This compilation of Dallas news, right before the holiday lull, is jam-packed and includes updates on the so-called Shingle Mountain, evictions in Dallas, a major mall in Plano, and a holy ceremony hosted by DART to usher in a new rail line.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
After nearly two years of litigation, the city was allowed to begin removing "Shingle Mountain," 98,000 tons of abandoned asphalt shingles at 9500 S. Central Expwy. According to a release, Roberts Trucking will move the shingle material to McCommas Bluff Landfill, which plans to recycle it. The removal is being supervised by Modern Geosciences to address environmental concerns, and is anticipated to be complete by the end of March 2021.
The city remains in litigation with the Blue Star Recycling, the company that put the shingles there in the first place.
The City of Dallas Office of Equity and Inclusion, in partnership with Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, is reminding residents of the Dallas Eviction Assistance Initiative program, which consists of education, training, and legal representation to Dallas renters who are negatively impacted by COVID-19 and cannot pay rent to remain in their homes.
The reminder comes because the federal moratorium on evictions comes to an end on December 31. But Dallas' program continues into 2021.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Must live in Dallas
- Must be at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines
- Must be negatively impacted by COVID-19
Apply for assistance by calling the Northwest Texas Legal Aid hotline at 1-888-529-5277 or visiting www.lanwt.org.
Collin Creek Mall
At its December 8 meeting, Plano's Planning and Zoning Commission approved a plan to take a plot of land along Alma Drive at Collin Creek Mall previously designated for a new JCPenney store and allow the owner to build apartments instead.
The owner is mega-developer Centurion American, aka Mehrdad Moayedi (Statler Dallas hotel, Braniff hotel), who wants to build up to 300 independent living units for seniors as well as up to 2,300 multifamily units. It's now up to the Plano City Council to sign off.
Demolition of the original Collin Creek Mall began in 2019. It'll be replaced by up to 3,100 new residential units, office, restaurants, and hotel.
Expand DISD teacher profile
Dallas ISD is partnering with the University of North Texas Dallas in an effort to recruit more males of color to teaching as a profession. It gives Dallas ISD students the opportunity after graduation to attend UNT Dallas and come back fully certified to teach at Dallas ISD schools. "Research shows that students who have teachers that look like them have higher rates of success," says John Vega, a deputy chief at DISD. Schools that are part of the program include Sunset High School, W.T. White High School, W.W. Samuel High School, and Lincoln High School, with Bryan Adams High School coming on board in fall 2021.
DART's holy incantation
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Archer Western Herzog (AWH) commemorated construction of the future Silver Line Regional Rail project with a "First Concrete Ceremony" on December 16. The event took place near the intersection of Preston Road and the Keller Springs Road, a mile northeast of the future Knoll Trail Station in Dallas.
According to a release, the ceremony included a long-held tradition by the Walsh Group, parent company of AWH, of placing "Miraculous Medals" in a project's first concrete pour. This is a Walsh Group tradition for more than six decades, so don't even think about not doing it. Cue the Gregorian chanting:
"The Miraculous Medal is an oval-shaped depiction of Mary according to Saint Catherine Laboure's vision. The gesture of placing Miraculous Medals symbolizes an inspiration to successfully complete the job safely and to make it as miraculous as the Medal itself."
The $1.2 billion Silver Line will be a 26-mile project crossing seven cities between DFW Airport, Grapevine, Coppell, Dallas, Carrollton, Addison, Richardson and Plano, and includes 10 new stations. It's scheduled to debut in 2023 — and now with Mary's blessing.
Dallas developer Crow Holdings, in partnership with the Texas Trees Foundation and the City of Dallas, planted 50 trees at Dallas' Walnut Hill Park at 10011 Midway Rd. on December 4.
"The destruction from last year's tornado to the tree canopy transformed neighborhoods and parks, but not for the good. More than 700 mature trees were lost at Dallas city parks in 2019, and it would take 5,200 new trees to replace them. Thanks to Crow Holdings, we are 100 trees closer to reaching our goal," said Janette Monear, CEO at the Texas Trees Foundation.
US attorney resigns
Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, is resigning from the Department of Justice. She was appointed by Donald Trump and had been in that office since November 2017. Some of her high-profile cases include corruption charges against former Dallas City Council members Dwaine Caraway and Carolyn Davis, and Larry Duncan, former board president of Dallas County Schools.
Her last day will be January 8, 2021; gotta get those holiday benefits. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah will assume the role of Acting U.S. Attorney.