Get to Know: Prekindle

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Dallas is unique in a number of ways, but what distinguishes the Big D from others is the local character and prosperity that is evident when you walk through Downtown. That character includes the talent that floods the streets of Dallas.  

Three Dallas musicians make showcasing that local talent easier and more affordable.

Pete Swulius and Dave Howard played rock n’ roll around Deep Ellum in the band The Virgin Trebles. After graduating from college, the Virgin Trebles didn’t want economic troubles and decided to pair their computer software programming knowledge with their passion for music. The pair wanted to continue their involvement in the music scene and started a company that makes independent live shows and events simplistic to stage and promote. That company is Prekindle.


After a year in business, Swulius and Howard added J.R. Denson to the Prekindle partnership. Denson was touring with his band the Greater Good and was introduced to Prekindle by his entertainment attorney at Dallas’ City Tavern over some beers.

From there, Prekindle flourished and averages 4,000 events per year. Local event creators love working with Prekindle because their boutique ticketing company builds personal relationships and is a self-serve platform.


“We’re like the Indie-rock Ticketmaster,” said Denson. “We’re the team building personal relationships. Talent in this city is world-class and we feel lucky to be a part of the Dallas community.”

Prekindle was built from the ground-up in Dallas and has grown to a company that any venue or festival can access. But get this… they are a team of SEVEN people.

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“We can handle anything,” said Denson.

Howard explained they offer a unique perspective to the ticketing business because they all have experience with every job in the company. This workload ranges from scanning tickets at the door to the coding of the website. Each member at Prekindle contributes to the software and writes the actual lines of code that makes up the Prekindle website.

At the actual events, the partners said they hire an army of kids and part-timers who are involved a few times per month to help out.


By offering prices that directly benefit the client, people can log on to their website and create events that flourish and achieve a fan base. Prekindle builds the online tools and services to help further that goal. The company has a weekly newsletter subscriber base of 110,000 in DFW alone that continues to grow. 

The company took off seven years ago and since then has become a competitor for companies like Ticketfly and Eventbrite.

The partners all agreed that they have a certain sense of pride getting to be behind the scenes at so many cool events.

“Getting to see our name [Prekindle] be a part of so many things and getting that recognition is the biggest kick I get out of it,” said Denson. “Seeing someone holding a pass with our logo and knowing how much work went into getting that ticket into their hands is the best feeling.”

Prekindle works with numerous event creators across the nation. They’ve worked with the Kessler Theater, Majestic Theatre, Dallas Morning News, The Rustic and the Dallas International Film Festival.   

In addition to large-scale events, the company also gives back by offering their services to charities and nonprofits.

Be sure to check out Prekindle’s line-up of events this summer. The Oak Cliff Film Fest, the ATX Television Festival, Untapped, and Deep Ellum Brewing Co.’s Brew-BQ are all awesome upcoming events you can attend this summer!

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For a chance to win a 2 tickets to any event of your choice, click here: PreKindle Giveaway and make sure you follow us (@downtown_dallas) and PreKindle (@prekindletickets) on Instagram!

For more information on PreKindle, visit

For more information on all things to eat, see, and do Downtown, visit And for a comprehensive list of Downtown events, visit

CRE Opinion: Education Resources in Our Center City

In making Downtown Dallas a complete neighborhood, education options of all levels have become a top priority for DDI.

By: Kourtny Garrett

Published in D CEO


I am a parent of twin 5-year-olds who will be in kindergarten next year. We live downtown. Where can I send my kids to school?

That was the opening question, and not a hypothetical one, that I posed last month at our Downtown Dallas, Inc. board meeting to a panel including Dallas ISD District 8 Trustee Miguel Solis, Dallas ISD District 2 Trustee Dustin Marshall, and Uplift Education Chief Administration Officer Ann Stevenson. It is also a question I get more and more often, not only from my downtown neighbors, but also from corporate decision-makers who are chasing the talent pool who craves urban living.

