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Mayor Johnson announces Safe Communities Initiative Fund

by City of Dallas

Mayor Eric Johnson on Thursday announced the creation of the Mayor’s Safe Communities Initiative Fund.

The Fund, hosted by the Communities Foundation of Texas, will accept donations to help pay for crime-reduction programs and efforts recommended by the Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities. A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has agreed to kick off the fund with a $50,000 donation.

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Opinion: FEMA is wrong to deny disaster funds to Dallas

by Dallas Morning News Editorial Board

The signs of last fall’s devastating tornado are all too visible in the heart of Dallas.

But for the second time this spring, the Federal Emergency Management Agency last week ruled the damage didn’t warrant federal disaster assistance. It is a bad decision and FEMA should reverse its ruling.

In April, FEMA determined that Dallas could receive aid only if uninsured damage to public infrastructure exceeded $38.5 million. The damage assessment put together by the city, the county and school district amounted to about $33 million by FEMA’s count. After reviewing the appeal with additional damage assessments included, FEMA again rejected aid.

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Dallas City Council unanimously approves city’s first climate action plan

by Dallas Morning News

Dallas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the city’s first climate action, aimed at making Dallas more sustainable and mitigating the effects of climate change.

"This plan takes a balanced and common-sense approach — one that sets ambitious goals, but also accounts for our economic needs,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “We all live in and share this environment, and it’s up to us to be good stewards.”

With more than 90 action items, the plan addresses eight issues: energy-efficient and climate-resilient buildings; renewable and affordable energy; transportation; waste; water resources; green spaces; food; and clean air.

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Dallas City Council to Discuss ‘Dallas First’ Preference for City Spending

by Larry Collins - NBCDFW

Tuesday, the Dallas City Council Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Assistance will discuss a proposed “Dallas First” initiative when it comes to city spending.

“I'm not comfortable sending Dallas tax dollars outside of the city of Dallas right now,” Mayor Eric Johnson said in a City Council meeting “I'm very very sensitive to the pain on our community and I want to make sure that when we are extended contracts that we are spending money here locally.”

Johnson said the issues surrounding COVID-19 closures have hurt several Dallas businesses and he would like to help them stay afloat.

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$600K EPA Grant To Help Revitalize South Dallas, Fair Park Area

by CBSDFW.com

Help is on the way to South Dallas in the form of federal dollars.

The Environmental Protection Agency awarded the City of Dallas a $600,000 Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant with an initial focus targeting the revitalization of the South Dallas/Fair Park area.

The grant is designed to address properties, called brownfields, with actual or perceived contamination, that often complicates the reuse and development of the infrastructure or the land.

The goal is to address the socioeconomic challenges facing the community.

The primary target areas include the 277-acre Fair Park campus and surrounding neighborhoods, the two-mile-long MLK Jr. Corridor and the 72-acre neighborhood surrounding St. Philip’s School and Community Center.

There are more than 100 suspected contaminated properties within the target area.

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Dallas To Launch Housing, Small Business Assistance Program

By STELLA M. CHÁVEZ - KERA News

Some in Dallas may qualify for financial aid to pay their rent or mortgage as the city launches its mortgage and rental assistance program Monday, as well as a fund to help small businesses. The city has set aside $6.1 million for rent and mortgage aid and $5 million for small businesses.

Dallas residents can submit their applications for housing assistance online beginning at 9 a.m. Monday – they’ll be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. If approved, eligible households could get up to $1,500 for up to three months.

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How Dallas Is Approaching Water Conservation as the Climate Changes

by Shawn Shinneman - D Magazine

We’re about a month away from getting a first look at the city’s climate action plan, a document that will guide Dallas’ efforts to reduce emissions, conserve water, and improve the city’s overall environmental quality. On Monday, staff briefed a City Council committee on how that plan will approach water, and provided an update on ongoing efforts to conserve the area’s limited water resources.

The 30,000-foot view: The city believes it is conserving enough water to offset supply and demand shifts from climate change. It’s eyeing an extension of the Dallas Floodway and other tweaks to mitigate potential flood and drought impact, while monitoring for future action. It’s expanding or re-marketing conservation-focused programs you may not have heard about, while introducing new ones. And it’s continuing to develop more strategies in the name of improving our water supply.

