For the first time in memory, the Dallas City Council last month turned down a profit-making bid on a piece of city property in favor of a proposal that will directly benefit city youth and cultural groups.
The council turned down a bid by a Richardson man who wanted to turn the 72-year-old Turtle Creek Pump Station into an office building. That plan would have guaranteed the city $24,000 a year.
Instead, the council decided to lease the derelict structure, located at the corner of Harry Hines and Oak Lawn, to the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra for $100 a year. The orchestra in turn promised to renovate the building, which was the city’s first water pump station when it was built in 1909. It hasn’t been used since 1930, and the water utilities department permanently boarded the brick structure in the Fifties.
Joanne Mintz, executive secretary of the orchestra, said the group hopes to turn the old pump station into a cultural arts center. The Civic Opera and Shakespeare Festival have expressed interest in using the building for office and rehearsal space.
Even the youth orchestra will only be able to use the building for rehearsal space. Although the station was once located in an open field, it has since been hemmed in by Harry Hines, the Dallas North Tollway, and Stem-mons Freeway, leaving only 65 parking spaces.