East Dallas/Lakewood residents are hopeful neighborhood concerns will remain on the front burner when a new City Council is sworn in this month for a two-year term.
Their wish lists are pretty basic, neighborhood and business leaders agree: Continued emphasis on crime control, swift response to code enforcement complaints, easy access to council members, and street and sidewalk repairs.
Those issues received prominent play during the election campaigns this spring in Districts 2,9, and 14, and residents and business leaders are watching to see if the discussion continues as the new council begins work.
Two East Dallas/Lakewood incumbents will return to the council, Chris Luna in District 2 and Glenn Box in District 9. Each easily won reelection. In District 14, Craig McDaniel faced Sharon Boyd in a runoff on May 29 to fill the seat vacated by Lori Palmer, who did not run for reelection.
Mary Jane Beaman, president of the Old East Dallas Coalition, says East Dallas/Lakewood has specific needs that must be addressed by the new Council, including swift responses to requests to demolish substandard buildings, problems with incompatible zoning and the need for more social services.
Streamlining the demolition process should top the list, she says. “They’re just a dreadful eyesore on East Dallas.”
Helen Flint, secretary of the Munger Place Historic District, says the new District 14 council member should hold more town hall meetings to increase accessibility to residents.
“We need somebody with an ear to speak for us,” she says. “It’s real hard for us. It’s extremely slow to get anything, even a vacant lot mowed.
Also high on the neighborhood agenda is reducing crime and maintaining the aging infrastructure.
“We feel the infrastructure has been neglected in the area.” Beaman says. “When they paved over our streets they just put down tar and gravel which just made it worse until the gravel washed down the gutters.”
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