At the beginning of this year, Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) realigned our priorities to take a more integrated approach to building our center city. One that has risen to the top is “Fostering the Growth of Complete Neighborhoods.” This includes thoughtful urban planning efforts that grow and diversify housing choice downtown, including product type and price point, while at the same time complementing it with essential services like grocery stores and dry cleaners, parks and cultural assets, and accessible, multi-modal, and efficient transportation. And yes, schools.  It’s not just about a race to build the most units or lease the greatest amount of space. What will sustain our urban core in the long run is filling in the gaps between towers to create complete places.

And education is a gap. As downtown’s pioneering population has grown and matured in recent years, demand has risen for more education options at all levels. We are “aging”—establishing careers and having kids—and we want to stay downtown. From 2000-2010 the number of 25-34-year-olds in the central business district (CBD) grew by 185.6 percent. I won’t make assumptions about anyone else’s life, but I know what I was doing at age 34, and those near-kindergarteners are the starting point for this piece. Furthermore, talent retention and recruitment have never been more important due to the increase of companies staying, growing, and moving to our urban core. So, our education platform at DDI is a simple brick and mortar strategy: We need more great schools in downtown.

From 2000-2010, the number of children ages 0-4 grew by 55.6 percent in the CBD. The projection for the next decade, from 2010-2020, predicts a similar trajectory at 45.7 percent growth. Then it slows to 27.9 percent from ages 5-14. The correlation with entering kindergarten is probably not accidental. Within the 2.5-mile radius of the Downtown Dallas 360 Plan geography, from 2000-2010, all age brackets between 0-19 declined by double-digits, but the story is a bit brighter from 2015-2020, as projections show modest growth of 2.7 percent. That said, we know that number can, and should, be higher.

Despite the undeniable need for more schools, it’s important to note the resources that are available today. We have options, great options. There are more than 30 schools of all levels within about two miles of downtown. So, when I asked the opening question to our panel about what I’m to do with my kids right now, there were answers.

Ms. Stevenson spoke about the Uplift Preparatory System, with 17 schools throughout Dallas and a mission to provide quality education in communities that are underserved with a focus on college preparation. In the downtown area, Uplift’s International Baccalaureate-authorized Luna Campus is split between the West End (K-5) and Deep Ellum (6-12), and will add pre-kindergarten in the 2017-2018 school year. Another charter school option, Pegasus School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, provides K-12 education through a highly experiential curriculum that utilizes all of downtown as its campus.

Trustee Solis was instrumental in the decision to locate CityLab High School in downtown, which will open this fall with its first class of 100 freshmen students. CityLab’s mission, fit perfectly for an urban campus, “is to establish an open enrollment inner-city high school where students use the city itself as a classroom to engage with the diverse social fabric and neighborhoods of the city.”

CityLab is just one creative way Dallas ISD is rethinking its approach to education downtown. Trustee Marshall’s district includes Ben Milam Elementary, located at McKinney Avenue and Fitzhugh Avenue, which, with the help of many neighborhood advocates, is now the school serving most of Uptown and downtown Dallas, giving our downtown families new options. Milam also offers pre-kindergarten, and is in the Alex W. Spence Middle School and North Dallas High School feeder pattern, with traditional as well as Talented and Gifted curriculum options at Spence Middle School. In addition, the incorporation of Public School Choice has allowed families to have better access to schools that are more streamlined to particular interests, including STEAM, Leadership, and Personalized Learning curricula. Schools of choice have also opened up geographic constraints, making schools like Solar Prep Girls STEAM Academy just north of downtown an option for many families.

In addition to CityLab, El Centro College, and Dallas ISD have a partnership in Lassiter Early College High School that allows students to graduate with high school diplomas and 60 or more college credits, in some cases qualifying for an associate’s degree. And, of course, downtown is home to the award-winning Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

First Baptist Academy also serves as a pre-k-12 option for private school. Preschool and early childhood development options are available at many downtown and nearby faith-based institutions, adding to a handful of traditional daycare options. Additionally, the T. Boone Pickens YMCA is growing its programming for children.

