As the Dallas City Council gets back to business next week, I thought we'd start sneaking a peek at next Wednesday's council agenda. A few easy ones out of the way first; need to stretch amd warm up after a two-week layoff. Like, oh, Agenda Item No. 51, which calls for accepting grant money from the Texas Commission on the Arts -- about $49,000 worth. Jim Bob McMillan, TCA's deputy director, tells Unfair Park most of that dough -- $39,016, to be precise -- will be spread out amongst "other arts organizations in the Dallas area." The city, which had to match the grant 3-to-1, says it will use the money "to procure the services of ethnic and culturally specific individual artists and cultural organizations to teach, perform and exhibit at host facilities in neighborhoods around the City so as to heighten citizen understanding." In other words, klezmer for everyone! No?
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Too bad the TCA can't kick in extra dough-re-mi for the Main Street Garden Park. Last August, the council approved giving Phillips/May Corporation precisely $8,019,937 for "the construction of ... food concession pavilion and outdoor dining terrace, fountain, off-leash dog run, playground, shelters, lighting, landscaping, irrigation, signage, sidewalks, trails, and public art." Which, turns out, wasn't enough: Attempting to reach its October 2009 deadline, Phillips/May has come back to the council asking for $136,305 more "for the installation of signage, modifications to the cafe/kiosk building, and additional underground electrical utilities serving the outdoor stage areas." Does anyone realize that thing's, like, one block big? As some of you asked last summer: Where, precisely, will the park go?