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Five Great Ideas for Dallas

Some we borrowed, some we stole, and one we came up with by ourselves. From building an airport in South Dallas to a minor league baseball team to creating a red-light district (seriously), these are five ideas that can make Dallas better.
By D Magazine |

ONE: Build Another Airport
DFW
Airport has long been the area’s economic engine, and a $2.6 billion
investment in its infrastructure will make sure it runs smoothly well
into the future. But as the population of Dallas-Fort Worth continues
to grow during the next few decades, one international airport isn’t
going to be enough. Like London and Paris, Dallas needs two. (Love
Field lacks the acreage to be a viable option.)

Renowned urban
planner Antonio Di Mambro noted as much about three years ago and
suggested the creation of a regional air transportation authority or
commission. He also proposed that an airport be built in an area west
of Waxahachie, between interstates 35E and 35W. Right theory, wrong
location. The new airport must not only spur growth in South Dallas,
but it also must be easily accessed from the Telecom Corridor. We
suggest southeast Dallas. —Adam McGill

TWO: Start a Minor League Baseball Team
Wouldn’t
it be nice to sit in a cozy little baseball stadium on a hot night in
Dallas, enjoying a cold beer and a hot dog, the Dallas skyline
shimmering in the background, and not have to drop a few hundred bucks
to do it? Carl Bell wants to make it happen.

In Fort Worth,
Bell spent $8 million of his own money to rebuild LaGrave Field for his
Fort Worth Cats, a minor league team. Last summer, the team drew about
3,700 fans per game and turned a healthy profit, and Fort Worth has
already seen a revitalization in the neighborhood around the ballpark.
The Frisco RoughRiders also have done well, drawing more than 9,000 a
game. Bell, who owns the territorial rights for a Dallas franchise in
the 10-team independent Central Baseball League, believes it would work
here, too.

He figures he can build a 7,000-seat ballpark in
Dallas for $10 million to $15 million, with public and private funds,
near Reunion Arena or possibly Fair Park. A ballpark in Oak Cliff might
also pay dividends. -Dan McGraw

THREE: Cover Woodall Rogers
Woodall
Rogers has always been an eyesore that we’ve tolerated. But now that
the lovely, serene Nasher Sculpture Center has opened, something must
be done.

Put a lid on it.

In 1994, Gail Thomas of the
Dallas Institute commissioned architects Phil Tabb and Robert Armann to
devise a plan called the Dallas Urban Village. The plan included
covering Woodall Rogers between Pearl and Akard streets, providing an
aesthetically pleasing public space.

John Glad, a
self-described urban pragmatist, came up with a master plan of his own.
His version of a covered Woodall Rogers is between Pearl and Harwood,
and it bridges downtown Dallas with the Crescent. He calls his scheme
the One Sky Center, and he likens it to Paris’ Champs-Elyseés. There
would be a plaza level for dense commercial development; beneath that,
there would be parking and stores and the like; and then, beneath that,
Woodall Rogers traffic.

Be it park or plaza, we’re in favor of any alternative to the noise that emanates from the concrete corridor.  —A.M.

FOUR: Save Samuell Farm
When
Dr. W.W. Samuell deeded 340 acres of land to the City of Dallas for
park use in 1937, he hoped that the working farm east of town, off
Highway 80, would be used for the recreation and education of urban
youths, especially underprivileged ones. In recent years, however, a
stressed city budget has forced the city to shut down the dilapidating
farm and consider alternatives, such as the City of Mesquite’s plan to
turn part of the land into soccer fields. We doubt that soccer was what
Samuell had in mind.

We like Hugh Brooks’ idea. Brooks is an
idealistic attorney and founder and president of Friends of the Farm, a
nonprofit organization whose proposal would revitalize the property and
put it to the intended use of its donor. By building a top-notch
private equestrian center on a choice slice of the land, Brooks figures
the entire park and farm can be funded and sustained without taxpayer
money.

The upgraded Samuell Farm would have it all: trophy
fishing ponds, bird watching, small herds of longhorn and buffalo, a
dairy, a renovation of Samuell’s farmhouse, nature walks, and more.
Much more than soccer. —Christina Rees

FIVE: Create a Red-light District
It
seems every day brings us another news story about homeowners
protesting the relocation of a topless bar to their neighborhood (see
PT’s Gentleman’s Club and Club Silk). But someone must want
the bars; otherwise they wouldn’t be so profitable. And owners have no
choice but to seek new locations because the city code forbids
“sexually oriented businesses” from operating within 1,000 feet of each
other.

We say change the code. Cluster the topless bars in a
red-light district. We suggest a stretch of Northwest Highway in West
Dallas, beyond Bachman and near Irving. It’s accessible by I-35, there
isn’t a residential neighborhood for nearly a mile, and several premier
strip clubs already inhabit the tract, including the Lodge, Baby Dolls,
and the Men’s Club.

We’ve had one before. Frogtown was in the
West End in the late 1800s and kept many of the city’s bordellos and
burlesques concentrated and removed from citizens’ day-to-day lives. It
failed due to general lawlessness, but a new district would be
regulated by City Hall. —Troy Slonecker