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Pat Berry, owner of Vickery Wholesale Greenhouse in Jubilee Park, got the call yesterday. On the other end was Dallas Independent School District trustee Bernadette Nutall, who told him the news he'd been hoping to hear for months: The district has shelved its plans to condemn his business in order to make room for a new-and-improved O.M. Roberts Elementary.
"Of course, we were somewhat elated," he says, laughing. "That's a bit of an understatement. We'd been hearing rumors -- and they were nothing but rumors -- for a few weeks that they were going to build around us. ... It's a sigh of relief. It's a struggle in this economy to stay in business without this headache, so it's a pleasing end. We're surprised but glad it worked out like this, because we were gonna fight it to the very end. We were never going to give up."
So far, though, DISD is only guaranteeing the safety of the greenhouse -- those Jubilee Park homeowners who refused to sell to the district, which made low-ball offers, are not yet in the clear. Reminds Nutall, there are still three months left in the district's offer of a six-month reprieve made in May. "So we're still within that," she says. "It's a gradual process." First, she says, she wanted to save the greenhouse. After that, the homes.
"I am still asking DISD to do everything in their power not to take people's homes," she says. "I am taking it in baby steps. When we got the nursery it was like, 'Whew. Now let's take a breather and concentrate on the houses and see how we can get a building built without taking people's homes.' And we have three more months to do that. But we need to commend DISD for even working on that aspect, if you know what I mean. I was excited about them thinking about people and making sure we're doing right by our community."