At June 20th’s Design District Tax Increment Financing (TIF) board meeting, both Texas Security Bank and the Trinity Strand Trail presented to the board their proposals for area improvements and the funds necessary to make them a reality. Led by Chairman of the Board Mike Morgan of Jim Lake Companies, the TIF District was created in 2005 to allow the City of Dallas to invest public funds into the Design District’s redevelopment, granting projects like street improvements, pedestrian trails and landscaping the means necessary for their execution.
On the agenda for the meeting was a proposal from Texas Security Bank for improving the medians on Turtle Creek Blvd., between Market Center and Irving Blvd., to enhance a gateway area of the district and the nearby Trinity Strand Trail plaza and trail head. The plans include landscaping similar to that on Hi Line Dr. as well as similar way-finding signage and sculptural accents. The board agreed to reimburse Texas Security Bank up to $116,356 for the improvements, which will be completed by May 2013.
The Trinity Strand Trail had a slightly larger request, applying to the TIF board for $500,000 for the soft surface trail design along a 2-mile stretch of the Trinity Strand Trail. The soft surface trail will be reserved for joggers and walkers and will run opposite to the already-funded hard surface trail, stretching from Farrington St. to Oak Lawn and Stemmons Freeway. Designs for the soft surface trail include a 2-mile 8′-wide trail of decomposed granite, five pedestrian bridges to cross from the hard trail to the soft trail, four low water crossings, signage, benches, handrails, up to three small plazas/overlooks, and pedestrian lighting. Design costs include working with the US Corps to adhere to engineering standards as well as obtaining the necessary permitting to go forward with the plans.
With a total of $662,438 set aside for district improvements, the board was initially concerned with spending most of their funds so early in the year. With both the Texas Security Bank and Trinity Strand requests, there would be $46,082 left in the budget. Everyone at the table agreed, however, that the trail would instigate much economic development in the area and is the one project that adds the most value to the Design District. After much negotiating, the board requested that the electrical costs ($70,000) and construction/administrative costs ($35,000) be removed from the design plans to be funded at another time and/or by other means. The Trinity Strand agreed to their request and were granted $400,000 for the design of the soft surface trail.
At the end of the meeting, the board, mediated by Sue Hounsel, the member of the Office of Economic Development who oversees the Design District TIF as well as the Oak-Lawn/Hi Line PID, briefly discussed the changes that PM Realty (the group that developed 1400 Hi Line) have planned for the Edison/Hi Line/Stemmons underpass. They will be improving the area for approximately $1.5 million, all to be funded by PM Realty.
Click on the images below to view the plans for the Turtle Creek medians and the soft surface stretch of the Trinity Strand Trail: