[Hpn] Business Coalition Opposes Homeless Site

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Tue, 16 Aug 2005 04:47:50 -0400


http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/local/stories/081605dnmetnohomeless.d0ebf5d.html


Business coalition opposes homeless site
Dallas: Business leaders offer option, warn city of bond vote fight

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

By DAVE LEVINTHAL / The Dallas Morning News

A coalition of downtown Dallas business owners issued an ultimatum of sorts
to city leaders Monday.
Consider an alternate location for the city's proposed homeless assistance
center and expect at least $1 million in private donations to purchase the
land, they said. But forge ahead with plans to build the center in the
southeast section of downtown and expect a fight to defeat a probable
November bond proposition designed to fund it.
"We intend to be the spearhead to defeat the bond issue. We are directly
impacted," said Larry Hamilton, whose real estate development company has
recently converted downtown's Davis Building and Dallas Power and Light
towers into apartments. "We have all made such an investment into downtown,
and we're worried this facility will undermine that investment."
Addressing media members and downtown business owners, Dallas City Council
member Bill Blaydes suggested placing a homeless assistance facility just
outside the boundaries of downtown - either on the corner of Industrial
Boulevard and Continental Avenue or south of Interstate 30 on South Central
Expressway.
The business leaders' proposal is meritorious, and they should be commended
for suggesting alternative sites, said Tom Dunning, who led a task force
that recommended the site in downtown's southeast quadrant.
"But we still believe the site we have selected makes the most sense. It's
right in the center of where current services are already available," Mr.
Dunning said. "But this is something for the council to decide."
Mayor Laura Miller said Monday by e-mail, "The downtown developers have been
concerned about the St. Louis site for several months, and as more
development deals are announced in the center city the more the concern
grows."
The mayor says she'd consider endorsing one of the two alternate sites - the
location on South Central Expressway at Hickory and Bluebell streets, about
a half mile southeast from the leading site at St. Louis Street inside
Dallas' downtown core.
In its final report, Mr. Dunning's task force ranked the South Central
Expressway site second.
"It is outside the central business district - just barely, but nevertheless
outside of it, and certainly if our downtown developers are willing to
participate financially in that site, that's a win-win for everybody," Ms.
Miller said.
A council meeting to discuss the issue is set Wednesday night.
The 2003-05 council has already endorsed the Dunning task force's
recommendation.
But Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill says he might support another location because of
impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
"I have not made a firm decision, but I'm seriously thinking that we need to
go in a different direction," Mr. Hill said.
Council member Pauline Medrano, who represents sections of downtown Dallas,
said she's committed to fighting for the site already adopted by the
council.
The Central Dallas Association, which represents many of downtown's leading
businesses, has not developed a formal position on the homeless center site,
president Alice Murray said.
Mr. Hamilton's coalition counts more than 50 companies and business
interests among its ranks, together with more than $1 billion invested in
downtown.
E-mail dlevinthal@dallasnews.com