Mayor Tom Leppert's made it quite clear in recent months: West Dallas sits high atop his to-do list. To the checklist, add this item: weather-stripping, caulking and insulating some 400 homes that aren't terribly energy efficient. The city council's Housing Committee will get the full details today at 2 p.m., but here are the broad strokes: For some time, the city's been identifying so-called Neighborhood Investment Program areas in need of improvement -- among them Rochester Park, Fair Park and West Dallas. As part of that initiative, the city wants to weatherize homes to "achieve energy efficiency improvements" suggested in earlier council proposals.
It won't be cheap: The city guesstimates that it'll need to redo 400 homes at an average cost of $5,000 each, and the city hopes to hire a contractor -- if not more than one -- by July in order to "conduct the necessary energy assessments and retrofits so as to achieve reduction in energy usage." Alas, the money will come from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, funded by the funded for the first time under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The city also says it will need to hire an inspector and a coordinator to handle the administration of the program, which will also involve everything from replacing fixing duct work to screwing in compact fluorescent light bulbs. And it wants to get one house done by August and the whole neighborhood finished by February.
So, why the sudden interest in weatherizing West Dallas? Says the briefing memo:
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As the Calatrava Bridge, Trinity Park Initiatives and the widening of Singleton Blvd. have fueled reinvestment in West Dallas, the City's redevelopment strategy has focused on the existing housing stock with emphasis on infill, rehabilitation and redevelopment. This weatherization effort directly supports the departments housing goals for this NIP Target neighborhood.