March 15, 2007

2007 Lake Highlands Junior Women’s League

The Lake Highlands Junior Women's League, in collaboration with the City of Dallas and the Parks and Recreation Department, is excited to announce the future construction of a loop trail on the grounds of the Lake Highlands North Recreation Center Park, located on Church Road, between White Rock Trail and Fieldcrest Drive. The proceeds from the LHJWL's Fun Run, to be held on April 28, 2007, will be combined with approved bond money to fund this project. The Loop Trail will complement the LHJWL's popular 2006 Spray Ground project, also located on the grounds of the Lake Highlands North Recreation Center. The trail will run along the southern portion of the recreation center grounds, and will connect the playground area on the eastern side of the park at Fieldcrest Drive to the Spray Ground and playground on the western side of the park at White Rock Trail. The trail will be approximately one mile long, and will offer a recreation opportunity to community members of all ages, including family groups and walkers looking for a scenic place to exercise in the Lake Highlands area. Other amenities and improvements for the park are also planned, including a Frank Welch pavilion, funded by the Lake Highlands Women's League and the Lake Highlands Exchange Club in collaboration with the City of Dallas and the Parks and Recreation Department, which will be constructed close to the recreation center building. Improved and increased parking on the White Rock Trail side, as well as additional concrete surrounding the spray ground will also add to the improvements of the park. Construction on the Loop Trail and Pavilion is scheduled to begin in Fall 2007.

March 14, 2007



Date: February 22, 2007
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Wallace Cafeteria

Craig Wheeler, LHENA president, called the meeting to order. Minutes from last general meeting were APPROVED.

Treasurer’s report was posted. Report was approved.

Alan Walne, past president of LHENA, was recognized and thanked for serving as LHENA president for the last two years. Past board members recognized were Derek and Becky Reidling, Erin Anderson, Susan Arends, Don Longfellow, Lisetta Layer, Michele and John Parkin, and Lisa English.

Current board members were introduced.

The Volunteers in Protection (VIP) program was discussed. Craig announced the dates of training for VIP program. He encouraged those interested in participating to see Jim Young.

Kevin presented information regarding the Easter Egg Hunt to be held March 31, 2 pm., on the Wallace Elementary playground. He encouraged everyone to be there by 2 pm.

The LHENA Newsletter was mailed to entire membership and a mass distribution to all residents was completed for the first quarter. After that, newsletters are sent to LHENA members only.

Craig showed the “Newcomer Pail” containing items we give to people who move into our neighborhood.

Craig reported LHENA collected and donated $6,000.00 to the families who were impacted by the fire on Mapleridge last spring.

Speakers were introduced:
Jeremy Gilbert – Principal at Wallace
Glenda Howell – Principal at Northlake (since 2005).
Bill Blaydes – District 10 City Council Representative

Glenda Howell talked about “what is happening at Northlake”. One of their goals is to make a stronger connection with their students at Northlake. Northlake has 525 students and is a “Recognized Campus”. The Student Council President, Wayne Taylor, spoke about his job. He shared information regarding the Recycling Project at Northlake. They also recognize “positive” students by referring them to the office, for something good. Vice-president, Keshanda Carraby, helps the president recognize students. She reported on the Food Drive held at Northlake in December. They collected 477 pounds of food. Secretary, Itzell Araujo, reported the Student Council is raising money to purchase chess sets for each classroom through selling raffle tickets.

Ms. Howell also reported they have been site visit from two other school districts due to the success they have achieved. The schools who visit have matching demographics. Northlake is serving as a great example of elementary schools to other districts in the state. Northlake Science scores increased 21/% in one year.

Jeremy Gilbert reported it is important for Wallace to be “your neighborhood school”. When he first started at Wallace, neighborhood students were 20% of the student body. Now, neighborhood students comprise 45% of the student body. Wallace was recognized in Texas Monthly as one of the top schools in Texas. They also received the Superintendent’s Medallion given to reward schools for academic excellence. Wallace was very close to Exemplary level this last year. He supplied a sheet with data regarding Wallace, including his direct phone line and email. He encouraged everyone to contact him with concerns as well as compliments.

