‘Downtown Dallas now has these institutions in place. They’re waiting for the city.’ Indeed we are. (Another perspective)

on September 21, 2009 / by Downtown Dallas Inc. / in Arts and Culture, Blog Posts, Clean and Safe, Doing Business

Continuing on Kristy’s train of thought, I too paused on the quote from Mayne  “…downtown Dallas now has these institutions in place.  They’re waiting for the city.”  However, in addition to the perpetual “ho-hum” attitude with which a disturbing majority of Dallasites approach pride and engagement in our home town,  I was also taken with King’s observations on the bigger picture of humanizing urbanity.

Going back to Kristy’s initial question – “So waiting, yes, but for what exactly?”  My immediate reaction was, “what is meant by  ‘the city’” ?  No, this isn’t a dig on City Hall.  King defines Mayne’s reference to “the city” by  addressing the importance of integrating significant architecture into a surrounding context (if I may be so bold as to draw that correlation).  The surrounding context being residents, storefronts, entertainment…life.  In essence, even the most highly regarded architectural statement cannot alone create a complete urban fabric.  Thus, my mind jumps to the symbiotic relationship between the Arts District and the whole of Downtown.   The Arts District is a component of the greater puzzle – albeit it most certainly one of critical the center pieces that will propel Downtown redevelopment forward by light years.

Let me point again to a project hot on DOWNTOWNDALLAS and the City’s agenda – the Downtown Area Plan.   Why yet ANOTHER plan?  Number one priority: connectivity.  News Flash – Downtown, as a whole, is not dead.  We’re just not connected – yet.  Patrons of the Arts District need to be made aware that Charlie Palmer on Main Street is just two light rail stops or a lovely evening stroll away (literally, it takes 10  minutes even at a leisurely pace, I’ve timed it).  Then consider that come 2015, a modern streetcar will buzz one to and fro.  Connections.  Part of the greater whole.  Begs a bit of a digression –

West End, though the marketplace and Planet Hollywood have closed their doors, the West End is still home to Dallas restaurants and kitschy boutiques – don’t tell me that even locals don’t need a cowboy hat for a costume party every now and then. Whatever will visitors do without Planet Hollywood? Well, Hard Rock and House of Blues are within 5 blocks.  Walking time from the Arts District: 6 minutes.
Victory Park, despite the recent reports of woes, is still a place to find restaurants, upscale boutiques, and the AAC (my, how soon we forget about this victory – pun intended – for Downtown!).  Walking time from the Arts District: 8 minutes.
Main Street District patrons…yes, there are patrons!…enjoy a hub of restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and hotels.  Remember the infamous quote from a Cleveland-based developer  a few years ago, “I could shoot a cannon down Main Street and not hit a single soul!”?  Well, please do me and our Downtown Safety Patrol a favor and let’s not test that out today – the 6,000 residents of the area and thousands of night-lifers might take issue.  And certainly don’t forget last week’s news – the developer of the Joule Hotel has acquired the majority of stagnant properties that have been cavities in our smile for the last several years.  Completion of our Main Street District vision has never felt so real. Walking time from the Arts District – 10 minutes.
Dallas Farmer’s Market is one of the only 7 day-a-week permanent open air markets in the country.  And with the enclosure and renovations occurring in  Shed 2 – we’re one step further to our own mini Ferry Building.  Walking time from the Arts District: 14 minutes.
Deep Ellum is still an artist haven with classic bars, restaurants, theaters, art galleries and the return of Dallas’ live music scene (Trees!).  Factoid of the day – more than 20 galleries and studios, 5 theaters and a laundry list of eclectic retail and restaurants.  Walking time from the Arts District: 11 minutes.

I will now stop my cheerleading.  Hopefully you get the point.

Yes, the Arts District along with these destinations are pieces of our very own emerging urban fabric in Downtown Dallas.  So while we are still building, still planning, and still connecting,  in the meantime, let’s all put the spotlight where it belongs in October, on the Dallas Arts District.  And give a little nod to the pieces of “the city” we’re filling in between.

~Kourtny (with due credit and co-authorship to Kristy!)

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