staffinvitefairpark28129Lutheran

NOTE NEW VENUE: KING OF GLORY LUTHERAN CHURCH, 6411 LBJ FREEWAY, NORTH SIDE ACCESS ROAD, WEST OF HILLCREST, EAST OF PRESTON ROAD

My husband often asks me about news from City Hall, how tax dollars are spent, things like that, because I am supposed to be the one “in the know”. He sticks to the grindstone of his daily (and nightly) professional life. He doesn’t have time to watch or read much more than headlines. So when he grilled me about the Fair Park plan that Mayor Rawlings has endorsed, I realized I didn’t have many answers for him.

Question: How much will this Park plan cost the city?

Answer: $21 million plus another $75 million in bond funds plus another $50m in bonds in 2020/2022

Question: What do we get for that?

Answer: That’s the management fee. They are going to re-vamp the existing buildings.

Question: Does the city make any money off the State Fair?

Answer: Doubtful. The State Fair contract (which lasts until 2024) would be assigned to the Foundation.  Any rental revenues would go to the Foundation.

Question: Can we fire the management of this new entity if they screw up?

Answer: There is a “Remediation Plan” if the Foundation doesn’t meet their TBD performance measurements.  BUT the plan doesn’t say firing, it says they’ll implement a plan to fix.  Hiring and firing resides with the Foundation. They kinda have a lot of power.

Question: Are they going to try to use Fair Park year round?

Answer: They say they’re looking to create a year-round venue. The Fair stays where it is.

Question: Are we getting a park?

Answer: No guarantee. They definitely have to PLAN for a park, but if they don’t feel they have enough money, they don’t have to build it.

Question: Then what are they using the money for?

Answer: “Expanding Fair Park staff and operations and maintenance; funding and creating new departments, including communication and donor relations; and funding new projects.”

The Foundation hereby commits to fully and completely support Fair Park as a public park, maintaining and managing the events, historic grounds and facilities, and grounds of Fair Park as a vibrant, year-round location for events, daily activities, cultural enrichment, and place for quiet enjoyment.

(See why I am so glad we are having a Panel Discussion tomorrow evening?)

Jo vs Kylo Ren

I did my best to use the force against Kylo Ren.

Huge Star Wars nerd that I am, I went to the special screening of The Force Awakens hosted by Keith’s Comics at Studio Movie Grill. Let’s just say that, if you’re a fan of the force, you’ll love this film. Big props to J.J. Abrams for doing right by the franchise. Last night, however, was pretty dang magical as a bunch of cosplayers showed up and whipped Padawans, Jedi, and Sith of all ages into a frenzy over the film’s opening.

Afterward, I wanted to take that magic home with me, maybe to a house that felt straight out of Episode VII. So I rounded up a list of five homes in Dallas-Fort Worth where the force is particularly strong. See for yourself:

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When we visited Tokyo a few years ago and our hosts told me about the indoor ski resort there, outskirts of Tokyo, I did not believe it until I saw the dome for Zaos, as I think it was called. Sure enough the Japanese loved to ski indoors. The indoor ski resort was on the way to the airport. Now I hear it may no longer exist. But that’s OK, because soon we will have own own little interior ski village in Grand Prairie.

And it’s not a little village, either: try a $215 million 350,000-square-foot indoor ski resort and a Hard Rock hotel. Does this mean we can ski in the middle of August?

Grand Prairie unveiled plans for a Grand Alps Resort and Hard Rock Hotel off Belt Line Road, north of Interstate 30 at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. The indoor ski resort — which includes a ski slope, ice climbing wall, luge track and winter play area — will include restaurants and specialty retail from Park City, Utah, and Vail, Colorado. Of course, we will need a place to buy ski hats and sunscreen!

Oh wait, indoors means we won’t actually NEED sunscreen!
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Would a Trulia-Zilllow merger be good for the Real Estate Business?
  
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My home has been standing since 1952, according to DCAD. In that time it has seen a cycle of haphazard “renovations,” including a rather embarrassing “remodel” of the home’s sole bathroom. My home didn’t come with the cute vintage Daltile in the many different colors of the rainbow, nor did it have one of those fun vanities with the cool scrollwork cutouts.

Instead, it had an ugly particleboard vanity from the 80s that had so many stains in the cabinets and drawers you really had to wonder what the previous owner was doing in there. The shower, well, it had jacked up tiles and ugly grout, and more caulk than San Francisco’s Tenderloin (see what I did there???).

But we loved the rest of the house. It had a great layout and big windows for a home of its size, and a much larger kitchen than most of the houses we’d seen. We were willing to see the bathroom as a project that we could get done in time. Despite the discolored linoleum, stained formica, and tarnished brass fixtures, it was still functional.

That was almost 7 years ago.

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I-345 MeetingDallas is a fascinating place to live right now. Downtown, urbanists are lobbying for the tear-down of a short but squirrely elevated highway they believe is choking urban living, creating a schism of disruption between neighborhoods and sucking up dirt that could be developed as housing units. Go north of the Park Cities to the junction of Preston Hollow and University Park, an entire neighborhood is battling MORE housing units: a proposed luxury, 220 unit apartment complex that would replace dilapidated, tired housing built in the 1950’s. “No” signs can be seen all the way north to Forest Lane, west to Midway Road. Homeowners with ranches valued from $300,000 to $3 million dollar plus estates are so worried about increased traffic, so protective of the peace of their neighborhood, they have hired a seasoned attorney to represent them before the Dallas Plan Commission. Even former mayor Laura Miller is piping in, demanding a new proxy City Councilman to replace the current proxy. East of Central Expressway, investors want to build a restaurant on park land at the northern end of White Rock Lake, just off Mockingbird Road. Though they are just “feeling out” the neighborhood before plowing ahead, most of the feedback has been pretty negative, especially in a neighborhood known for fiercely defending it’s urban lake. Two years ago this ‘hood battled a plan to mow a meadow called Winfrey Point and turn it into a commercial parking lot. Don’t mess with Lakewood. (more…)

Athena exteriorYou know all about the fracas Behind the Pink Wall, the “No” signs all over Preston Hollow. And you know that former Mayor Laura Miller (and former City Councilman Mitchell Rasanksy, both of whom live in Preston Hollow) have asked Jennifer Gates to get another proxy beside City Councilman Lee Kleinman because he isn’t “willing to listen enough” to homeowners who live up and down Northwest Highway who are concerned about increased traffic from this project, homeowners from as far away as Central and Midway Hollow. (more…)

4646 Chapel Hill Lake viewAs I was driving to the Mad hatters luncheon at The Dallas Arboretum last week, I passed by this house and stopped dead in my tracks on West Lawther Drive. In fact, it was the reason why I missed half of Jam Strimple’s fabulous fashion show. Entirely worth it. I was driving in front of 4646 Chapel Hill Road, one of the most beautifully situated homes in Dallas. Set on 1.03 acres, this home fronts on Chapel Hill but overlooks White Rock Lake with clear, 180-degree lake views. (more…)