Downtown’s higher education institutions are robust and growing as well. Within downtown and a 2.5-mile radius more than 18,000 students are enrolled. The El Centro College campus celebrating 50 years, includes a rich core curriculum in addition to its specialty programs such as El Centro’s Center for Allied Health, Center for Design, and Food and Hospitality Services Institute. El Centro is also proud to be an HSI, a Hispanic Serving Institution. Downtown is also home to UNT System and UNT Dallas College of Law, as well as the Universities Center at Dallas and its partner institutions, including UNT, UNT Dallas, Texas A&M Commerce, and University of Texas Arlington. In the Cedars, the Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development provides workforce and business development training. DDI is also working with nearby campuses like Paul Quinn College to continue to grow the talent pool and opportunities in the center of our city.

I’ve chosen to live downtown with my family for a number of reasons. I live in a place where we spend our time enjoying life with front door access to art, recreation, food, events, and spontaneous run-ins. My children are exposed to a richness of culture, diversity, innovation, and history, supported by a community striving for the same. And now, as we weigh our options for education, the long-term viability of staying here feels pretty good.


How to enjoy the Arts District for free

How to enjoy the Arts District for free

By: Parks for Downtown Dallas

How to enjoy the Arts District for free

Dallas’ culture and imagination finds unique expression in the city’s Arts District. Amazingly, many of the sights, sounds, and experiences to be had downtown are available to city residents free of charge. Whether your goal for the day is to find creative inspiration, play among the statues, check out a concert or get fit, the Arts District’s parks, theaters and museums are brimming with low-cost and no-cost activities.

Outdoor Splendor

Adjacent to the Winspear Opera House, Sammons Park hosts free concerts, dance performances and other events throughout the year. Its verandah shades a soft green lawn ideal for picnicking. (If you prefer slightly more formal dining, outdoor table seating is also an option.) Or just take a stroll across the park’s landscape, which features native plants as well as a black granite reflecting pool where wading is encouraged.

Klyde Warren Park is another popular destination for thrifty downtown fun. Each day is bursting with activities. Challenge a friend to a game of chess or table tennis, see if you can finish a board game marathon, participate in a read-in, sit down for story time, enjoy a free concert — or just hang out with your special someone. And there’s so much more! For instance, the Dallas Center for Architecture hosts 360-degree tours of the Dallas skyline every Monday at 12:30PM, and you can relax with the Heartfulness Meditation group or El Centro College’s tai chi class every Saturday at 8AM. Regular class offerings in African dance, yoga and Zumba fill out the park’s schedule as well.

The HALL Texas Sculpture Walk is a self-guided tour highlighting 18 different sculptures by Lone Star artists. The walk begins at 2323 Ross Avenue and continues north to Flora Street as it winds by indoor and outdoor sculptures at sites across the KPMG Plaza. And you can extend your Arts District sculpture tour even further simply by crossing the street to view “Les Ondines” and “De Musica” in the Betty B. Marcus Park at the Meyerson Symphony Center, or the Pegasus statue in front of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Art For Everyone

The Dallas Museum of Art offers free general admission to the galleries displaying its permanent collection. Museum visitors can also expect to attend select exhibitions and many regular events at no charge. The First Tuesday series allows children to enjoy art and play activities from 11AM to 2PM on the first Tuesday of every month. Each Wednesday, the museum sponsors a lunchtime gallery talk beginning at 12:15PM. Speakers include DMA staff, local artists and visiting scholars. Saturdays, the DMA presents the Bancroft Family Concert Series featuring Dallas’ own Fine Arts Chamber Players. And during Sunday DMA Family Days, ticketed exhibitions are free to the public, as are special music performances and hands-on art making experiences for both children and adults. Check the DMA calendar often for information on the Museum’s many free events and programs.

