Removal of eyesore: After the owner of the Summer Breeze Apartments at the corner of Hatcher Street and SM Wright Freeway abandoned the property, leaving 13 families without water or electricity, City departments worked closely to ensure the residents’ safety. Code Compliance worked with Housing and Water, the Nuisance Abatement Team (NAT) Dallas Police Department and Oncor to restore water and electricity for the residents, some of whom were wheel-chair bound and elderly. The substandard conditions, which included missing plumbing lines, missing windows, doors and stairs, and overflowing dumpsters were emptied and vacant units were secured. Housing also helped residents find new housing. The City will demolish all three structures on Hatcher by March 5; the first building on Southland by March 12 and the entire project will be completed by April 20. A lien will be placed on the property to cover the cost.
DAS helps elderly pet owner: Dallas Animal Advocates volunteer Pat Rodriguez, who also volunteers with Meals on Wheels, quickly saw an opportunity for Dallas Animal Services (DAS) to assist an elderly pet owner with her three dogs. Pat helped Mrs. Dorothy Jones with her decision to neuter two of her pets, and Pat found a local rescue that would find a home for one of her dogs. DAS Officer Adrian Vela transported the dogs to the clinic at DAS where they were neutered, micro chipped and registered. DAS also assisted Mrs. Jones with some preventative care items and food for her pets. “This is a wonderful example of how we can work together to have a healthier community,” Pat said. Mrs. Jones was very appreciative of the assistance Pat and DAS were able to provide her, and she is also pleased that her animals will not be adding to the pet over population.
DALLAS DESIGN STUDIO
Urban Design Matters: As part of an outreach to increase awareness about the importance of urban design to the future of Dallas, CityDesign Studio created Urban Design Matters, an interactive exhibit focusing on the key qualities of places around Dallas, including Bishop Arts and Jefferson Blvd. The exhibit was coupled with a lecture series that visited recreation centers and libraries around the city, including the West Dallas Library, North Oak Cliff Library and Martin Luther King Jr Library. Topics discussed in these communities included the importance of visioning and complete streets.
DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT
Southeast operation reduces crime: Responding to complaints about drug sales and prostitution in a several block area of Holmes Street, Grand Avenue and South Boulevard, Southeast Division conducted a collaborative initiative to reduce crime and enforce city codes in the area. As a result of the effort with the City Attorney’s Office, Code Compliance and Dallas Fire Rescue, a temporary injunction was issued against the Amzel Garden Apartments, 3027 South Blvd. A number of arrests for drug sales were made in the area and the court directed the property to do the following: • Provide armed security 24 hours a day • Required the owner to be on the property from noon to 4 p.m. daily • All persons entering the property must be identified • All vacant apartment units must be inspected daily The impact of this operation will be less crime and improved quality of life in the surrounding community.
Explorers program teaches teens: The Dallas Police Department’s Southwest Division Explorers Post 505 has been named Post of the Year for outstanding participation in community activities. Southwest Patrol Teen Explorers study law and departmental procedures, practicing what they learn as they prepare for a police career. They also assist officers with reality-based exercises such as Active-Shooter and Crowd-Control training, helping officers prepare for potentially explosive situations. The teens also dedicate many hours each month to community service, donating their time at 44 community events throughout the division. Led by Senior Corporal Jorge Guzman, the Post has played an important role in promoting law enforcement careers for its young volunteers, instilling in them a commitment to public service.
South Central Division
Students and officers work together: A collaboration between Dallas Baptist University (DBU) students and Dallas Police is giving children at the Samri Ridge Apartments hope and purpose. Every month, DBU students and South Central Division Neighborhood Police Officers serve as mentors to children at the complex, located at 3460 S. Loop 12. The DBU students and officers participate in arts and crafts activities and read stories to the children, who range in age from 8 to13.
