I attended the recent Downtown Dallas Inc. meeting and, like the other 1,400 people in the audience, can confirm that the news was overwhelmingly positive—and for good reason! 2012 was an incredible year for the City of Dallas (see the video here, and John Crawford’s recap here) with the opening of the Klyde Warren Park, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, etc. We will be hard pressed to match it in the future. (Yes, that is a challenge to all of us!)
The bigger challenge and question is, how will the new facilities be accepted and utilized by the citizens of Dallas? According to Downtown Dallas Inc., there are now more than 500 different events that take place throughout the year in the central business district. The big events (City Lights, Children’s Medical Center Christmas Parade, and the sold-out grand opening of the Klyde Warren Park) get all the publicity and are well attended. But are we doing everything we can to promote the smaller events and, more important, the various downtown venues that need people to survive and thrive? Here are some thoughts to consider:
• When you have a retreat, a board meeting, clients or customers in from out of town, are you thinking of downtown Dallas as a venue?
• Are you encouraging your staff to take advantage of the various events by publicizing them in your company newsletter?
• Have you considered sponsoring a relay team in the Dallas Marathon and then celebrating the event afterward?
• What about taking staff to the Klyde Warren Park for lunch on a Friday and frequenting the numerous food trucks?
• Or, drive across the new bridge and eating at Smoke or at Babb Brothers BBQ.
• How about just encouraging your staff to take DART downtown or to the Dallas Zoo on a Saturday afternoon? Someone told me the other day that he was taking his children to New York just so they could ride around on the subways. Although not a true subway, DART is a lot closer (and less expensive!).
We have great, world class facilities in Dallas, and the populace has been turning out. This needs to continue. Downtown should be at the top of the list when people think about entertainment, or a place to live or a place to work.
Dallas is truly becoming a 24/7 city. As I looked at the line to get into the Katy Trail Ice House this past weekend (ok, maybe not world class, but a great spot nonetheless), I was reminded of a quote from the great Yogi Berra, “The place is now so crowded, no one goes there anymore.” We are getting there!