City News Roundup
Dallas parks and tragic police shooting lead this round of city news
UPDATE 9-9-2018: Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, 30, was arrested on September 9 on a manslaughter warrant in the shooting of Botham Shem Jean. According to a release from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Guyger was booked into the Kaufman County Jail, where she posted a bond of $300,000 and was expected to be released.
This week in Dallas, a tragic shooting took place involving a Dallas police officer. The city's plan to privatize Fair Park moved a step forward. And the public is being invited by the Trinity Park Conservancy to a series of public workshops on the proposed Harold Simmons Park.
Here’s what happened in Dallas this week.
On September 6, at about 10 pm, a Dallas police officer was involved in a shooting at her apartment building at 1210 S. Lamar Blvd. The officer told 911 that she entered another apartment believing it was her own. Shortly after entering, she shot the resident, Botham Shem Jean, 26, who was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.
Dallas Police Chief Rene Hall held a press conference on September 7, and announced that, following a blood test for drugs or alcohol, a warrant had been issued for the police officer on the charge of manslaughter. Hall also called on the Texas Rangers to conduct an independent investigation.
Jean was a native of the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia and a graduate of Harding University in Arkansas. He worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Downtown Dallas.
Fair Park future
The Dallas Park and Recreation board voted Thursday to move forward with a plan to place Fair Park under new management, creating what will hopefully be a turning point for the historical, but frequently vacant, urban space.
The management agreement would place the park under the care of a nonprofit called Fair Park First and, by extension, Spectra. Owned by Compact, Spectra oversees more than 300 properties — including 22 other fairgrounds — across the country.
Under the new agreement, which the council will vote upon on Wednesday, the city would oversee the contract and annual funding appropriation. The Fair Park First board would then be tasked with fundraising, supervision of subcontractors, community engagement, outreach, and historic preservation.
Spectra would oversee management and operations of fair park, implementations of Minority/Women Business Enterprise initiatives, and implementation of capital projects not funded by bond programs.
On the Fair Park First board sits Dan Biederman, who via Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, would update the Fair Park comprehensive plan and design and oversee programming of neighborhood initiatives. Biederman is lauded for transforming New York City's Bryant Park.
The council will vote on the plan on Sept. 12
Down by the river
Trinity Park Conservancy, the group behind Trinity River-centered projects like the Margaret McDermott suspension bridge and the dangerous and costly artificial rapids, is inviting the public to a series of public forums covering the first phase of the design process for Harold Simmons Park.
The massive proposed park is sandwiched between the Trinity's two levees, the Margaret McDermott bridge and Ronald Kirk bridge, and could one day be home to an urban space larger than New York's Central Park — but only if the funding is raised by next September.
It’s hard to say what the future holds for the 2,300-acre floodplain, considering the Trinity has fallen victim to opportunism and politics for more than 150 years. With any luck, something beneficial is hopefully coming to stay.
There are 10 forums total, running from September 14 through October 4. The full list is here.
Pay your tickets online
A new service launched by the Dallas Municipal Court allows residents to pay citations online, by phone, or even at 7-Eleven and Ace Cash Express locations. The service is intended to make it easier for residents to pay fines, although the process of paying at a retail location sounds easier said than done.
Residents hoping to pay their citation at a 7-Eleven or Ace Cash Express must first call 214-670-0109 and receive a special bar code to pay via email or text. That barcode is then used to make a payment — but there's a catch. Only cash is accepted at the retail locations.
The option to pay in person at a retail location gives residents 135 nearby locations to choose from; an expansion could bring that number up to 774.
Residents can pay online by visiting courts.dallascityhall.com and clicking the "payment options" button.
"We are providing a convenient way for residents to pay by phone or at a store in their neighborhood to avoid the downtown traffic and parking fees," says Gloria Lòpez Carter, Director of Court and Detention Services in a statement.