The Crow Collection Museum of Asian Art does not charge admission. Moreover, its community engagement activities and wellness sessions (meditation, yoga, etc.) are free to attend. The museum holds a special Adventure Asia event on the first Saturday of every month. This slate of performances, workshops and art activities allows visitors to more deeply explore the current exhibition on display. Face-painting and play areas for the kids are also part of the fun. The Crow Collection’s calendar has the scoop on upcoming exhibitions and events.

The Nasher Sculpture Center offers ongoing free admission to children under 12, police officers, firefighters and other first responders. But everyone is welcome to visit the museum at no charge during Target First Saturdays. Story time and scavenger hunts, artist demonstrations and art projects, yoga in the sculpture garden — you name it and it’s happening from 11AM to 5PM on the first Saturday of each month. The Nasher also hosts free outdoor concerts during the spring and summer, as well as other monthly public events such as the Ultra-seeing Film Series. Reserving a seat is often as simple as making an RSVP at the Center’s website. Consult the Nasher’s calendar for additional information.

Finally, browsing the museum stores of the DMA and Nasher, as well as the Crow Collection’s award-winning Lotus Shop, is also a fun free activity. Each carries a unique selection of art items and prints that you won’t find anywhere else.

Performances For a Song

Although it’s not completely free, the Dallas Theatre Center’s Pay-What-You-Can ticket option allows you to attend select performances for as little as one dollar. You can purchase up to four general admission tickets this way, but be aware that seating is still available on a first-come-first-served basis. Dramatist Guild members can also take advantage of the Samuel French Playwrights Welcome Here program at DTC, which provides free day-of-show tickets to playwrights.

If you’re a young person (or know one), be on the watch for the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s special discounts. Students with valid I.D.s can often purchase rush tickets in person at the box office on the day of the performance. Dallas Symphony Orchestra student rush tickets are available for the Meyerson Symphony Center as well, and they may be purchased up to 10 days in advance of the performance.

Each of these discounts and complimentary services attests to the Arts District commitment to making great culture accessible to all Dallasites. The next time you head downtown, get creative and take advantage of what the city’s world-class parks, museums and performing arts venues have to offer. Better yet, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share your tips for enjoying the Arts District on a budget.

Downtown Dallas, Inc.’s John Crawford tapped to receive Michael F. McAuley Lifetime Achievement Award for longtime community service

Three North Texas real-estate legends are getting their due come May 4.

The North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors and Real Estate Professionals (NTCAR) will induct John Scovell, founder and chairman of Woodbine Development Corporation, and Jack Huff, principal at Transwestern in Fort Worth, into the 2017 Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. Also, John F. Crawford, the longtime president/CEO who was recently named vice chairman of Downtown Dallas, Inc., will receive the Michael F. McAuley Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of service promoting the central city, the region and other causes.

The 30th NTCAR Reunion and Hall of Fame event will be held Thursday, May 4, at the Dallas Country Club (4100 Beverly Dr., Dallas) with a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by the induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. (See bios on all honorees at the end of this release.) Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne are expected to attend. The event’s title sponsor is the Irving Economic Development Partnership.

Huff, who has brokered more than 1,150 transactions with a total consideration in excess of $1 billion, has covered the gamut in commercial real estate with brokerage specialization in the areas of office tenant representation, office-building sales and urban land. His vast investment/development experience ranges from resort land, retail centers and commercial land, to office/medical, mineral interests and parking garages.

A University of Texas-Austin graduate, Huff began his career with Swearingen Management in 1979. He later became a founding member and principal at NAI Huff Partners (formerly NAI Stoneleigh Huff Brous McDowell). It was the largest commercial real estate firm in Fort Worth until January 2011, when Huff Partners merged with global real estate giant Transwestern. His major transactions include the 1995 negotiation of the sale of Continental Plaza Office Tower, which he co-brokered with Wayne Swearingen  for $75 million, the 2000 negotiation of the Carter & Burgess Sublease at 777 Main Street with a total consideration of $64 million, and the 2014 sale of 66 acres of land, formerly known as Lockheed Martin Recreational Facilities worth over $24.5 million in total consideration, purchased by Trademark for the Waterside Development.

