Dallas

Everglade Park will be home to one community project to receive funding from the Dallas Neighborhood Vitality Grant Program (photo courtesy City of Dallas).

Which Dallas neighborhoods will receive grant dollars for community projects? What is holding many back from becoming homeowners in Dallas? We’ll look at that, plus see news on Opendoor’s newest round of funding and how it impacts North Texas in this week’s roundup of real estate news.

Sixteen Dallas Neighborhood Projects Receive City Funding

Sixteen projects across Dallas will receive Dallas Neighborhood Vitality Grant Program dollars this year to implement community improvements. (more…)

Tenth Street

In 2013, the nonprofit bcWORKSHOP hosted Neighborhood Stories events, including one in the Tenth Street community, where people wrote their hopes for and memories of their neighborhood (photo courtesy bcWORKSHOP)

Editor’s Note: Preserving the historic neighborhoods that have shaped Dallas should be a priority. But despite historic district designations, Black neighborhoods that were home to Dallasites before, during, and after redlining are seeing a troubling amount of demolitions of homes that, residents insist, would be saved if in other historic districts — predominately white historic districts — in the city.

Over the next weeks and months, we will be taking a look at two of those neighborhoods — Tenth Street, and Wheatley Place. Last week, we looked at three homes in immediate danger of demolition. This week, we look at one way the neighborhood is fighting back.

The lawsuit Tenth Street residents have filed against the City of Dallas does not mince words, nor does it pull punches.

“Tenth Street has historically been subject to de jure racial segregation by the City of Dallas,” it reads. “The City has a history of enforcing racial segregation in some neighborhoods by ordinance through direct decisions of its City Council.”

Much of this history is well-documented and comes courtesy of the government’s own record keeping. Redlining consigned Black families to specific sections of town, where the amenities and even necessities were not as robust as in white-only neighborhoods, if they existed at all.

1930-circa area description of Tenth Street by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (click to enlarge)

That history is something Jorge Jasso, a staff attorney with Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, can prove easily. Jasso and other attorneys at Legal Aid are representing the Tenth Street Residential Association in their suit against the city.

Jasso points to a 1930s Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (or HOLC) map that has been digitized by the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University that demonstrates the redlining that happened in Dallas.

To be clear, Tenth Street has been home to Black Dallasites for more than a century, and is one of the few remaining intact Freedmen’s towns in the nation. Settled by freed slaves after the Civil War, many of those families continue to hold on to the homes and land their newly-freed ancestors were undoubtedly proud to own.

The neighborhood’s genesis was in the 1880s, as it took shape south of the Trinity River in one of the few spots the Black community could own land. By now, the neighborhood would be considered the northeastern edge of Oak Cliff, bounded by Interstate 35, East Eighth Street, and Clarendon Drive.

Personal timestamps on a neighborhood map (photo courtesy bcWORKSHOP).

In 1944, the city designated the Tenth Street community a “Negro only” area. In 1947, the neighborhood was zoned for duplex and single-family residential use only.

But to add insult to injury, as desegregation became a drumbeat in the 1960s, construction of Interstate 35 was routed through the neighborhood. (more…)

historic

Photo courtesy Tenth Street Historic District

Editor’s Note: Preserving the historic neighborhoods that have shaped Dallas should be a priority. But despite historic district designations, Black neighborhoods that were home to Dallasites before, during, and after redlining are seeing a troubling amount of demolitions of homes that, residents insist, would be saved if in other historic districts — predominately white historic districts — in the city.

Today begins a look at two of those districts — Tenth Street, and Wheatley Place, where the Folk style, Victorian, and Craftsman houses that tell the stories of Dallas are felled by demolition crews at a rapid clip.

Robert Swann, to many, is the guy you go to when you want to learn about the Tenth Street Historic District. Swann, who has a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard, came back to Dallas and watched as the neighborhood declined.

In 2008, he began to look for a home in the historic neighborhood to buy — and when he found the vacant one he eventually purchased, he found that there were several heirs. That search touched off a personal quest to learn the history of the district.

So when Swann saw the irony in the fact that, during Black History Month, the City of Dallas demolished one house in the historically Black neighborhood on February 14, and had plans to demolish another house soon, he took to Facebook.

