City Hall

Dealey Plaza Redo Will Be Public-Private Deal. And It Has To Be Done By November 2013.

Schutze went to that Dealey Plaza chitchat at City Hall this afternoon. Only, the Quality of Life Committee didn't have quorum, so, per council rules, all the council got was a read-through of architect Jonathan Rollins's PowerPoint, which we sneaked previewed yesterday. But never fear: We asked the questions council couldn't -- chief among them, who's paying for this around-$2-million restoration and how.

Right now, the plan is to have this be a private-public partnership -- though it remains uncertain how much will come from the private sector and how much will be covered by the city. The Dallas Foundation, which is in charge of the fund-raising campaign, has begun soliciting donations for the Dealey Plaza Renovation Project Fund on its website. Gary Garcia, who's administering the fund for the foundation, tells Unfair Park the Dealey Plaza redo committee still "has to put together a marketing plan" in order to get the word out. Which is why, he says, "right now it's just a soft solicitation through the website."

Garcia and former Belo Foundation President Judith Segura -- who was there in 2001, when Good Fulton & Farrell prepared its master plan for a Dealey Plaza spiff-up -- are spearheading the project. And, says Segura, why, you're more than welcome to begin donating now.

"It's an embarrassment for our visitors to come here and see the deplorable state of things there," she says. "We want everyone who wants to have a stake in the restoration of this important, historic site to feel like they can contribute, and they can do it by sending a check. Even the most modest contribution is important."

Garcia and Segura say that that right now there's but a single donation in the can: $25,000, which comes from Downtown Dallas Inc. That money, they say, will go toward construction costs.

"But we have spoken at length with City Manager Mary Suhm, who has made a very enthusiastic statement of their support," says Segura. "They are going to look for every penny they can put into this, and they have engaged the architects to create a phased plan that starts with a basic project that'll cost $1 million lists separately the other things everyone else agrees should be done as well, and it comes to a little more than $1.9 million total. We have a general idea we need to raise at least $1 million and maybe more, and that's our starting point, and we'll negotiate back and forth just to make sure the city is playing its significant role in this so the citizens are essentially helping accomplish this project, which is the responsibility of the city."

Today's discussion was to deal with that private-public partnership; it'll come before the council at a later date. Because out of all of this, one thing is certain: The Dealey Plaza overhaul has to be completed before November 2013.

"Absolutely," says Rollis. "Not only is that the idea, but it's the motivator. Realistically, if it's not done for the 50th anniversary it's hard to imagine a time after that where the city would be motivated to do something."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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