“Jack Huff is a legendary real estate leader whose hustle and business savvy have left a remarkable footprint on North Texas,” said Chris Teesdale, chairman of the 2017 Hall of Fame event.

Scovell, whose civic contributions rival his business acumen, has been associated with Woodbine Development Corporation since founding the company with Dallas businessman Ray L. Hunt in October 1973. Woodbine has been involved with the acquisition, development, design, construction, and/or asset management of 18,000 acres of land. The resulting 15 million square feet of hospitality (11,000 hotel keys developed including five destination golf resorts), office, retail, warehouse, residential, and mixed-use development represents about $3.5 billion of real estate improvements and value. Current properties include Union Station in Dallas (which celebrated its centennial in 2016) along with Reunion Tower and

the Hyatt Regency Dallas; the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio; Legacy Trails, a master-planned community in San Antonio; and the Hunt Headquarters in downtown Dallas.

Scovell is a former Texas Tech quarterback, Rhodes Scholar finalist and Harvard MBA graduate. In addition to being a past member of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents, his local contributions have included leadership roles as chairman or president of the following entities – Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, Dallas Citizens Council, The Real Estate Council (founder as well) and Downtown Dallas, Inc. He was the 2010 recipient of the Linz Award.

“As a lifelong developer, John Scovell has built many things, not the least of which have been great relationships. In addition to his talent, his rare ability to connect with people has been foundational to his success, whether on the football field, in the board room or in the creation of award-winning projects across the country. His dedication, contributions and leadership have not only had a significant impact on our industry, they’ve also been difference makers for dozens of nonprofits in our community,” said NTCAR Hall of Fame Committee Member Greg Cannon.

Since Crawford took the helm at DDI in 2007, more than $5 billion of investment has been made in Downtown Dallas, with the Downtown city center residential population growing by over 185% and membership in the organization increasing by 245%. He has also lent his expertise to numerous civic and charitable organizations, chairing the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce (Dallas Regional Chamber), Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Dallas), Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, March of Dimes and the Greater Dallas Planning Council. He also has been tapped by numerous Dallas mayors to serve on task forces and advisory councils. In August of 2013, he was selected for Honorary Membership in the Texas Society of Architects for his contributions and leadership in stimulating and accelerating the renaissance of Downtown Dallas. Crawford was named to the DCEO Dallas 500 in 2016.

“For decades, John Crawford volunteered his services to an array of organizations, boosting them all in significant ways,” said NTCAR Hall of Fame Committee Member Robert Grunnah. “He continued that success as he guided Downtown Dallas through a period of tremendous growth.”

In addition to Teesdale, Grunnah and Cannon, other Hall of Fame committee members are Kathy Permenter and Darrell Hurmis.

Founded in 1995, the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors and Real Estate Professionals (NTCAR) is a trade association that exists to enhance the business opportunities of its members through real-time access to critical real estate information, education, recognition and networking events. One of the first and leading local commercial real estate associations in the country, NTCAR’s members benefit from proprietary industry resources and customized services.

The NTCAR Hall of Fame was launched in 1988, when the first six distinguished real estate recipients were Trammell Crow; Lyn Davis; Henry S. Miller, Jr.; John M. Stemmons, Sr. and his brother, L. Storey Stemmons; and Angus G. Wynne. Later additions to the roster included John Carpenter; Roger Staubach; Henry S. Miller Company; Ross Perot, Jr.; Gerald Hines and Jeff Hines; and many others.

In 2016, John Goff of Crescent Real Estate and John P. Weber of Weber & Company were the honorees, and Larry Good of GFF (formerly Good Fulton & Farrell) was the McAuley Award recipient.