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City Council Votes: Neglected Century-Old Park in Dallas One Step Closer to Major Changes

by Candace Sweat - NBCDFW

A big decision could bring the city of Dallas a minor league baseball team and brand new multi-million dollar venue at a century-old park.

The city council voted on a plan to put Reverchon Park into private hands. It's a big reversal, as the council just rejected the plan last month.

It’s a polarizing issue for residents who live around the park. Strong arguments came from both sides of the issue during the Wednesday meeting.

With 11 members voting in favor and four in opposition, the motion passed. And with that, Dallas’ century-old Reverchon Park is one step closer to a major change.

This decision didn’t come without discussion and opposition. The public comment lines were long on both sides of the issue during Wednesday night’s city council meeting.

A list of concerns for those against the plan included traffic and privatization.

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Some Takeaways From the Mayor’s State of the City Q&A

by Shawn Shinneman - D Magazine

Mayor Eric Johnson gave his State of the City address on Monday, taking questions from NBC 5’s Julie Fine in front of 800 people at the Hyatt Regency downtown. He discussed his recent directive on violent crime, anti-city efforts in Austin, and his love for SMU athletics. Let’s hop to it.

The Mayor Doesn’t Want You Reading Between the Lines of That Letter to City Manager TC Broadnax. This would be the letter, sent last Tuesday, in which Johnson asked Broadnax to produce a “comprehensive, written plan to reduce violent crime in Dallas by a time certain.” It represented a noticeable shift in tone for the mayor.

A little over two months ago, at the Texas Tribune festival, Johnson downplayed the violent crime statistics and talked about how the spurt of 40 murders in May skewed the year’s stats.

On Monday, Johnson said he’d resisted pressure to play into scare tactics while on the campaign trail. We were merely halfway through the year at that point, he said. With a month left and with the highest body count in more than a decade in view, Johnson called the issue “a significant concern.”

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Dallas City Council reviews $100M plans for Klyde Warren Park expansion

by Lori Brown - Dallas Morning News

The Dallas City Council reviewed plans for the ambitious $100 million expansion of Klyde Warren Park. The price tag might include $40 million in public funding.

Klyde Warren Park 2.0 would do more than add green space. It would set a precedent for putting a building over a freeway and potentially changing development as we know it.

The plans for Klyde Warren Park 2.0 are eye-catching. They call for expanding the renowned deck park an acre and a half to the west and a futuristic two-story building on top of Woodall Rodgers Freeway.

A building on top of a freeway in Texas has never been done before. The building itself would have a 35,000 square foot rooftop deck on top.

Rob Walters with the Woodall Rogers Park Foundation says what will go inside the building is still a work in progress.

“The building will be totally public,” Walters said. “What we would like to is have a Dallas visitors center of some kind where more come down to city arts district and get a glimpse of Dallas.”

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Uber wants to have 400 hires in Dallas’ Deep Ellum by year’s end

by Melisa Repko - Dallas Morning News

After ratcheted-up pressure from Wall Street and rounds of layoffs, Uber Technologies’ CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had a moment to celebrate Friday: He turned dirt at the groundbreaking of the company’s new corporate office in Dallas.

The transportation giant plans to turn Dallas into its largest hub outside of its San Francisco headquarters. It expects to hire 400 employees in Dallas by the end of the year and grow to 3,000 employees by the end of 2023. Many of the jobs will be in finance, human resources and corporate roles that support Uber’s global businesses.

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Dallas council supports controversial zoning allowing high-rise residences in affluent Preston Hollow neighborhood

by David Tarrant - Dallas Morning News

After Dallas City Council voted to approve new zoning rules for a 14-acre plot in the middle of their affluent neighborhood, Preston Hollow remains deeply divided over plans for new high-rise development in the area.

Opponents vowed to continue fighting and suggested the possibility of filing a lawsuit to stop development.

“We’re going to take a look at the legal issues,” said Steve Dawson, a longtime critic of the zoning. “There’s been no effort to find a compromise.”

The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a plan allowing more high-rise residences in Preston Hollow, which has fought such development for years.

