I am so impressed with Kevin Felder, the new City Councilman for District 7, which encompasses Fair Park. First of all, I’m a little biased because he is a real estate Broker. He is also a lesson in persistence: Kevin has run for his council seat four times before FINALLY winning the D7 seat this past June in a run-off with Tiffini Young, who was favored by the Mayor.

A few weeks ago we told you about a community meeting at Fair Park, sponsored by ABI Dallas, also known as Alpha Business Images, which is owned by Sophia Johnson … the wife of Mayor Rawlings’ very, very well-connected advisor for south Dallas, Willis Johnson (Google him, says our Jon Anderson). This community meeting was to explain and solicit input on the proposed management plan for Fair Park, which the Mayor wants to give to Walt Humann to manage, while the city pays. That meeting had a huge turn out, so huge ABI Dallas literally ran out of paper. But people were not so jazzed about that meeting, felt there were not enough answers provided and too much rhetoric. Even the invitations were kind of crafty: (more…)

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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?)

 

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Nothing says it better than a fact chart of how Dallas, our precious city, is withering away as it ages. Dallas is no different than other maturing U.S. cities, all of whom have problems along the same lines: declining job market, median household incomes dropping, diminishing credit rates, diminishing home ownership, difficulty attracting Millennials, increase in poverty and income inequality, unsustainable infrastructure, plummeting park scores and an unbalanced tax base. Yet Dallas is unique in that it sits in a geographic area where growth is booming around us. Plano, Frisco and Fort Worth are killing it, and we are three hour drive from the most booming city in the world, Austin.

Why is our core deteriorating? And why is Fair Park so vital to it?

We have convened a blue ribbon panel of speakers to help us find the answers: Don Williams, Byron Carlock, Angela Hunt, and our own Jon Anderson. Join us this Thursday, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, in the Founders Hall at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, 9800 Preston Road. Seating is limited, so RSVP today!

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White people on their annual pilgrimage to Fair Park

CandysDirt.com is sponsoring an important panel discussion this week on Thursday, Aug. 25, on the future of Fair Park and why everyone in North Dallas and across the city should be fully informed about the current plan to turn 277 acres of our city over to a private entity. Full details on the meeting are below, but it will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at King of Glory Lutheran Church at 6411 LBJ Freeway, west of Hillcrest, east of Preston, north side access road, Sanctuary.

RSVP HERE

We have issues. The City of Dallas and Dallas County are going backwards economically, not forward, at an alarming rate. In fact, experts have called Dallas “… the second worst-performing urbanized county in the U.S.”

Dallas County ranks second to last in job growth, and sixth to last of all urbanized counties in wage growth.

Given all the forces pressing on the city budget, one has a right to be concerned and ask questions about any city investment that puts taxpayers on the hook.

We are concerned. We love Dallas! So we have gathered some experts to enlighten us.

The issues: Certain leaders want to sign over a $1 billion contract funded by taxpayers to the Fair Park Texas Foundation to run Fair Park for the next 30 years. In fact, they want to make it happen next month.

There are those who say the plan is deeply flawed, is not a sound public-private partnership, and has no coherent vision.

The process and plan were developed behind closed doors with little transparency and seem to be getting pushed through the Dallas City Council lickety split.

Why?

Because the large parcel of land (277 acres!) is such choice real estate, we at CandysDirt.com want to know more. We want to examine and implement the best possible plan for revitalizing Fair Park and its neighborhoods. We want developers to see opportunity for growth in the area, and we would love to see a thriving neighborhood that not only invigorates and includes the people who live there, but also adds revenue to the city through property and other taxes.

With all we are on the hook for in terms of financing our city, implementing a half-baked plan could be a very dangerous move for the Dallas city budget.

We do not want to join the growing list of cities in near financial ruin, such as Detroit and Chicago.

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