City to Finally Spend a Little Money -- Very Little -- to Update Historic Building Survey

It's been a long time since the city of Dallas inventoried properties nestled in the 30 historic districts listed on the National Register -- so long, in fact, that there's not even an electronic database available that lists all the historic properties in the city, which would come in awful handy whenever there's a threat of a teardown. But this morning, the city council is expected to approve spending $50,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant Funds -- money that's been sitting there since 2003 and '04 -- to hire URS Corporation to update that list. Notes the council's agenda, "In the past twenty years the City has experienced significant changes and this dated survey information has become inadequate for the City to fulfill its obligations under its agreement with the Texas Historical Commission to make historic resources data readily available to other governmental agencies and stakeholders."

Also benefiting from the update are preservationists -- though, as Preservation Dallas's executive director Katherine Seale tells Unfair Park this morning, $50,000 isn't nearly enough money to conduct a detailed survey of all 730-plus buildings contained within those districts. "The scope will be limited," she says, "and Dallas is a little bit behind in that we haven't conducted a major city survey in 20 years... It's a good start, and it's good news -- and really important to re-evaluate buildings that are eligible for local significance, since the National Register doesn't protect buildings, just recognizes their importance ... But with $50,000, you can't survey all 300,000 buildings in Dallas constructed before 1965."

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