Bill Blaydes, our City Council Representative, spoke to the group. He will host a Town Hall Meeting the third week in March at LHHS. This will be a “show and tell” for the town center development at Skillman and Walnut Hill. The proposal is “fantastic”! It includes all 3 apartment complexes on the southeast quadrant of Walnut Hill and Skillman as well as some apartments north of Walnut Hill. The DART station is designed to be on north side of Walnut Hill behind the private school. Some of the housing around the DART station will be designated “senior” only. The development will consist of housing, retail development, a lake and park. He encouraged everyone to come to the meeting to see the details.

Additionally, a group is looking at a total redevelopment at Forest and Central. There is a group that is trying to buy all the houses in Hamilton Park. They have purchased approximately 42% of the homes. They hope to block the entire area. He does not anticipate those who have lived in Hamilton Park for 20+ years to sell.

Forest and Greenville: Apartment complex at NW corner has gone back to lenders. It is in terrible shape and has high crime. The lender is trying to sell. The company who bought the office building across the street for a private high school is attempting to purchase it as well as library site and shopping center site.

Wal-mart is under construction on Forest Lane. Completion date is Fall, 2007.

Royal and Skillman: Two groups are involved in discussing the purchase of apartments on SW corner. This is a location where height of a building may be feasible, possibly up to ten stories. Other developers are looking at other sites in this area.

Plaza Rios Shopping Center: (Audelia and Skillman) This center has three parts with three different owners. The part with Tom Thumb has been purchased and they want to completely remodel the shopping center in a southwest style. They are hoping to get Tom Thumb to spend $1,000,000.00 to remodel the store. JAH Realty has closed on the deal and plan to make changes soon.

Another group is looking at Country Squire area (Royal Lane just prior to LBJ) to build town homes for purchase in $180,000 to $200,000 range.

Skillman and Walnut Hill – Developers will be presenting information at Town Hall Meeting

Audelia and Walnut Hill – environmental work is being done on NE corner at the Mobil station and old Ebby Halliday building. This area is under contract for “major retail development”.

Highland Crest apartments are back on the market. These apartments are in TIF, so that will widen opportunities for a developer. It is multi-family. Bill has been contacted by developers regarding these apartments.

Some developers have purchased in “L” streets for teardown and rebuilding of “McMansions”. Bill discussed the concerns some homeowners may have regarding this type of development. He anticipates we will see much more of this in the “L” streets and south of Walnut Hill.

NW Highway and Plano Road: DART purchased SE corner several years ago. They also purchased part of the NE and NW corners. This will become a major transit turnaround for their buses.

Apartments behind and next to Kroger at NW Highway and Plano are in limbo. Three different developers have put them under contract and not followed through. They are leasing to Dallas Police Department to use for training on how to deal with multi family housing problems. You may drive by and see multiple police cars there, so don’t panic. If buyer is not found soon, they may go on market as apartments instead of town homes.

Park department is still “most favored: for getting Armory, thanks to all the letters and emails from neighbors. Nothing should be happening before the next 18 months.

Skillman and NW Highway – Crow project is in limbo. LULAC has filed concerns regarding environment concerns. More public hearings will be held to determine if creek can be moved. Core of Engineers say there is no problem with movement of creek. Crow has presented a very “green” retail project but cannot move forward due to these concerns. Bill stated it may be difficult for Crow to hold on to this project.

North of LBJ: “Friends, we got troubles there and I don’t know how to solve it.” The environment is not on an urban corridor so it is difficult to get retail. The area is 40% declining multifamily housing. Bond money was approved for park land north of LBJ ($4,000,000). This money is to be used to buy an apartment complex and “rejuvenate” with a park. Possibly may move Forest Greenville Library to that area since current location has been purchased. Bonds for these projects will be sold November, 2010. Park monies for the south side (Town Center) are approved for sale November 2007.

