Back in March, the operators of Klyde Warren Park surprised neighbors by passing the hat and asking for a modest contribution to keep downtown's newest jewel clean and running smoothly. And it was modest. The public improvement district they wanted to create would levy a tax of two-and-a-half cents for every $100 of assessed property value, meaning the owner of a $1 million condo would wind up paying $250 per year.
The thing was, the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation and its chairman, Jody Grant, had made a big show of how the park was a philanthropic gift that would require zero public funds to operate. The other thing was, they neglected to consult with the area's major players, notably the Arts District. A minor skirmish ensued.
It seems that the parties have put their differences behind them, as The Dallas Morning News reported yesterday. They declared their truce in a very kumbaya press release.
"This has been a very productive process, and from these discussions have come new ways to build a better Arts District, provide additional resources for all its stakeholders, and most importantly, enhance the experience all of us together provide to the public," gushed Dallas Museum of Art Director Maxwell Anderson, who also chairs the Dallas Arts District nonprofit.
Grant's praise was equally effusive, expressing gratitude to Anderson for agreeing to "this excellent partnership."
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The key to the agreement seems to lie in the park's decision to exempt the Arts District's major cultural institutions and nonprofits from the levy and to help fund improvements to streets, sidewalks, and other infrastructure that will benefit both parties. The Arts District also gets three of nine spots on the PID's governing board.
Also key: The new tax has the support of 74 percent of property owners.
The arrangement is expected to generate $610,000 in its first year, a number that's expected to to double by 2020 as property values rise. Half of the initial take will go to security, with another quarter earmarked for sanitation. The rest will be used for marketing, cultural programs, holiday lighting, and water features.
The matter is scheduled to go before the City Council for final approval in August.