John Crawford: Mayor Rawlings’ State of Downtown Address

John Crawford
John Crawford

Each year, the city’s gives a ‘State of Downtown’ address to Downtown Dallas Inc. members and stakeholders. Recently, we had another sold-out luncheon, with more than 900 in attendance. They learned that “As goes Downtown, so goes Dallas” has never been truer than it is today. Cranes are flying high, new residents are moving in, occupancy is on the rise, and more landmark projects are taking shape—bringing more than a decade’s worth of vision to reality. We’ve even got our own radio show to spread the word about all of the great things going on downtown.

In addition to the leadership of the mayor, we could not achieve success without the cooperation and support of all of our elected officials, the Dallas Police Department, and city staff. Due to the commitments of their time, efforts, and financial resources, critical programs—like the Downtown Safety Patrol, Clean Team, D-Link (the new Downtown entertainment shuttle), and Downtown Dallas 360—are made possible.

DDI is proud to have played a part in some great accomplishments this past year:

• Among other things, the Downtown Dallas 360 plan set a goal of improving the parking experience in downtown utilizing new technology. This year, we have seen the implementation of solar-powered, multi-space meters in downtown and single-space meters that accept credit cards. Currently, the city is rolling out a pay-by-phone option for all parking meters in the city allowing customers a variety of payment options at all parking meters.

• Supporting the implementation of the Dallas Bike Plan is another key to the continued success of downtown, connecting our 15 districts with bike facilities. Through a partnership with the City of Dallas, DART, and DDI, 8.75 miles of bicycle facilities have been completed. These include bike lanes, shared lane markings, and a cycle track, linking the Design District, Victory Park, Main Street, Lamar Corridor, Deep Ellum, and Oak Cliff.

• Sponsored by DDI, The Connected City design challenge, aims to develop a plan for linking downtown to the Trinity River. This is a tremendous opportunity to forever change the face of Dallas and downtown. Currently, three professional team proposals are being presented to the public along with a jury discussion. The Open Stream Challenge garnered more than 100 submittals from the general public. Click this link for more information.

Indeed, it is the spirit of investing yourself that founded our city–that entrepreneurial, can do attitude, bravado, and the public and private sectors working together. Dallasites are known for not only dreaming big, but putting forth the effort and the resources to make projects happen like the Trinity and The Connected City, privatization of the Dallas Farmers Market, Dallas-based TracyLocke celebrating its 100th year in business, and the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau’s new branding campaign for the city: Big Things Happen Here. Big things really do happen here.

This leads me to pose a question: Have you been investing yourself in our downtown community? Have you been keeping your money in Dallas? If you haven’t, it’s time to get off the sidelines, get in the game, and enjoy all downtown has to offer.

Whether it’s a commitment to relocate your company’s headquarters, build a new residential tower, choose to make downtown your home, be a part of the action at American Airlines Center, keep your money in Dallas by holding your company meeting or event downtown, or simply bringing the family down to one of our stellar new parks or special events—now is the time to invest yourself in the fun and the future of downtown. It is our responsibility as Dallasites, as corporate citizens, and as a community to ensure that downtown continues on its trajectory to truly become the epicenter of the ‘third coast,’ rivaling New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. But it won’t happen without a vibrant, exciting downtown.

Mayor Rawlings talked about many upcoming events, conferences, and conventions bringing thousands of visitors to Downtown. He also spoke about a number of exciting residential and commercial developments. He even challenged us to make Downtown more fun and ‘funky’. In addition to announcing several successes and accomplishments, we learned about a few unsolved opportunities we can all work together to resolve. To hear the luncheon recap and the mayor’s comments, click here for Pulse of the City online.

Be sure to listen each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. on KRLD to keep up with everything that’s going on. And save the date for City Lights Opening Night on November 16. Downtown Dallas Inc., the City of Dallas, CBS Radio, Neiman Marcus, the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Forest City Residential Inc. present downtown’s signature holiday event, City Lights.

There will be a holiday festival along Main Street with an outdoor market, musical performances by The Invincible Czars (6 and 7:30 p.m.) at Belo Garden, kids crafts, food and drink, and much more.  The Holiday Light Show lights up the night at Main Street Garden at 7 p.m. with the lighting of the Breitling Oil and Gas Holiday Tree and a special arrival from Santa you won’t want to miss. Festivities will continue throughout the season with movie nights, photos with Santa, and pet-friendly events.

You can find all of these events and more on the Downtown Dallas Inc.’s newly redesigned website.

John F. Crawford is president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. Contact him at [email protected]


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  • downtownworker

    The surface parking lots dotting the downtown streetscape are a cancer that need to be zapped before they do further damage. The one near the Arts District facing Trammell Crow Center is particularly offensive. Let’s forget about making downtown “funky” and focus on replacing the ugly parking lots with residential developments like the SkyHouse tower going up in Victory Park.