This afternoon, the Dallas City Council voted unanimously to kick in more than $4.4 million from sports arena tax-increment financing district funds to begin some of the more rudimentary tasks necessary to rehabilitate the dystopian pseudo-urban wasteland that is Victory Park.
The money is but a small part of the expected final costs of rectifying the wrongs that Ross Perot Jr. has wrought. According to an October presentation made by Victory Park's new owners to the council, private spending alone on the reclamation is expected to exceed $100 million in addition to any contributions the TIF will make.
This money is intended to fix some of the issues that make navigating Victory Park unpleasant.
The most obvious change will be the conversion of Victory Avenue and Houston Street from one-way streets to two-way thoroughfares. According to study commissioned by the council in 2013, the switch will allowed for improved circulation in the area immediately surrounding American Airlines Center, relieving the ubiquitous post-event traffic snarls that plague those who drive to the AAC rather than taking the train.
Additionally, the money will provide for the creation and maintenance of bike lanes on Victory and Houston and pay for the glut of new signs needed to inform the public of all the changes.
The plans approved today have been in the works for well over a year, so it seems revitalization may still be a little ways off yet. Still though, for an area of which a Salon article once said "[i]f you took all the clichés about horrible urban design and shoved them into 75 acres, you'd probably end up with something pretty close to Dallas' Victory Park," it's a start.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.