Much like an Obama rally, this afternoon’s town hall meeting in Deep Ellum was all about change. And what we all were waiting for was a sneak peek at some of that change, perhaps in the form of, oh, maybe what Beck Ventures is planning to do in the area. But there wasn’t one word spoken about Beck and its plans, and the meeting fell a bit flat. (Though we do believe we've cracked the Beck plans and will have more in coming ... days?)
In fact, the biggest news of the meeting had nothing to do with Deep Ellum, as Mayor Leppert announced that he was a little late because AT&T had just committed to moving its headquarters from San Antonio to Dallas. Leppert took the stage after reps from the Deep Ellum Association, the Deep Ellum Enrichment Project and Life in Deep Ellum filled in everyone on the future of the area. Which is?
Sean Fitzgerald of the Deep Ellum Association says the association wants to focus on two issues: debunking the perception that Deep Ellum is dead, which he calls an “albatross that brings everybody down,” and proving to folks that Deep Ellum is, indeed, changing. He noted that his group is trying to establish a Deep Ellum discount card, which would cost $35, and they are working on building a bad-ass Web site to promote all things Deep Ellum.
Fitzgerald also says he wants to start meeting with small groups in the beginning of August to work on a unified vision of Deep Ellum to present to the city on October 1.
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As for Leppert, it’s all about “moving forward,” which he seemingly applies to everything. “We’ve got to go forward,” he says. “We’ve got to have progress.”
He noted that he couldn’t think of a council member who didn’t love Deep Ellum, and says Deep Ellum is a different and unique part of Dallas. “This is kinda what we want to get to in other communities,” he says.
As he closed, he found a way to incorporate the convention center hotel and the Trinity, and then fired off this bizarre comment: “I’m not one of those people who have lived in Dallas all my life.” Not that Leppert needs me to advise him, but Mayor, that’s probably not something you want to remind people about.
And then, it was time for the quote of the day: “Life is based on risk,” Leppert says. “People who don’t take risks have given up on life.” I’m trying to get that to fit on a bumper sticker as we speak. --Sam Merten