Shortly after Alamo Drafthouse announced the construction of a nine-screen movieplex at the former Tom Thumb space at Skillman and Abrams, property owners and developers presented renderings to our city’s Urban Design Peer Review panel depicting a conceived trail entrance at the north end of the shopping center. As it stands, a makeshift entrance to the White Rock Creek Trail, clandestine and made of gravel, exists there, across Abrams from Top Golf. The Park department’s Peter Bratt says the idea of increasing trail accessibility at the new development is exciting, though not without challenges. An official trail entrance, for one thing, would need to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the grade from Abrams to the trail is excessively steep. Then there is the matter of funding. Retail Plaza Inc., not Alamo, owns the center, and agreed to make improvements to accommodate the Alamo, though no commitment to trail improvement funding has been discussed. Also the project sits outside the Skillman Corridor Tax Increment Financing District and therefore cannot draw public funds for property upgrades unless those lines are redrawn, which can happen. There are ways to do that, says District 10 Councilman Adam McGough. “Make a proposal, just like anything else … I can’t say until I’ve seen [a proposal] but I believe I would support it.” The project, cheered by McGough, District 9’s representative Mark Clayton and residents of the surrounding Lake Highlands and East Dallas neighborhoods, is actually in Jennifer Staubach Gates’ City council District 13, which covers Vickery Meadow and Preston Hollow.
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