228 South Cliff (Photo courtesy Robert Swann)

“Apparently, Dallas celebrates Black History Month by demolishing homes in African American landmark districts,” he said, explaining that 228 South Cliff was demolished, and The William Smith House, located at 1105 E. Ninth St. was in danger. (more…)

electionsThe cutoff to file to run for the Dallas city council, Dallas mayor, and Dallas ISD trustee seats open was 5 p.m. Feb. 15, and with 64 people total filing paperwork for the May elections, there are two things we can tell you for certain: Some races will likely resemble the Thunderdome, and you’ll be needing to head to the polls twice, because some of these races will undoubtedly land in a runoff.

So who’s running? We’re providing a list below. Bear in mind this list is in alphabetical order, not the order they will appear on the ballot, because that is done by drawing and will happen in a few days.

The mayoral race has drawn 12 candidates — real estate developer Mike Ablon, Oak Cliff businessman Albert Black, Dallas city council member Scott Griggs, State Rep. Eric Johnson, former Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy, philanthropist Lynn McBee, civic leader Regina Montoya, Dallas resident, Heriberto Ortiz, Dallas resident Miguel Patino, environmentalist Stephen Smith, Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis, and former state representative Jason Villalba. Ortiz, Patino, and Smith’s petition signatures have not been qualified at press time.

And Jon gave us a sneak preview of the surprise filing of Laura Miller, who will challenge incumbent Jennifer Staubach Gates for the District 13 seat, we now know who the rest of the names on area ballots will be, too. Ready? Let’s jump. (more…)

Dallas

Photo courtesy skitterphoto.com

Want to provide the city of Dallas with input regarding a comprehensive strategic economic development plan? Now is your chance.

The city rolled out two separate surveys — one for businesses, and one for residents — that will help determine how the city approaches its economy in the future, including how it can improve Dallas’ business climate and improve capital investment in communities. (more…)

We are so used to dialing 3-1-1  to get service from the city, it may take some getting used to: Dallas 311 is launching new service request software, updating their website, and replacing the current Dallas 311 mobile app with the new OurDallas app.

The current 311 app will be taken down tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 10 p.m., and online access for residents will be removed beginning Friday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. to begin the transition to the new system.

While the app and website are down, you can still dial 311 at any time to report an issue. And the call will be answered — the call center will be staffed with additional agents to handle calls during this time.

But beginning October 1, the new system will be online. Residents using the old 3-1-1 app will be directed to the new OurDallas app available from the App Store and Google Play, hopefully for free.

The updated system will make it easier for residents to request City services, sort of service at the touch of a finger. But I wonder what folks without i-phones will do, such as the elderly. Good question for our City Council, or dallas311@dallascityhall.com, but I am so glad to see Dallas bringing in more technology for smoother sailing!

Favela

(Photo courtesy City of Dallas)

Raquel Favela, Dallas’ Chief of Economic Development and Neighborhood Services, has given City Manager T.C. Broadnax her resignation, the city announced yesterday. Her resignation is effective Sept. 3.

Under her tenure, which began April 2017, Favela oversaw the city’s first data-driven Market Value Analysis framework, which helped city leaders, residents and others better suss out the local residential real estate market. That framework would also be valuable in crafting housing program policy. (more…)

A U.K. firm has created a water absorbing concrete that I seriously think we need to take a look at and begin using or making here in the U.S. STAT.

This concrete is called “TopMix permeable”  and it acts as a giant concrete sieve/sponge, allowing the rainwater to drain right through it. Working on the traditional Indian model of rainwater harvesting and infiltration, this concrete can save more than 880 gallons of water per minute. But I think its use will be vital in our increasingly dense, urban infill areas that are flat, where water pools and floods during wild rain storms.

  • On an average, it can up take 36,000 mm water per hour
  • The level of water absorption may vary from country-to-country based on its climatic conditions
  • Many Texas areas would benefit from the reduced rainwater

TopMix Permeable can help cities better manage storms — watch this video —  just please don’t tell those folks who still want a tollroad next to the Trinity!

 

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