These and other recent Hall of Fame recipients will be featured in the third edition of THE BOOK – Dallas/Fort Worth Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame – scheduled for release in late 2018. Created in 2008 and updated in 2013 by NTCAR Hall of Fame co-chairs Robert Grunnah, Chris Teesdale, Darrell Hurmis and Greg Cannon, THE BOOK captures the stories of the past Hall of Fame honorees and Michael F. McAuley Award recipients – all legendary figures whose extraordinary vision and real estate prowess played a major role in North Texas’ development over the past 100 years.

The coffee table book, filled with historical photos, is available for purchase for $150. Please contact Cathy Powell at 972-419-4078 for details.

A number of sponsorship levels are available – title sponsor at $25,000 (one), inductee table sponsorships at $10,000, gold sponsorships at $5,000 and bronze sponsorships at $3,000. For more information, go to or contact




John F. Crawford: The man that brought Downtown Dallas back

Last night at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas, our Vice Chairman John Crawford was awarded the Dallas Business Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award!  We couldn’t be happier to have John as part of Downtown Dallas, Inc.  We thank him for all the work he’s done throughout the years to make Downtown Dallas such a wonderful place.  Congrats, John!


John F. Crawford: The man that brought Downtown Dallas back

By: Candice Carlisle

The Dallas Business Journal


When Boeing decided to move its corporate headquarters to Chicago instead of Dallas in September 2001, John Crawford remembers the aerospace giant’s executives explaining the rationale behind the Dallas snub: “Downtown is dead and there ain’t no culture.”

Crawford, 74, remembers the exact verbiage of the communication, in part, because it set him on a new path. At that moment Crawford realized someone needed to step up.

“Downtown was at a time when something needed to be done and somebody needed to take the lead,” said John Crawford.

“If somebody or something didn’t happen, we were in deep trouble in terms of Dallas realizing its potential that could have and should have in the future,” said the longtime executive. “There was a lot of people in Dallas that had the perception that downtown wasn’t safe or clean. Some of it was true and some of it wasn’t, but we had to change that perception.”

The Memphis, Tennessee-native became intimately involved with an organization called the Central Dallas Association, which he changed the name of to Downtown Dallas, Inc.

That emphasis on downtown Dallas and rebranding the organization was part of Crawford’s plan. But becoming so intimately involved in its future was not part of the plan. That just happened.

Crawford, who was a volunteer chairman of the board of Downtown Dallas, Inc., began looking for the right executive to lead the revamped advocacy group through a nationwide search. Unable to find the right executive to pull off a win, someone asked Crawford, “Why don’t you just do it?” He’d been asked numerous times, but this request got him thinking.

“Downtown was at a time when something needed to be done and somebody needed to take the lead,” he said. “I saw myself coming to a point when it was time to lead. I had the relationships, I knew the territory, I could afford to do it and I was coming to a point in my life where I needed to do it.”

That was nearly 11 years ago. In that time, Crawford has had quite the impact on the city’s urban core, taking his commercial real estate background and bringing those relationships into the central business district to help develop the hub of the region.

Without Crawford’s stewardship, Dallas’ downtown wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is today, said Mayor Mike Rawlings.

“He understood he had to be an advocate for developers for capital to be put back into the city, and he also had to make sure it was a place that was livable,” Rawlings said. “He was constantly going back and forth between neighborhoods and those developers to make sure he got the right equation.

“He had the ear of the people at City Hall and people took him seriously because he was always doing the right thing,” he added. “I’m so grateful for what he has helped the city accomplish.”

Crawford helped bring a nearly non-existent residential population to 11,000 residents in the inner core and more than 50,000 residents in the greater downtown Dallas district.

He also assisted in bringing a number of developments to fruition with the help of public-private partnerships. In the past year, more than 90 developments have either started or been announced in the central business district.

He also contributed in shaping the Downtown Dallas 360 plan, which gives residents, community stakeholders and developers a vision for the surrounding neighborhoods in the city’s urban core.

