I woke up to this headline on DMN's Oak Cliff blog:
"Housing authority delays decision on West Dallas water sports project"
This headline refers to the Dallas Watersports Complex planned for Fish Trap Lake in West Dallas (which is owned by the Dallas Housing Authority). It would have created over 200 jobs and other opportunities for youth from lower-income households in the community. It would also take a forgotten lake in a struggling part of Dallas and helped to transform the area. Wakeboarding is just catching on here but is huge in other parts of the country and around the world.
To me, this delay is both disappointing and baffling.
This group has spent over $800,000, and from what I understand ordered millions of dollars in equipment. They did all the right things, engaged the community, and got unanimous approval at both the City Plan Commission and City Council level. They had major national events lined up for this site. And now, she wants to wait until winter of 2010 or spring 2011 JUST to make a decision.
I truly think the competency of the head of the DHA has to be questioned at this point. These are the kind of decisions that make people not want to invest in our City, because certain officials don't know when to push well-planned, well-funded projects and get out of the way and yet hold up the ones with issues that need to be worked out. On the other hand, the complete botching of the community relations surrounding the supportive housing plan in North Oak Cliff was pushed at all costs by the same entity. Ponder that for a moment.
I would also love to find out who this "coalition of West Dallas non-profits" is that is trying to derail the project. They had zero reservations as this project took months to move through City Plan Commission and City Council. Also, the lake was stagnant for decades. When the only push back is "the neighborhood doesn't want it," such an argument doesn't hold water because the lake is a city asset (not the asset of a given neighborhood) and we are not talking about an onerous use.
These type of decisions are the ones that keep West Dallas stagnant and stuck in another decade, despite the hard work of City officials, volunteers, and determined community members.