Friday, June 12, 2009

Re:Vision Dallas FAQ 6/4/09, Part II

Picking up from yesterday with the question everybody wants to know and I can’t really answer yet, “What’s the City of Dallas going to put in to the project?”

2. It seems I read somewhere that the city of Dallas was contributing $10m to the funding, is this true?

We are a little early on to be talking about the commitment of specific dollars by the City of Dallas to the project--I haven't even had a chance to show the winning designs to city officials yet. But the Dallas is clearly committed to this project, Mayor Leppert has made that clear, and we've been having discussions with key city officials for some time now. I fully expect the City of Dallas will make a very significant financial contribution to the project--enough to make sure it gets built and is successful. No question $10 million is probably in the right ball park, but it may take more or less. We'll work that out with the city over the coming months. We've already seen some very creative financing ideas from the City of Dallas.

3. What is the specific level of involvement of the city of Dallas within this project?

The City of Dallas has been involved from the very beginning. The Dallas Design Charette was held at City Hall with the Mayor giving the introductory address and city officials from all the key departments in attendance. It isn't just the City of Dallas that was involved, though. A whole range of public and private entities are already involved in this project. Re:Vision Dallas is a community project.

4. The organization behind this is from San Francisco (urban re:vision) why doesn’t Dallas do this on its own?

I suppose Dallas could have, but Urban Re:Vision already had the very specific expertise that we needed--running design contests for sustainable projects. Urban Re:Vision did a wonderful job and attracted an amazing number of brilliant designs to the competition. Remember, the Re:Vision Dallas competition was worldwide in scope. The winners were from Europe, North Carolina and San Francisco. Entries came from fourteen countries and included some excellent designs from here in Dallas--I think at least one, perhaps two, Dallas entrants are going to get special mention from the jury. One of the top six entries did come from Texas, although it was from Houston.
In short, we probably could have run a design contest, but I doubt we could have done it as well as Urban Re:Vision has. As a proud “Dallasite”, I would rather how San Francisco let Dallas get ahead of it on this project.

5. Are any stimulus funds being used for this project? If so, how are those being obtained and will they be put towards a specific aspect of this project?
We are still going through the funding that's becoming available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to see what funding may be available for this project. Many of the programs have yet to issue the rules to access them, so we'll just have to wait and see on those programs. Several programs extended or expanded by ARRA will almost certainly be involved: renewable energy credits; New Market Tax Credits; and Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

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