Home Depot will double size: Home Depot is expanding its regional distribution center in Dallas by leasing and expanding the warehouse at 2320 Beckleymeade. The previously vacant 887,000-square-foot warehouse will be expanded to nearly 1.2 million square feet, and it is located next to Home Depot’s current 534,000-square-foot warehouse. Dallas City Council approved incentives to facilitate the expansion, including street improvements, with cost participation by Dallas County and other partners. Construction is expected to be complete in August 2012, at which time more than 250 workers will be employed at the new distribution center.
HOUSING AND COMMUNITY SERVICES
Townhomes at Bexar Street Village: Change is coming to the Bexar Street Corridor, with new homes, retail and commercial development as part of a master plan for this South Dallas community. Designed with hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, granite countertops and private fenced yards, the third phase of the Townhomes at Bexar Street Village is currently under construction. In total, 36 units are proposed, of which 15 have already been constructed and sold. The project is being implemented under the Department’s Neighborhood Investment Program and developed by the East Dallas Community Organization.
OFFICE OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS
SDCC serving the community: The South Dallas Cultural Center (SDCC) has been serving the community for over 25 years and is known for supporting and grooming local artists. The Center’s Diaspora Performing Arts Commissioning program provided local playwright Jonathon North with an extensive developmental period to create his first full length play, My Tidy List of Terrors. That commission led to a full production at the SDCC, and semi-finalist status in the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. “SDCC has taken the lead in developing the craft of African American artists in our community,” said Norton. “But what really sets SDCC apart is its focus on the creation of new work in theater, film, performance art and dance. That is so important to the artistic life and reputation of Dallas.”
Concrete Roses exhibit opens: Patrons at the Oak Cliff Centers met with artists Mark Crow and Violet Gutierrez during the opening reception for their Concrete Roses exhibit. On Feb. 3, patrons had the opportunity to meet the artists and learn more about their craft. One of patrons was a senior at Sunset High Schools who is working on several interesting new techniques and mediums for her artwork. The one-on-one conversation was a great opportunity for the student to learn new methods to develop her craft. The exhibit Concrete Roses runs through March 23.
Partnership project: Mountain Creek Parkway from Grady Niblo to Spur 408 is a partnership between the City of Dallas, TxDOT and the Dallas County to reconstruct and widen the existing two-lane asphalt road to a four-lane of an ultimate six-lane divided concrete roadway. Scope also includes the construction of a 700-foot bridge structure and water and wastewater improvements. The total project cost is $37 million. The construction is substantially completed.
Cadillac Heights Clean-up: Keeping neighborhoods clean is important, not only for pride in a community, but for the safety of everyone. To that end, Street Services funded a $67,000 cleanup effort in the Cadillac Heights area last November. Due to the amount of illegal dumping that has occurred in the area for years, the Department of Code Compliance requested assistance with the cleanup. Street Services contracted with Good Earth, which spent 2,650 hours cleaning and clearing 131 parcels, removing 690 cubic yards of trash, debris, and vegetation, making the area easier to monitor and enforce illegal dumping restrictions.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION DEPARTMENT
Community Outreach: Building Inspection staff presented a program for the S/E Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SEDHCC) “How to Start and Manage Your Own Business” seminar Feb. 22. The seminar was held at the Pleasant Grove Campus of Eastfield College. City staff presented a session on the application review and approval processes for obtaining a certificate of occupancy for a new business. The SEDHCC is dedicated to the development, promotion and protection of businesses in the Southeast Dallas area and to the support of the advancement of education and economic growth throughout the southern sector.
Winter birding at the Audubon: Before the Trinity River Audubon Center opened in October 2008, it is estimated that no more than 100 people enjoyed the 6,000 acres of the Great Trinity Forest. Today, hundreds of people visit the forest each week, participating in programs such as the annual Christmas Bird Count, managed by the National Audubon Association. The variety of habitats at the Trinity River Audubon Center leads to tremendous bird biodiversity during the winter, particularly during the annual Christmas Bird Count. Visitors to the Center can enjoy 120 acres of Blackland Prairie and forested areas and nine wetland ponds in various stages, depending on the Texas weather. Discover nature at the Trinity River Audubon Center located at 6500 Great Trinity Forest Way. Visit www.trinity riveraudubon.org or call (214) 398-8722.