Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Uplift in Deep Ellum Update

Two things transpired today at Dallas City Hall as the City Council approved two items related to Uplift Education and its quest to build a school in the Deep Ellum neighborhood.

The more contentious issue, and least likely to be of any measurable effect to Deep Ellum, was the aproval of a motion to create a non-profit that will allow Uplift to buy bonds at lower interest rates. It doesn't pertain to Deep Ellum much, since they were going to build the school regardless. The savings in interest are promised to go to teacher raises, so maybe they will spend more in the area, but otherwise not a big deal as far as the urban design that is the focus of this blog.

The second item was the removal of the 300-foot barrier between new bars and existing schools in the neighborhood. Deep Ellum and downtown now share that same city code. It passed fairly easily and quickly.

We were told by the stakeholders in the area that this was their main concern. When this option was discussed during the last few weeks, there were other concerns raised, indicating to me an unwillingness to accept a high school within the area and that reasons were given to make it not work. I have said it before and I will say it again, Deep Ellum is perhaps the area best suited for an urban neighborhood in Dallas. However, in order to do that, the thinking needs to shift from an entertainment/bar district to an urban one. Bars, restaurants, schools, residences, office, hotels, etc. all can co-exist in an area. In fact, generally speaking, the more of everything, the better. This is another positive step forward in the evolution of Deep Ellum.

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