Crawford’s success at the non-profit advocacy group is rooted in the relationships he has made in North Texas, which began when he worked at the Henry S. Miller Cos. in Dallas and helped develop two office towers — Cityplace Tower and Bank of America Plaza.

“The greatest thing I have learned over my 40 years is the importance of relationships,” Crawford said. “No man or woman is an island, and success is a team sport.”

For Crawford, he’s been able to develop those relationships through his active civic and charitable career outside of work. He has served various roles in numerous organizations, such as the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, the Greater Dallas Chamber and the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Much of what I have done has been with sweat equity,” Crawford said. “It’s about getting involved.”

Rawlings said he hopes other community and business leaders will follow in Crawford’s footsteps and get involved in the “gnarly, dirty world of creating a city.”

After leading Downtown Dallas, Inc. either as president or CEO for more than a decade, Crawford stepped aside for the group’s new leader, Kourtny Garrett. He will remain at Downtown Dallas, Inc. as vice chairman and serve as a spiritual thinker.

Garrett, who shares Crawford’s passion for the CBD, said he has been an instrumental leader for Downtown Dallas, Inc.’s history and helped reinvent the organization over the last decade.

“His saying of, ‘As goes downtown goes Dallas,’ is representative of when reinvestment really began in downtown Dallas,” she said. “Downtown would not have its place in the political scene as well as the economic and investment scene if it were not for John.”

Downtown Public Safety Community Action Plan – Status Update April 2017

As you know, we hosted a Downtown Public Safety Meeting in January following a series of incidents that heightened concerns about public safety in our community. Coming out of that meeting, we facilitated crafting a Community Action Plan, summarizing the top priorities from residents, businesses owners, and additional stakeholders.

As continued follow-up, please find status updates related to the Community Action Plan below.  Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, concerns, or additional contributions.

1. Residential Property Safety Audits: Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI) visits residential property managers to offer coordination assistance to conduct DPD-led safety audits of their buildings, including parking garages. This will include an emergency access plan for police and fire and recommendations from DPD to improve personal safety of residents.

STATUS: COMPLETE – DDI visited every residential property in the CBD and successfully facilitated completion of the safety audits for 24 residential properties. Residential Safety audits will be completed on an annual basis going forward. updates and crime watch meetings are scheduled with residential property managers throughout the year.

2. Ongoing Community Collaboration:  DDI will coordinate quarterly meetings (more often as needed) to serve as a forum for public safety collaboration. Additional invitees to add to the base of residents at the first meeting will include: DART; The Bridge; Oncor; property owners, managers, and security directors; merchant businesses; and other concerned employers.

STATUS: DDI facilitates 200 safety and crime watch meetings with Downtown stakeholders. The Safety Patrol attends monthly meetings with; CBD Crime Watch, Downtown Residents Council (DRC), Downtown Dallas Neighborhood Association (DDNA), Downtown Security Directors Association (DSDA), West End Association, and the Farmers Market Stakeholders meeting. DDI/Downtown Safety Patrol (DSP) has a standing offer to attend and present at any and all resident, neighborhood association, and HOA meetings.

And thanks to Councilmember Adam Medrano, there is now a monthly Crime Watch meeting being held with all relevant parties on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. DDI actively helps promote the monthly Crime Watch meetings to residents and stakeholders.

3. DART and DPD Communication: Several concerns over the communication between DART and DPD were expressed, including statistical reporting and call response.

STATUS: A monthly task force meeting has been established that includes DPD, DART Police, DISD Police, El Centro Police, Dallas County Marshal’s and DSP to facilitate a coordinated effort to address public safety issues Downtown including: K2 use and K2 dealers, aggressive panhandling, and other Quality of Life (QOL) ordinance violations.