The vote came over the strenuous objections of neighbors who believe that high-rise development in the area will make traffic worse around the already busy Northwest Highway and Preston Road intersection.

The controversial two-year zoning battle prompted former Mayor Laura Miller to come out of political retirement and challenge incumbent City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates this spring. Miller carried precincts in the disputed area, but lost to Gates by a 2-to-1 margin.

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EDITORIAL: Dallas has serious money problems, but creating new ones isn’t City Council leadership

by Dallas Morning News Editorial Board

One of the big challenges for any new city council is to understand the difference between  strategic investment and fat in the budget.

Done with a scalpel, cuts can save tax dollars. Done with a hatchet, short-term gain can mean long-term pain.

The latter is our concern about the current City Council’s review of City Manager T.C. Broadnax’s budget. Broadnax originally called for a 0.33-cent tax rate increase, which would bring the overall tax rate to 78 cents per $100 in valuation.  For the average home value of $303,000, for example, the city manager’s proposed budget would cost an additional $8 a year.

In an effort to avoid this small increase, some council members have proposed cuts to city offices that provide services for immigrants, senior citizens, code enforcement and economic development, and to budgets for teen pregnancy prevention. And to hold the tax rate steady, the cuts have to add up to roughly $4.5 million.

In response to that, Broadnax offered what appears to be a smart amendment over the weekend  that keeps the tax rate the same and, more important, maintains many of the human and social services that Dallas residents have said they want. He's strategically trimmed the original budget in other non-direct service delivery areas, LED signs for example, to keep priority items such as fire trucks and after-school programs and services for homeless kids.

We understand why Broadnax proposed the tax rate increase. We equally understand why the council was reluctant to approve it. This is a case of pay now or pay down the line for services residents have come to expect. We shouldn't be surprised if there's a referendum to increase the tax rate in the near future, largely because we know the cost of paying public safety workers will rise.

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Some Dallas area residents don't have reliable internet access. The Dallas Fed wants to change that

by Melissa Repko - Dallas Morning News

Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the country’s fastest-growing regions. It boasts a hot real estate market and is home to two dozen Fortune 500 companies. 

But on Tuesday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas spotlighted a problem that jeopardizes the upward mobility of some of the region's residents: a sharp divide between people who have access to reliable internet service and those who do not.

About 160 city officials, nonprofit leaders, business executives and educators gathered at the all-day Digital Inclusion Summit in Dallas. The event focused on the importance of reliable, affordable, high-speed internet — and solutions that could help expand access to everyone. 

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Dallas could mandate recycling for businesses to cut down on waste 

by Hayat Norimine - Dallas Morning News

Dallas officials could require tens of thousands of businesses to start recycling in an effort to divert waste from the landfill.

Commercial waste is next up on the city's environmental to-do list as officials pursue a "zero-waste" goal, which would extend the life of the McCommas Bluff Landfill, and try to mitigate the effects of climate change.

City officials are discussing ways to enforce such an ordinance. They could present a plan to council members early next year. The council last year approved a recycling mandate for apartment complexes and recently passed limits on bulk and brush set-outs.

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Two economic development projects slated for southern Dallas

DallasCityNews.Net

31 May 2019

The Office of Economic Development announces two major development projects in southern Dallas. The first, a new Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) center for Georgia-based company Chime Solutions. The second, a substantial rehabilitation of the former Urban League of Greater Dallas building on South Lancaster Road for office and retail use.

Chime Solutions is a human resources and staffing firm headquartered in Morrow, Georgia. The company’s new 51,000 square foot BPO center, its first outside of Georgia, will be located at Red Bird Mall. By 2021, Chime anticipates creating over 1,000 full-time jobs at the new center. The range of jobs will include customer service agents, human resource specialists, desktop support specialists, trainers, operations managers, and a site director. Annual wages are expected to range from $29,000 to $80,000+ and all jobs will include a full benefits package. This business development project is the first office incentive project located in southern Dallas in at least 20 years. Chime Solutions is a privately-owned and certified minority- and woman-owned business. The Dallas City Council approved an economic development grant of $2 million to facilitate this project.

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