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Dallas gets fat EPA grant for 3 sites including former Jim's Car Wash

Dallas gets fat EPA grant for 3 sites including former Jim's Car Wash

Jim's Carwash MLK
Jim's Car Wash was closed by the city who claimed it was contributing to crime when data shows it was the opposite. Google Maps

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the city of Dallas a $600,000 grant designated for the revitalization of the South Dallas/Fair Park area.

Three specific sites in Dallas have been chosen, including a former car wash that was closed down by the city in 2019 in a controversial move.

The grant is called a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant. A "brownfield" is a property whose expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. According to the EPA website, there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S.

The grant's goals include increasing property values and tax revenue.

The three areas in Dallas include:

  • the 377-acre Fair Park campus with the Ford Assembly Plant, city-owned property on Oak Lane, and surrounding neighborhoods
  • the 72-acre neighbhorhood surrounding St. Phillips School and Community Cener, with auto repair shops on Pennsylvania Ave., Proctor and Gamble industrial complex, and derelict retail buildings on Holmes Street
  • the 2-mile-long MLK Corridor with Historic Ford Theater and the former Jim’s Car Wash on MLK Jr. Boulevard

Jim's Car Wash is the business targeted for 15 years by the city of Dallas, which claimed it fostered crime in the area, despite evidence to the contrary, and eventually shut it down.

A city-led coalition will oversee the grant funds; coalition members include The Real Estate Council (TREC) Foundation, St. Phillips School and Community Center, and the Lone Star Justice Alliance (LSJA).

It is anticipated the grant will be available for use by October 2020.

"With signature spaces like Victory Plaza and thousands of acres of redeveloped properties, Dallas has shown that great things can start with a Brownfields grant from EPA," says Ken McQueen, EPA Regional Administrator for Region 6. "This grant will provide more opportunities to revitalize derelict properties and reinvest in local communities."

In a statement, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson calls it a wise investment.

"I look forward to the positive impact these new federal dollars will have on communities with brownfield sites ready for cleanup and redevelopment," she says. "I also congratulate the Brownfields Assessment Coalition for working together on this effort and securing this EPA grant that is critical to cleaning up our environment and creating the necessary conditions to further draw new businesses and people to our community."

Dallas was one of three cities in Texas to receive a grant.

Fort Worth also received a grant in the sum of $300,000, which will go towards "assessment," focused on the Southside neighborhood, with a priority on the 2.9-acre Alice Street Silos site, which contains approximately 90 grain silos that operated from 1925 until 2000; and a dilapidated and vacant former recreation facility.

The third Texas grant was $600,000 awarded to the El Paso Downtown Management District.