Dallas Morning News launches Bridging Dallas’ North-South Gap project, pledge to follow through

The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board launched their Bridging Dallas’ North-South Gap Project in Sunday’s paper. They have had a number of articles and columns leading up to eight page spread.

I’d suggest that everyone pick up a copy of Sunday’s paper to pour through the massive amount of statistics and data that they present.

The Bridging the Gap team is lead by deputy editorial page editor Sharon Grigsby. I must say the word “crusade” that the paper used to describe their effort is the only way to characterize what Ms. Grigsby has put into this project over the last year. Sharon has sat down with a number of stakeholders, advocates, and concerned citizens in Southern Dallas, including meeting with me on multiple occasions. The former Pleasant Grove resident is so passionate about this effort, even the most skeptical among us would concede here that her desire for change is genuine.

The editorial board has selected five neighborhoods to focus the spotlight on as they advocate for progress in Southern Dallas. This week they will spend a day on each area which includes:

West Dallas Gateway

Grand South Dallas

The Heart of Oak Cliff

Red Bird Renewed

Pleasant Grove Crossroads

One idea the News had that I’ll have to spend more time investigating is the creation of a Southern Dallas Development Corp. Here’s an excerpt from their editorial on the need for such a group.

For southern Dallas to realize its potential, these neighborhoods must have their own agency with power and permanence. They need a staff of full-time advocates – from fiscal advisers to planners to developers and land brokers to lobbyists – who think only of best practices.

Creating a development corporation that is connected to – but not reliant on – City Hall would offer the best chance for success. This public-private umbrella organization would aggressively pursue federal and state funds, leverage expertise, recruit and retain businesses and respond to neighborhoods’ needs.

Check out the Bridging the Gap page, which I seen includes the first column that I wrote for the paper last year. And PLEASE, PLEASE, check out the interactive videos attached to the Invisible City map.

I think the Morning News is on to something, but it will take a collective effort to make their vision of a whole city -a vision shared by many of us- become a reality. This is a great first step taken by Ms. Grigsby, Editorial Page Editor Keven Ann Willey, and their team. They can count on Dallas South to do whatever we can to help out.

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