The coronavirus is not keeping news from happening in the city of Dallas, including a controversial soccer park being proposed and a vote by the Dallas City Council on property taxes.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Soccer park tabled
At its May 27 meeting, the Dallas City Council voted to postpone a decision on whether to approve the building of a private soccer complex under a freeway overpass.
The complex is being proposed for a strip of land underneath I-345. It's complicated for a few reasons:
- I-345, which runs from I-30 to Woodall Rogers, is already a touchy topic. Some people suggest it be demolished completely. Installing a soccer complex could complicate that outcome.
- Putting a soccer complex underneath a freeway is a potential health hazard.
- The ownership of the land is complicated. It's owned by the city but since it's under a freeway, the land would need to be handed over to TxDOT.
- The contract would be for Roddrick West, son of State Senator Royce West, who is on the Texas State Senate Transportation Committee and who is opposed to tearing down I-345.
- The contract was not put out for competing bids.
The City Council delayed the decision, postponing it until August, after they come back from their summer break.
The Dallas City Council approved the first climate plan, official name Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan, official acronym CECAP, which is awful. A release from the city says that the CECAP will ensure the city is taking necessary steps to overcome environmental challenges and make Dallas a global leader in addressing environmental issues.
The plan has a long to-do list that includes: all new DART and school buses must be fully electric by 2030; the tree canopy must cover 40 percent of Dallas by 2050; and parks or trails must be accessible within a mile to nearly all Dallas residents by 2050.
The plan was developed after two rounds of community meetings, more than 180 individual meetings with community groups, and surveys with more than 9,000 comments.
At its same May 27 meeting, the council voted against even talking about raising property taxes. The resolution they voted on would have asked the county to calculate the revenue if property taxes were raised by 8 percent. For the average homeowner, that represents about $150, and city manager T.C. Broadnax warned that "there will have to be a day of reckoning when it comes to services." City staff will soon have to present a a new budget for 2020/2021.
The City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture received a $50,000 grant from the National Park Service (NPS) to research and interpret the historic legacy of the Hall of Negro Life from the 1936 Texas Centennial Celebration at Fair Park.
In a statement, council member Adam Bazaldua said it's the second time in less than a year that Dallas' contribution to African American History has been highlighted and supported on a national level.
"This funding from our country's National Park Service will certainly jump start efforts to educate our community about the Hall of Negro Life, and it is a direct recommendation of the Task Force that examined how we tell our history," Bazaldua says. "Better interpretation of important stories like this one – about the legacy of the 1936 Hall of Negro Life – will help tell a fuller history of Dallas, and specifically Fair Park."