Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
Improvements to help attract new business to the neighborhood around the American Airlines Center won support Monday from Dallas City Council members, but the new vision for Victory Park -- including changing streets, adding parking, shopping and connecting the Katy Trail -- is getting a mixed reponse from residents and city leaders.
Improvements to help attract new business to the neighborhood around Victory Park won support Monday from Dallas City Council members.
City Council members are also insisting on additional measures for The Victory Project, including extension of the popular Katy Trail from Uptown.
“The Katy Trail is such a resource and this would be one of the biggest missed opportunities and a huge regret if we did not extend the Katy Trail through this development,” said Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs.
When voters approved construction of the sports arena at the site of a former power plant in 1998, a vibrant new neighborhood of stores, restaurants and homes was part of the plan.
But the project fell short. Most retail space constructed in the development is now vacant.
Lance Fair is Chief Operating Officer of Estein and Associates, the lead firm in a partnership to complete the unfinished Victory Project.
“The economy certainly was a difficult thing,” Fair said. “I think there were some errors made in the original development, certainly with the traffic planning. We’re trying to correct all that now and I think in time we will.”
The Dallas City Council Economic Development Committee endorsed reconstruction of two key streets on Monday, to improve foot traffic and support more retail space – which could include a grocery store.
“There’s other anchors you could get to have activity there outside event night so that people want to be there not just on event night,” Fair said.
City council will vote on those changes Oct. 23.
The plan also calls for making one-way streets, including Houston Street, into two-way streets with separate city council action later.
Council members also asked for improved access to the Victory DART Rail Station and for the Katy Trail extension.
The current Katy plan would use a portion of Houston Street to extend the trail from where it ends now north of the AAC to Victory Park at the south end of the project.
People using the trail said they prefer a hike and bike path that is separated from roads.
“I don’t like the street,” said frequent Katy Trail visitor Teresa Webb. “I don’t like the traffic. To me I feel safe in this area.”
Griggs said it is important to work out all the problems to make the most of Victory.
“And this is the Council that’s going to do it,” Griggs said. “We’re going to make it happen and we’re going to turn around this development.”