Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NIMBY strikes again. . .even Downtown

It just never fails.

Here's how the process almost always works out:

1. Propose a first class, beautifully designed housing asset.  Fact:  In most cases such plans involve dramatic improvement of the existing real estate chosen for such a project. 

2. Determine that said asset will provide homes, that's right homes, for very poor persons; yes, even formerly homeless persons. [This is a fact that for some reason escapes the ordinary citizen: once a person has a home, a roof over his/her head, they can no longer be considered homeless, but I digress.]

3.  Work hard to align sources with intended uses and put together the financial dimensions and details of the plan. 

4.  Line up necessary support for financing.  Almost all major, significant developments like what's in mind here require both public financing and political support. 

5.  Communicate your plans and intentions to the public, with special attention to the neighborhood surrounding the purposed development. 

6.  Batten down the hatches, dive for cover and prepare for an assault on your plans!

As I say, it almost never fails. 

Folks may say they favor permanent housing for the very poor, the homeless.  But any hint that such a development is planned for anywhere near their property, home, business, or school and you'll witness incredible opposition. 

The latest example of such opposition was reported in last Sunday's edition of The Dallas Morning News ("Uneasy neighbors," Metro section 1B, 4B, April 8, 2012). 

Happy Easter, Dallas! 

In this case the main, reported opposition comes from the Dallas Farmers Market, more accurately from the "Dallas Farmers Market Friends" and the "Dallas Farmers Market Stakeholders Association,"  both fine citizens' groups, I'm sure. 

The project in question connects at least indirectly with CitySquare since John Greenan, Central Dallas Community Development Corporation, is one of the developers.  CitySquare organized the Central Dallas CDC in 2001 to serve the community in developing first-class, affordable housing.  Since the completion of CityWalk @Akard, the CDCDC continues to be involved in a number of projects to provide permanent supportive housing to the homeless of Dallas. 

You will find the news story here

Let me know what you think after you've read it.


Anonymous said...

Strange how many small towns fight to get prisons placed in their midst, but how few people anywhere want to accept the people coming out.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. James… this is Debbie Bozeman-Zook, President of the Dallas Farmers Market Friends. I hope you know I regret your disappointment and your frustration but may I offer another perspective?

To have a NIMBY attitude would be to not have any services or shelters or stewpots ‘in my backyard’. But the Dallas Farmers Market District already is home to the largest homeless shelter in Dallas, The Bridge that provides a valuable and very important service to the city of Dallas. The nearby Stewpot program is a very successful program for bringing food to our homeless.

The fact that each of those facilities sit within a block or two of the Dallas Farmers Market rather blows the NIMBY theory out of the water.

We consider the Dallas Farmers Market a historical icon on the landscape of our city. And its future is uncertain. Not just with the housing issues but also with the potential privatization and the concern for the unspent bond money. In our opinion, a great deal is on the line and the DFMFriends feel, as the current stewards of its fate, that awareness of this situation must be broadcast loud and clear.

DFMFriends and CitySquare are currently partnering to bring the SNAP program (new acronym for food stamps) to the DFM and the Pilot Program will be in effective in June, less than two months away. The Dallas Farmers Market is, without doubt, doing its part to be part of the homeless and the hungry crisis.

We wish you and your programs success and are proud that we are a part of them. We feel that the time to defend the Dallas Farmers Market from 'game-changing' decisions is now...before it is too late.