PORTRAITS Catherine Horsey

I’M AN URBAN PIONEER,” SAYS CATH-erine Horsey, executive director of Preservation Dallas. “Urban pioneers are a different group of people. We are very adventurous and willing to take risks.”

Taking a risk is exactly what Horsey did a year and a half ago when she left her native Georgia to spearhead a project that makes Dallas -a city with a reputation for tearing down its past-a national leader in the area of historic preservation. The project involves identifying the 197 neighborhoods that lie within Loop 12. Horsey and her staff have compiled detailed information about each neighborhood and have loaded all the necessary facts-from cultural amenities to housing options-onto a computer database. Potential home buyers can access the information from Preservation Dallas1 Wilson House office on Swiss Avenue, due to open March 1.

Part of her job as a preservationist is to give others a fresh perspective on familiar places. Armed with the latest demographic and crime statistics, Horsey routinely fields challenges from disbelievers when touting the benefits of in-town living.

“The health of the neighborhoods surrounding downtown is absolutely integral to Dallas’ survival,” she says enthusiastically. “Not all neighborhoods can be brand new.”

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