As you may have read here earlier, Angela Hunt and Pauline Medrano debuted their new plans for Lowest Greenville Avenue earlier today: a street-narrowing game-changer replacing two lanes of traffic with new parking spaces, trees and flower boxes to be implemented straightaway, at the low, low introductory price of $1.3 million. Patrick "Car-Free" Kennedy, for one, is a big fan.
The initial two-block stretch of improvements from Bell to Alta Streets is just the first step in a grander plan to re-do nine blocks of Greenville, clear from Bryan Parkway to Belmont Avenue. Hunt said the money they secured for the first two blocks of the project -- from a 2006 bond initiative -- was a sign that they weren't interested in waiting any longer. "We've got a plan to build a better Greenville," she said, "block by block."
The project, she said, will more than double the parking capacity, from 50 to more than 100 parallel parking spots on both sides of the street. Amidst all the talk about Better Blocks and smartening up Dallas' urban design, Hunt told Unfair Park after the presser, "This'll be one of the first streets where we've put our money where our mouth is."
Only a few weeks ago, Daniel Rodrigue's piece in the paper version of Unfair Park detailed restaurant and bar owners' concerns with the Planned Development District Hunt and Medrano had been crafting, which would require a Specific Use Permit from anyone interested in staying open past midnight. Today, Hunt said they'd secured support for the PD from all six neighborhood associations, as well as a majority of the property owners around the strip. Hunt told us they wouldn't have wanted to go ahead with these new controls without the support of the neighborhood -- after all, she said, "It's for them. It's not for the city council."
"Over-concentrated late night bars have eroded the quality of life," Medrano said.
Folks from Madison Partners, one of the neighborhood's big property owners, followed up with a swoon-worthy artist's rendering of their own: plans for a "chef-driven food park," as Jonathon Hetzel described it, for their one-acre lot between Sears Street and Alta Avenue. They're stuck working through the same city code issues facing would-be truckaterias in the Arts District and Oak Cliff, but once they work out their issues, Hetzel said it'd be six months before they'd have a half-dozen Airstreams on the lot -- and bathrooms too, he said, to "help the neighbors who complain about urination on their front yards and whatnot."
"The idea is inspired by Austin," Hetzel said, but by bringing in established chefs. from around the city, he said, "We're hoping to take it to the next level." Which chefs? "Lots of people, but none that I can name," he said.
The Libertine's Simon McDonald said he'd just heard about the new plans last night, and as much as he likes this vision for the neighborhood, he said he still has concerns about the cost of applying for an SUP, or how often they'd have to renew theirs.
City Plan Commissioner Bill Peterson told us that once the PD is implemented, businesses would probably have about a six-month window to apply to stay open late. The length of the SUP will vary for each bar or restaurant, he said, depending on the concerns raised by neighbors and police.
Standing in front of the old Public House, a property he said his family bought way back in 1956, developer Marc Andres was enthusiastic about the new plans. "This is not just putting lipstick on something," he said. "This is a complete facelift."
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