Other ongoing Initiatives include:
 Top 10 Panhandler initiative
 Quality of Life Task Force – West End/Lamar Corridor
 Impact Offender initiative

Additionally, a partnership has been implemented between the DPD, County Jail, District Attorney, and Criminal Courts to: identify, hold on high bond, prosecute, and issue maximum sentences to remove career criminals from Downtown. In the past, low bonds and plea bargains put career criminals back Downtown within 24 hours. The impact offender list ensures career criminals are held on high bond and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law (no plea bargains).

4. Neighborhood Crime Watch: DDI will host a series of workshops led by the DPD to offer Downtown-area neighborhood groups, building associations, and the overall community the opportunity to develop and establish a neighborhood crime watch program, building off of the success of the established Farmers Market Crime Watch.

STATUS: Again, we are grateful to Councilmember Medrano for his leadership to establish the monthly CBD Neighborhood Crime Watch.

5. Lighting and Sidewalks: Though significant progress has been made to improve lighting and walkability, dark spots and broken sidewalks still exist in Downtown. Short term, DDI will work with residents to identify “quick win” projects that can be implemented swiftly with available resources. DDI will also engage Oncor in the conversation. Longer term, the Greater Downtown Dallas 360 plan is addressing many of these infrastructure issues to assist in setting priorities for future bond funds.

• DSP officers check all Downtown street lights twice per month to note and report any light outages to private owners, Oncor, and City of Dallas. Most outages are fixed within 36 hours.
• DDI has funded an engineering firm to evaluate and map sidewalk conditions for every sidewalk and crosswalk in the CBD. This report should be complete in Q3.
• DDI will have initial design concepts for 8-10 new quick win projects to present for feedback by mid-summer.
• DDI has funded the design and has designated funds to complete the sidewalk on Main Street to connect Main Street District and Deep Ellum. DDI is also exploring ways to partner with Deep Ellum Foundation to incorporate additional lighting under 345. We are awaiting the approvals and/or additional information from TXDOT and City of Dallas on both projects.

6. Merchant Safety Seminars: DPD is visiting with Downtown merchant businesses to provide safety tips for employees, as well as security audits of their establishments. Contact us if you have interest in this program and we will connect you with DPD coordinators.

STATUS: DPD and DSP regularly check in with businesses to offer safety audits and meetings. DSP and DPD have reached out to all businesses in the CBD offering to conduct safety audits and meetings.

7. Reinvigorate No Panhandling Campaign: DDI will reinvigorate its panhandling awareness campaign that is aimed at educating the public as to better ways to give, as well as the no panhandling law. Businesses may request the DDI No Panhandling posters by emailing

STATUS: DDI has distributed over 250 ‘No Panhandling’ posters to businesses and residents since January.  The more permanent orange and white no panhandling signs can be ordered directly from Fast Signs (for a nominal fee). Remember to call 911 on panhandlers, especially if aggressive. You can also call DSP at 214.741.1151 who can assist by calling our off-duty officer for assistance in removing/arresting the panhandler. DPD has made 366 panhandling arrests since January.

8. Lasting Solutions to Address Panhandling, Vagrancy, and Homelessness:  These are three distinct issues that require a comprehensive approach including regulation, enforcement, and social services. DDI encourages public policy leaders, related agencies, social service providers, and the community to refocus on solution-based planning that looks at the entire city as a whole, understanding the impact of concentration in Downtown.

STATUS: DSP and DPD Crisis Intervention Team visit small homeless encampments around the perimeter of Downtown on Tuesday and Thursdays. Homeless individuals are identified and offered transportation to shelters for services. Bus tickets home are offered to homeless meeting reunification guidelines; approximately 150 homeless are reunited with family through this program each year.

Mayor Mike Rawlings has assembled a Commission on Homelessness to address the issue from a broad, holistic perspective. With the community, DDI will continue to monitor and engage in the process.

We thank you for taking an active role in making sure our Downtown is safe and inviting for all! We’re all in this together and appreciate your feedback.

Downtown Dallas, Inc. Team