it as "consulting." Merten also just moved to the district; the other candidates have greater longevity.

Toll road survey
The Texas attorney general's office has ruled that the North Texas Tollway Authority doesn't have to make public the results of a $1.7 million study it conducted of the traffic impact and revenue situation of the Trinity Parkway. As former city council person Angela Hunt speculates, if the news were good, they would surely share it. So their reluctance to share it probably means it doesn't support an argument to build it.

Sunday morning shutdown
This is implosion weekend, when Trammell Crow demolishes the former Xerox/ACS building at 75 near Haskell Avenue, on the plot of land where they intend to build a Sam's Club. They predict there will be a "loud, albeit brief, series of explosions and noise as the building collapses, as well as a temporary dust cloud in the immediate vicinity." Nearby residents should close their windows and outside vents, turn off their heating/AC for 30 minutes and bring their pets indoors.

Beginning at 7:30 am, all transportation channels will be shut down: DART trains, bus service, even the freeway itself will be shut down, in both directions. The actual implosion is scheduled for February 1 at 8 am, and the aftermath will probably last at least 15 minutes.