Town Creek at Walnut Hill and Skillman: It will take 11 months to complete the environmental for the Town Creek development. Developers plan to begin environmental in May, 2007. Building period will take 2 years.


What is going on with Beer and Wine election? Beer and wine sales were previously eliminated by election in 1882. In order to change, you have to go back to same precinct boundaries and authorities cannot find out where the boundaries were. The “pros” have all the signatures required. This is only for beer and wine sales in grocery stores.

What is going on at corner of Church and Skillman? (SW corner) The people who bought Town Center purchased both lots. They are attempting to purchase church there also. Previous attempts to purchase have failed. This property is owned by a central body. The title says land must be used for a church, otherwise ownership reverts to original owner. This is zoned single family. The families who owned the land were descendants of slaves who worked this land – Jefferson and Ford families. These families had covenants not to sell unless other family sold. The land on the northwest corner is owned by another individual.

Bill reported on development off Stults Road to White Rock Creek. He invited everyone to visit the development. It is being built as a “green” area.

What is happening at the High School with the chain link fence? Construction is getting ready to begin. The front door and office area is being re-located. They are adding another building at the back and developing a “tower” at the front of the building. Restrooms are being added to baseball area.

How many apartments on Skillman, going south from Walnut Hill, will go away? All of them. Developers are still trying to buy Everwood.

Planned lease rate for lofts in Town Center are highest in Northeast Dallas. Housing (town home or zero lot line) will be at the high end.

Bill reported there are 22 people in mayor’s race. He thinks 3 candidates will stand out. It is important the person truly believes Dallas is moving forward. He encouraged everyone to listen carefully to the candidates and make an informed choice.

Late announcement: The LHHS Wranglers will have a “dance off” fundraiser with Berkner High on Saturday, March 24.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Becky Yates
Secretary to LHENA

March 11, 2007

Another Resident's Opinion on McMansions

The lettter below is from a neighbor in support of McMansions.

The initial reaction of many people to tear-downs/rebuilds in our L-Streets neighborhood is negative. Fears of declining home values and increase property taxes seem to be the most common negative concerns. However, not all residents of our area feel this way. I for one feel that this negative reaction is shortsighted and selfish. Yes, we all love our neighborhood for its quaintness and charm. However, change is inevitable and things do get old. The fact is, there are many homes in the L-Streets that have fallen into disrepair, are vacant, or are not maintained by their owners. That may be hard for some people to accept, but it is a fact. I wish all of the residents in the L-Streets took pride in their homes, but unfortunately many do not. These homes hurt the aesthetic value of the neighborhood – they make the area look run-down and attract a certain element that none of us want. As a result, values of homes in our area have not kept up with the overall housing market in Dallas. I would much rather have these unkempt homes torn down and replaced by a new home as opposed to allowing these trends to continue.

New home construction stimulates economic development. Increasing home values attract higher incomes and more retail expansion. This means more stores, more restaurants, and more amenities that will improve the quality of life for our area. It’s very simple – just follow the money. It’s called progress.

As for property taxes, I would prefer to pay my taxes in a growing, thriving, improving neighborhood versus one that is declining in value. Local governments will continue to raise property taxes as much as allowed by law whether rebuilds occur or not.

In closing, I love the L-Streets for its location, its people, and its charm. However, I also believe it can be made even better by replacing certain homes with newer ones and attracting new business to the area. In the end, it will increase the value of properly maintained, updated homes and make the neighborhood a nicer, safer place to live.

Bill Blaydes Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Lake Highlands Freshman Center Auditorium
10200 White Rock Trail

Agenda includes:

Introduce the developer of the Lake Highlands Town Center (Skillman & Walnut Hill)
· View Renderings of the Center
· Q & A Session

City Council Office: 214-670-4068
Report Code Violations: 311