This roundup of Dallas city news includes a voter registration drive, a vote mural, a homeless center expansion, and a park in downtown Dallas that broke ground.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Austin Street Center
A new campus is in the works for Austin Street Center, the homeless shelter. A $15 million capital campaign chaired by Megan Burkhart at Comerica Incorporated will fund a 60,000-square-foot, 2.3-acre campus, scheduled to break ground in late 2020. The new facility will allow Austin Street Center to:
- Expand medical and mental health care services
- Establish Dallas’ first Medical Respite Program in partnership with Texas Health Resources
- Increase its education and employment service offerings
- Bolster its case management services that lead to faster, permanent housing placements
Austin Street Center was founded in 1983 solely as a shelter. Today, the focus has shifted to helping homeless find permanent homes. In the past fiscal year, more than 214 clients have found a permanent home with Austin Street's support. Beyond helping the homeless, their work saves money, since it costs about $40,000 per year per homeless person.
Austin Street Center has received more than 28 gifts totaling more than $11.4 million from generous North Texas companies, individuals, foundations and organizations alike, with a start of $3.5 million in lead gifts. Visit www.austinstreet.org/campaign to learn more or make a gift.
Another downtown park
Construction began on the renovation of Carpenter Park, across from the DART East Transfer Station at Pacific Avenue and Pearl Street. It was originally dedicated as a park in 1981, although up until now it's mostly been a swath of grass with a rusting metal wall jutting out onto the sidewalk that was actually a sculpture called Portal Park Piece (Slice). You can tell it's art because of the parentheses.
When it reopens in 2022, it will have: play area for dogs, basketball court, interactive fountain, kids' space, gardens, and walking paths. And good news, Portal Park Piece (Slice) has been reconceptualized and will be installed under the new name Portal Park Slice. Uh-oh, no parentheses.
This is the third and largest of four planned downtown parks to be constructed, the other three being Pacific Plaza, West End Square, and Harwood Park.
The nonprofit Parks For Downtown Dallas predicts it will serve as a "vibrant connection point between Downtown and Deep Ellum." Hard to say. It'll definitely be pretty to gaze down upon as you drive across I-345 above it — which seems like the perspective of the people who design all of these downtown parks.
A vendor has been selected by the city to remove Shingle Mountain, a massive, illegal pile of used shingles left behind by Blue Star Recycling which formed a toxic mountain in southeast Dallas. Estimates to get rid of the mountain ran as high as $2 million; the city chose the lowest bid of $450,000. The City Council will vote on the contract on October 13.
Uptown Dallas vote mural
Uptown Dallas Inc., the public improvement organization of the Uptown District, is on a mission to register voters and encourage the community to vote. To that end, they've installed a large VOTE decal to the wall between Uptown Station and The Rustic. They're also showing movies every Monday in Griggs Park, beginning November 2, the day before the election, when they'll screen Swing Vote, a comedy featuring Kevin Costner where the entire U.S. presidential election is determined by his vote.
Dallas Love Field
The airport has extended the deadline for input on the Alternate Entry Public Input Survey until October 31. The airport currently has a single point of entry at Mockingbird Lane and Herb Kelleher Way. The Department of Aviation has coordinated with a consultant firm and the North Central Texas Council of Governments and used research-various analyses-passenger surveys blah blah blah. Anyway, if you still want to offer your 2 cents, the survey in English is at bit.ly/AEA_EN; in Spanish at bit.ly/AEA_ES.
On Saturday October 3 from 10 am-2 pm, Teach For America DFW alumni will lead a volunteer-run voter registration drive event in Southern Dallas at Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School. This event is the culmination of the teachers' week-long efforts to emphasize the importance of voter registration, especially with the deadline to register being Monday October 5. Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School is at 7475 J J Lemmon Rd., Dallas 75241.