City News Roundup
This roundup of news around Dallas includes a proposal for what to do about the I-345 freeway, and another proposal for the Longhorn Ballroom, which needs money from Dallas to execute. A festive downtown event is making a comeback, but so is a scam perpetrated on Dallas water utilities customers. There's a new garden in the works, as well as a community center in Deep Ellum.
Lots to catch up on, here's what happened in Dallas this week:
I-345 highway hybrid
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has settled on a "Refined Hybrid" plan for I-345, the freeway that divides downtown Dallas from Deep Ellum. It would bury the freeway in a trench (similar to US-75), with at-grade streets and bridges, providing opportunities for decking caps, parks, or commercial development. It was one of five options they considered. The Dallas City Council will vote on the Refined Hybrid design on November 8.
Deep Ellum community center
Deep Ellum is creating a community and cultural center that would house Deep Ellum nonprofits, history exhibits, incubator space, podcast center, conference room, workshops, and neighborhood walking tours. They've leased a space at 2528A Elm St. where during September they will set up camp on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 am-4 pm to accept donations and loans of Deep Ellum artifacts. They're looking for items of historical or sentimental value that tell a piece of Deep Ellum's story, for a project called "Deep Ellum Lost & Found," and welcome anything dated from 1873-2022.
Longhorn Ballroom plan
There's a proposal for Dallas' landmark Longhorn Ballroom to turn it into a performance venue with indoor and outdoor options. The overall cost would be $14.3 million, but they want $4 million in subsidies from the city of Dallas, which is maybe why they delivered the story to the Dallas Morning News to do their bidding. The plan would involve an outdoor venue holding 2,000-5,000 people and an inside venue holding 1,000-1,500, similar to the capacity of other venues in town such as House of Blues, Studio at The Factory, Lava Cantina, Legacy Hall, Grandscape, and more. No shortage of venues that size, but the Longhorn is old and people are willing to pay $$ for nostalgia.
Dallas Water Utilities fraud
Dallas Water Utilities has issued an advisory that fraudsters are again making fraudulent phone calls and sending text messages in both English and Spanish from a phone number claiming to be from DWU. The phone number appears as 214-651-1441, which is the actual DWU Customer Service main number, so you can see where it would be confusing. The calls try to trick people into make a "payment" on their account. A first round of these fraudulent calls occurred in July 2022. What is going on with Dallas Water Utilities?
After a two-year hiatus, September 15 marks the comeback of another PARK(ing) Day, an event that shuts down Main Street so that schools, organizations, and businesses can transform metered parking spaces into artsy installations. It's part of an international movement that champions the need for public space. The Dallas event is centered around Pegasus Park, at 1500 Main St. and takes place from 11 am-6 pm.
New public garden
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Texas Discovery Gardens are launching the Food and Pollinator Learning Garden at Texas Discovery Gardens, funded by the NRCS People's Garden Initiative. It'll have 450 square feet of raised gardening beds and 2,500 square feet of circulation and gathering space for classes and demonstrations centered around the importance of pollinators and food crops. Why not flip it to 2,500 square feet of gardening beds and 450 feet for the gabbing and the demos?