Eric Nicholson over at The Dallas Observer had a funny, tongue-in-cheek column yesterday about the skybridge battle for Preston Center. Which by the way just got unanimous approval TODAY for all four variances from the Dallas Board of Adjustment. I think the point was to poke fun at a U.S.D.A. map which purportedly shows that Preston Hollow has “low access” to supermarkets and hence healthful foods. That would mean that former Mayor Laura Miller lacks this access and has certainly suffered over there on Dentwood. I know we sure suffered when we were on Park. Typical government bureaucracy, the maps do not take into account that parts of Preston Hollow consist of large, affluent estates with one home per acre. Or, in the case of Tom Hicks, one home per 25.25 acres.
Indeed, the city is in a fight to get grocery stores in neighborhoods. And check out this nifty USDA map classifying a large swath of Preston Hollow as having “low access” to a supermarket and the healthful food therein. And according to the USDA, such a barrier“may negatively affect diet and food security.”
Then Eric shows that he obviously does not do the shopping in his family:
We have no idea why the map doesn’t seem to count the Tom Thumb in the Plaza at Preston Center, just across the street from the proposed skybridge, or the Minyard’s Sun Fresh Market (formerly Alberton’s ) at Midway and Northwest Highway, which are both within a mile of most of the pink area. Plus, farther north along Preston Road are two more Tom Thumbs, a Whole Foods and a Central Market that are just a short Beemer drive away from Preston Center. The point is, the neighborhood is officially in the same boat as Pleasant Grove, most of Northwest Dallas and parts of Oak Cliff:
We all know it most certainly is not in the same boat. They need more grocery stores in Pleasant Grove, Northwest Dallas and Oak Cliff, but they don’t get them because of two things: lack of affluent people to BUY at those stores, and crime. Kind of hard to turn a profit when shoppers don’t buy and shoplifters steal your goods, which is what I’m told happens downtown. Oh and try getting insurance! That’s why we have more grocery stores in Preston Hollow and the northern stretch of Dallas south of LBJ than probably any other Dallas neighborhood, with Lakewood coming in right behind: we can fill those stores with people who have the means to buy what’s in them.
For your information, Eric, the Minyard’s at Northwest Highway and Midway is NOT within a mile of the area. It’s probably more like 4 or 5. And have you ever been on Northwest Highway at 5 o’clock? It’s our mid-town cross-town expressway. It’s what the proponents of the I-345 tear-down want to see happen in downtown Dallas: use local streets. Us ’em and abuse ’em. Northwest Highway is a regular route for many who wish to avoid LBJ. That’s one reason why I seldon use the Tom Thumb across from NorthPark.
Eric, here is how it works: you need to stop at the store for milk, bread, olive oil and maybe some curry for the recipe you are making for dinner. One or both of the kids has practice somewhere and you are in a time bind. No way in hell you have time to drive all the way over to Midway and Northwest Highway to run in and grab 5 or 6 items, which we all know are going to end up being 10 or 12. And there will be a line. You would never make it in time for pick-up. Now you may stop at Minyards when you are in the area, say for a kid’s birthday party. Or if that store is within 1 mile of your home and you live there.
Yes, there is a Tom Thumb at Preston center Plaza, behind Park Cities Baptist Church. It’s a small but mighty Tom Thumb, and I have picked up everything from tampons to flowers there. But if I have a dinner party, I just want a little more choice in the produce department. Don’t get me wrong, they have a perfectly fine produce department, but I have become accustomed by the grocery retail mecca around me to expect at least three rows of spanking fresh produce to linger over even if I am just buying three items for a tossed salad. I mean, I MIGHT want to throw some pomegranate seeds in.
What I’m saying Eric, is that one store doesn’t cut it all. Like today I stopped at Trader Joe’s at Walnut Hill & Central. I was in the area, I wanted their milk and yogurt, but I need odor-blocking kitchen garbage bags, Tide and waxed paper — Trader Joe’s does not carry this. So it’s heigh-ho off to Tom Thumb we go later. I tend to buy fresh veggies at Whole Foods and Central Market, I think they taste better. Am I in my car doing all this? Yes, of course.
Now let’s say rents go up and the developers decide they need something else there, like the owners of Highland Park Village did when they brought in Blue Door. Regardless of what you think about the skybridge, I think a 50,000 square foot grocery superstore is great for the area.
If not a supermarket, what else would you like to see here? Retail?
Personally, I really miss Foleys…