State Surplus Site Creates Eyesore for Arlington Neighbors

The Texas Department of Transportation has created an eyesore at the entrance to the Arlington Entertainment District near Six Flags Over Texas and Rangers Ballpark, according to neighbors who drive by the location.

Neighbors thought the new TxDOT surplus equipment sale site at Interstate 30 and state Highway 360 was just a temporary storage yard or new construction project as they noticed the grassy field filling with vehicles.

"I thought they were just working on something because I know they've been doing a lot of construction in Arlington and everywhere," said driver Latonya Davis.

It turns out the site -- now covered with old cars, trucks and heavy construction equipment -- is part of a TxDOT plan to raise up to $500 million over ten years by selling rarely used equipment.

Driver Rob Kelly thought the trucks were just parked there from the winter ice storm.

"But I didn't think it was going to stay there. I didn't know it was going to become a used car lot basically," Kelly said.

TxDOT spokesman Val Lopez said the equipment has been gathered from TxDOT maintenance yards around the state to be sold to the public as is.

If the agency finds some of the equipment was occasionally needed, Lopez said TxDOT will rent those items in the future instead of leaving them sitting idle most of the time.

"It will improve worker safety and give the department the flexibility to provide the right vehicle at the right time and right cost to our employees," Lopez said in an email.

Neighbors think the program might be good for the state but not for Arlington.

"If it's something they're not using and they can get some money for it, then God knows the state can use all the money it can get," driver Paul Jackson said. "It seems like it would have been a little more out of place instead of coming on a major intersection on the freeway."

"It might kind of take away from the tourism," Davis said.

Private dealers selling motor vehicles just down the road operate under numerous rules that do not appear to be in force at the TxDOT surplus sale location.

Ken Strickler, General Manager of Stadium Auto, said Arlington city enforcement officers have stopped his business from displaying vehicles on grass.

"Per Arlington code no vehicles are allowed to be on unpaved surfaces," he said.

Strickler said the state requires all of his vehicles to have a current state inspection sticker and a buyer's disclosure sticker that discloses warranty coverage.

"Every vehicle for sale, all 600 of ours' have that," Strickler said.

Those stickers do not appear on vehicles in the state lot, many of which are parked on grass.

Arlington imposed much tougher nuisance regulations for fencing, vehicle storage and more in 2008.

But the TxDOT state property is not subject to those rules or any city zoning codes.

"We have no authority," said Arlington spokesperson Sana Syed. "Our opinion does not matter."

The email from TxDOT spokesman Val Lopez said the agency now plans to move the equipment it has gathered at very visible Arlington intersection to a different location.

"It will most likely be moved by the end of summer," the email said.

That means it will still be there during the NCAA Basketball Final Four at nearby AT&T Stadium this spring.

"There's got to be a better spot, you know what I mean? You don't bring it to a tourist area," driver Rob Kelly said.

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