Greetings DDI followers!
We’ve been running full throttle here at the Downtown Dallas, Inc. world headquarters for the last several weeks, so let’s dive right into the updates…
Downtown Dallas 360
Consultants MIG returned to Dallas for “Meeting Window 7″ at the end of May, presenting Downtown Dallas 360 progress to multiple working groups and the steering committee. At the same time, we launched the Downtown Parking Strategy (approved by Council in April) with particular focus from MIG sub-consultant Kimley-Horn. At www.downtowndallas360.com you will find a post of the master presentation used at these meetings, with a recap summary to be posted shortly. But a few of my personal take-aways:
- BE BOLD! (or “Don’t be timid” to steal a quote from my urban hero, Brent Brown) In contrast to previous sessions when feedback was consistently based on setting “realistic” goals and prioritizing – the tone seemed to shift, stressing that the creation of 360 is our opportunity to aim high. Perhaps an indicator that the frugality of the last 24 months is shifting? Do I dare say we are becoming more hopeful? The specific reference in this case was discussion regarding potential deck parks over I-30, ala The Park (Woodall Rodgers Park). Can we fund and sustain another project like Woodall? Tell me what you think. (As a Cedars resident, personally, I say yes! The connection is critical…)
- Tunnels, tunnels, tunnels. Yes, friends – start those comments now! Obviously, this is a consistent question that we here at DDI field daily. But today, we find the time is right to examine innovative solutions of repurposing (bike parking? storage? fiber optic paths?) and incentivizing tunnel dwellers to emerge .
- Parks. We love our greenspace and there is no denying what Main Street Garden has done for the Main Street District. But with greenspace comes management, maintenance and programming (see below for the Main Street Garden updates), begging the question – could Downtown become “over parked” with current plans? Should we look at a better mix of the typology of our greenspaces (see this part of the presentation on the 360 site), creating more usable, neighborhood places? Envision pocketparks, playgrounds, basketball courts, more space dedicated to our canines, etc…
- Gateways. We’ve all seen the designs of overpass treatments with dramatic lighting, artwork and better pedestrian connections – all great things. But I love, love, love this idea – a skatepark around Good Latimer, seaming together the east end of the Main Street District (Harwood Historic District area) with Deep Ellum. Already in the works over yonder is “Pillar Park”, more artwork and lighting in the already uber-cool DE Art Park.
Many, many more big ideas have emerged, but we have much to get to in this one little post, so I’ll leave you to check out the 360 site for more.
Main Street Garden - the scoop.
- Yes, we have discovered that the stainless steel in the Tot Lot is too hot! Ever sat on a black leather car seat? In August? In Texas? In Shorts?? Well, we certainly want to ensure every aspect of the park is 110% useable, so we’re working closely with the Park & Rec department to come up with a solution, quickly. In the interim, parents, please mind the caution signs going up this week.
- The Lily Pad is poised to open – just any minute now! A complicated permitting process is being addressed as we speak, so you’ll soon be able to grab your multi-grain muffin and coffee on the way to the office.
- PLAY at the Park. We went out yesterday with the Downtown YMCA folks and tested out kick ball, frisbee and volleyball for upcoming field days and sports leagues (who says this job isn’t fun?). Dates to be announced soon.
- Vandalism reports. Yes, unfortunately some no-gooder attempted to break in to one of the restrooms. In all seriousness, however, the matter was quickly addressed by the Dallas Police Department and Downtown Safety Patrol and camera footage is being reviewed to identify the suspect. Patrols from both forces have been increased.
Another destination for your morning buzz..
Mercantile Coffee House is set to open at The Merc at the end of this month – featuring Intelligentsia Coffee and Yogen Fruz frozen yogurt.
Some new faces at DDI
Meet C.C. Gonzalez-Kurz, Community Relations Manager and Shawn Corcoran, Interactive Developer/Designer. They have swallowed the kool-aid and are now part of the DDI team. Know ‘em, love ‘em. Bio’s, obligatory headshots and interviews coming soon…
And one last sidenote for all of you passionate urbanites – I highly recommend picking up this month’s edition of Dwell, which is focused on “Megacities”. It also includes great articles about urban parks, interesting freeway interventions and demographic forecasts that continue to bode well for downtown growth.