By Shawn Williams – DSN Editor
Here are some of the happenings about town that we’ll be watching in 2010.
Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge
Driving west on Woodall Rodgers you can see the future Trinity River crossing taking shape. By this time next year we should start to have an idea of just how the first “signature bridge” will alter the Dallas skyline. The bridge to West Dallas is starting to come into focus.
Dallas Black Dance Theater at Wyly Theater
The Dallas Black Dance Theater has already broken in their new home with their Winter Series and looking forward to “Boundless”. The intimate configuration of Wyly Theater suited the DBDT troupe just fine in their inaugural performance last month. Dallas’ oldest continuously running dance ensemble has waited a long time, but their change has come.
Texas House 100 Race
Political newcomer Eric Johnson has gotten off to a strong start in his bid to represent Texas House District 100. He has raised lots of money and garnered favorable press. But his opponent, incumbent State Representative Terri Hodge, looks to shake off legal troubles that have dogged her for months. She’s launched a campaign website and the Democratic and Black political establishments are starting to line up behind her. It’s worth watching whether or not Johnson can break through where a group of young city council hopefuls (who didn’t raise near the money he has) could not.
Search for Dallas Police Chief
There is a quite campaign going on to promote First Assistant police Chief David Brown to serve as the next Dallas Police Chief. African-American leaders -both elected and not- would love to see Brown have a chance to succeed where Terrell Bolton could not. Brown is well respected at City Hall where he served as interim assistant city manager. If anyone currently in the Dallas Police Department gets the job, it should be David Brown.
Continued Main Street resurrgence
Have you been down to Main Street on a warm Saturday night? I have to say it’s a happening place. Folks lined up into the streets waiting to get into night spots. Ladies and gents sitting on a corner eating pizza by the slice. There’s lots to do and plenty to see in a place most consider to be dead after 5 p.m on Friday. With a new park on the east end of the block count on more daytime foot traffic as well. It’s far from a real downtown, but not the dead zone we knew at the beginning of the last decade either.
At the end of the year, Central Dallas Ministries saw their dream of turning a once vacant downtown high rise into low-income housing become a reality. CityWalk@Akard, a mixed use development with office, residential, and retail space opened for business. A number of units are reserved specifically for those who were formerly homeless. CDM will also move some of their office functions into the building.
Is the the year that Victory Park finally delivers or will it continue to be a hit or miss kind of development? New tenants continue to move in, but the foot traffic that was imagined for the area just isn’t there yet. A course correction by new ownership should help turn Victory from high end flop to recession friendly destination.
Empty Southern Dallas Promises
Speaking of Victory, weren’t voters told that the AAC and surrounding development would provide jobs to Southern Dallas residents? What up with that? Every voter supported initiative promises Southern Dallas jobs. We hear the same with talk of the DART extension, inland port, Trinity River project, et. al. It would be nice of at some point those job promises were quantified in some meaningful way. I’m just saying.
A number of Oak Cliff residents (and of course the Oak Cliff Transit Authority) have visions of grandeur as it relates to going back to the future with streetcar service. It’s a novel idea and one that is gaining steam. Now known as the Trinity Lakes Streetcar Loop, Oak Cliff’s route includes West Dallas and looks to be part of the Dallas Streetcar Transit Plan. The 4.75 mile loop would tie into downtown and may be eligible for federal transportation funds recently designated for local trolley and streetcar systems. This is more of a long term watch, but a watch nonetheless.
Local Media Moves
Darla Miles is gone to New York. Sometimes it’s just like that. I still promise to turn on WFAA 8 other than Sunday Mornings at 9. There should be plenty to keep our attention on local radio, TV, print, and (of course) online offerings.
Pegasus News has a new look, as does the Dallas Weekly online. The Dallas Morning News is trying a “business/news integration” approach. And then there’s that new Southern Dallas Nonprofit Start Up. Anyone who made it through 2009 still standing should at least be even money to do the same for 2010. It can’t get much worse (at least I hope not).