A Positive Start to 2012: A Boston Writer Loves Dallas. And, Hunt Says Greenville's Back, Baby.

Tomorrow we'll get back to bond-package and alley-repair city council briefings and the business community's interest in fixing the DISD; meet the new year, same as the old. But here's a nice way to kick off 2012 -- with Boston Globe features editor Katie McLeod's recap of her recent visit to Dallas, where a healthy diet of low expectations created by reality and revival television led to "a hefty helping of pleasant surprises." Among them: Javier's, Bread Winners, the Arboretum (above, natch), the Meyerson ... and Cowboys Red River. McLeod apparently whiled away much of her stay in Uptown, where there exists "plentiful dining out and night life options" -- as opposed to, say, the long-walk-away downtown.

But I also toured a sprawling arboretum where I got lost in a fairy tale world of pretty pumpkins and gorgeous gourds (even the gourds were glamorous), and ventured to the symphony. I walked from downtown through uptown, and drove a few miles north of downtown to check out Southern Methodist University with its tasteful brick buildings and manicured campus. The nearby Highland Park neighborhood was jaw dropping. ... We spent much time in uptown, a strip of restaurants, bars, shopping, hotels, and condos with droves of young people. Most Eligible Dallas unfolded before my eyes. But I saw no big hair. Jeans? Yes. Boots? Yes. Dressed to the nines? Oh yes. But no big hair. I was at least in the clear in the locks department.

Alas, McLeod didn't make it to Lower Greenville, where, a year from now, she'll find that Trader Joe's first announced Thursday. Which reminds me:

Council member Angela Hunt posted to her blog a sort of toldya-so celebrating the Big News as proof that the being-litigated Lower Greenville Planned Development District Ordinance and those recent street improvements really are working:

I remember talking with several retail brokers and restauranteurs a couple of years ago who told me the reasons they wouldn't relocate to Lower Greenville: the perception of high crime; the fact that it was primarily a regional late-night bar strip; and the run-down appearance of the street. We have changed that. The new late-night permitting process is reducing crime and helping rebalance the day-night business ratio. The street and sidewalk improvements have cleaned up the street and created a welcoming environment for the surrounding neighbors.

But the proof is in the results: Of all the places Trader Joe's could have moved to in Dallas -- the Park Cities, Uptown, Lakewood, Far North Dallas, and elsewhere -- they chose to come to Lower Greenville. Without question, this is a direct result of the changes we've made, and I have no doubt that without these changes, they would not have come. And this is just the type of business we wanted to attract -- a daytime business focused on serving the surrounding community. It's also a perfect fit for East Dallas.

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