Notes from Last Night's Methodist Hospital Meeting, or: Hey, Oak Cliff, You're So Great. Why Are You So Great?

The Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce offered up a smorgasbord of presentations last night focusing on various initiatives from parks and the arts to bicycles and trolleys, and the community turned out in droves. An estimated 200 folks piled into Methodist Hospital's Hitt Auditorium for the two-hour-plus shindig, according to Bob Stimson, president of the OOCC and former Dallas city council member.

"There is just a whole lot of incredible energy that's going on in our community these days," Stimson said in his opening remarks. Acknowledging that the energy behind many of these current initiatives has been noticed by the media, he mentioned Schutze's recent story. (Of course, the two were on opposite sides of the Trinity River toll road referendum, as Stimson was a staunch Vote No! supporter.)

"How many people here read the Observer?" he asked the crowd while raising his hand. "How many people have ever seen an article that was so positive, other than the one that they wrote about Oak Cliff being so cool and so progressive, and everyone working together? It was the neatest thing I've ever seen."

And, keeping that momentum going, the event served as a showcase of sorts for all those "cool" and "progressive" organizations to present what they've been doing to keep Oak Cliff on track for what Jim called its "new-urbanist future." But there was one bit of news broken last night by the current council member in attendance. Let's jump for the recap.

The rah-rah session actually served as a nice recap of Jim's story as the crowd heard updates from Rick Garza (on the Bishop/Davis Urban design Study), city council member Delia Jasso (on the Oak Cliff Transit Authority's recent progress and monetary coup) and Jason Roberts of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff.

After hearing two speakers from Methodist, Michael Amonett, president of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, gave a presentation on the group's efforts to save, and now sell, the Oak Cliff Christian Church. And, naturally, Amonett took the chance to tell folks about this weekend's open house for the $1.2 million property.

There wasn't much news to be gleamed from last night's affair for folks who had been paying attention to the recent headline-worthy goings-on in Oak Cliff, although in council member Jasso's presentation on the OCTA, she mentioned that as part of stipulations on the $23 million in TIGER grants, the street cars in Oak Cliff "have to be operational by 2016."

But it wasn't necessarily about breaking news. It was about pulling the pieces together, as Stimson told the crowd, and "to let you hear from some of the different groups that [are] making this one of the coolest places in the world to live."

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