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City of Dallas City Council Briefing on Preservation

Preservation in downtown Dallas was on the agenda at the City Council Briefing on November 18. Preservation supporters helped fill the briefing room in a show of support for better protections for our historic buildings in downtown.

In the open microphone session both Katherine Seale, Chair of the City of Dallas Landmark Commission, and Scott Potter, Vice-President for Preservation Issues on the Preservation Dallas Board of Trustees, spoke in favor of the city taking action to study ways to better protect historic buildings downtown. In Katherine’s presentation, as Chair of the Landmark Commission, she recommended that a Task Force be organized by the Landmark Commission and fall under their purview with a 90 day time limit to come up with suggestions to bring back to Council.

During the briefing David Cossum, the Director of the Sustainable Development and Construction Department at the City of Dallas, presented background on historic preservation, the Dallas Downtown National Register Historic District, historic structures not currently protected, and recommended strategies. Those strategies included the establishment of a Task Force to prioritize preservation efforts in the downtown area, updating the City’s Preservation Plan, and a change in the process for demolitions downtown. To view the presentation briefing click here.

After the presentation by city staff the Mayor and City Council asked questions and discussed the creation of the Task Force. The Council agreed that the Task Force would be best suited to fall under the Landmark Commission. Katherine will now have the task of getting that set up. She has plans for it to include a wide range of people from various organizations with professionals in preservation, real estate, commercial and downtown development, architecture, planning, and more.

This is a great first step and will allow some time to develop solid ideas to help protect historic buildings downtown. However, there is still much work to be done, especially with convincing the City Council and general public that it is in the city’s best interest to protect its historic buildings downtown. Especially if Dallas is to have a vibrant urban core to attract new businesses, residents and growth.

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