FERGUSON ROAD INITIATIVE
COMMUNITY CONNECTION LEADERSHIP MEETING
Serving Far East Dallas;
Casa Linda/Forest Hills, Greater Casa View, White Rock East, and White Rock Hills
Monday, October 14, 2013, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
White Rock Church of Christ, 9220 Ferguson Road
Meeting Purpose: To update and engage the community on the exciting future of our community and potential partnership with the Dallas Arboretum.
- Shared understanding on the status of the Regional Recreation & Wellness Center
- Shared understanding of the proposed Arboretum Horticulture Center
- Q & A, Identify Issues, Concerns, and Negotiating Points
- Unanimous agreement with proceeding with the 5-Year Interim Land Use Agreement, factoring in the feedback by neighborhood leaders.
- Sponsors: FRI Board of Directors
- Facilitator: Vikki J. Martin, Chair
- Presenter: Dr. Gerry Jones, Economic Development, Chair for FRI
- Scribe: Bobbi Bilnoski
- Listen and respect the comments and ideas of others.
- Honor time limits, stick to the agenda.
- Share your experience and perspective with the group
Decision Making: Consensus, Fallback: Majority vote.
- Amanda Buckley, Casa View Haven NA
- Ann Bagley, Forest Meade NA
- Bill Coleman, FRI Board-CLFNA
- Bob Porterfield, Casa Linda Forest NA
- Bob Richie, Forest Meade NA
- Bobbi Bilnoski, FRI Consultant-Ec Dev
- Carolyn Castro, Hillridge
- Dave Forehand, Dallas Arboretum
- Denise Davis, Little Forest Hills NA
- Diane Anderson, White Rock Village CW
- Dolores Wolfe, Enclave at Ash Creek
- Ed Snyder, FRI Board—Lakeland Hills
- Eric Boon, Doctors Hospital
- Gerry Worrall, Park Board, Dist 9
- Harriett Mason, Hillridge Terrace NA
- James Berry, Eastwood Hills NA
- John Van Buskirk, Claremont Addition NA
- Kurt Watkins, Cultural Affairs, Dist. 7
- Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum
- Max Davis, Little Forest Hills NA
- Michael Hellman, PARD
- Rosemary Farmer, UNITE
- Rossi Walter, Good Samaritan Epis Ch
- Shannon Devilbiss, Forest Meade NA
- Susan Ayoob, Hillridge NA
- Vikki Martin, FRI President–CANA
- William G. Jones, FRI Board–FHNA
- Vikki Martin started the meeting at 7:00 p.m. with introductions.
- William G. Jones, FRI board member and chair of the Economic Development Committee made a presentation about the proposed Arboretum Horticulture Center, after which the Arboretum CEO and staff answered questions from neighborhood leaders.
- After dismissing the Arboretum guests, the neighborhood leader’s explored issues and concerns as documented below.
- A straw poll was taken and there was unanimous support to proceed with negotiations pending neighborhood input. There were no abstentions or nay votes.
- Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 pm.
Neighborhood Leader Feedback
- What will be done to limit arboretum traffic on neighborhood streets, like Highland, St. Francis or Lakeland? FRI and the Arboretum will document traffic route and parking agreements in the Park Dept. interim land-use agreement contract.
- How will toxic chemicals be handled at the Horticulture Center? The Arboretum will provide documentation of the regulations they follow regarding use and disposal of herbicides/pesticides/ chemicals used on the site.
- Where will employees and delivery trucks be parking on the site? A detailed site plan will illustrate that required parking is available on the site.
- Will there be good lighting and security at the Horticulture Center? Yes, the site plan will include lighting plans.
- What is the maintenance and security plan for the Horticulture Center? The Arboretum will be 100% responsible for maintenance and security of the site. It is a part of the organization.
Financial and Economic Development
- How many employees will work at the Horticulture Center? Seven to eight employees will work there full time.
- How much will the Arboretum invest in the Horticulture Center? Approximately 3 million for phase one, and another 4 million for the Education Center in phase two.
- What is the annual operating budget for the Horticulture Center? About $700, 000 annually.
- How would this partnership help FRI accomplish its vision of a Regional Recreation Wellness Center? Having the Horticulture Center as a visible and credible anchor organization on the site lends credibility and clout to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) that will be responsible for raising $25 – 35million dollars for the Regional Recreation and Wellness Center.
- Will the Arboretum’s Horticulture Center partner with the Park Dept. and FRI in the efforts to raise funds for the Regional Recreation Wellness Center? The Arboretum will be 100% responsible for raising all funds needed for the Horticulture Center. As a nonprofit, the Arboretum is not allowed to raise funds for the Park Dept. to use in building the Regional Recreation Wellness Center. Their level of support and/or participation in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) is yet to be determined.
RFQ/RFP Selection Process
- What is the scope of the feasibility study? Is it just for the Arboretum Horticulture Center? Is it just for the Recreation Center? Or is it for both? It will communicate the “vision” for a destination development that includes the Regional Recreation Wellness Center and the Horticulture Center on one site. The Park Dept. currently owns a 3 acre site and is in the process of acquiring 4 additional acres (the apartment complexes that are adjacent. The professional team will be encouraged to identify a solution for the joint development if at all possible, and they will be instructed to explore other locations in the FRI boundaries, if the current site is not feasible.
- Who will be on the Park Dept. RFQ selection committee? The Park Dept. will allow FRI to appoint representatives on the selection committee. Details to be worked out.
- If the Park Dept. owns the land, and it is an allowable use, why do they care if FRI wants the Arboretum there or not? The Park Dept. has been working with FRI since 1995 to make the Regional Recreation and Wellness Center dream come true. Without FRI, not progress would have been made to secure funding in two bond elections to purchase the land. The Park Dept. honors this relationship and wants to support a win-win solution that would be in the best interests of both FRI and the Arboretum. If FRI would prefer not partner with the Arboretum, or find the developments are not compatible, the Park Dept. will honor that and will not pursue an interim land-use agreement.
- Where did the Arboretum Service Center move to? Off NW Hwy, by the police department.
- Did the Arboretum consider other locations – like Sunset Bay? Yes, it was rejected due to neighborhood opposition.
- Would the Arboretum be willing to acquire their additional land needed by purchasing the retail strip along Ferguson instead of using the FRI Recreation Center land? This will be a request in the 5-year interim land use agreement.
- Would the arboretum provide seasonal color along Highland Road during the interim (hardy and drought resistant)? The chain link fence and grass cloth is not sufficient for 5 years. This will be requested during the interim land use agreement. We would not expect the full treatment of stone columns and wrought iron fencing during the interim, but some crepe myrtles and lantana would go a long way and making a positive impression on the community during the 5-year interim use and will help as we attract investors for the Regional Recreation Wellness Center.
- Can the Arboretum help start a Community Garden? They cannot manage a community garden but would love to provide the educational resources needed to help community leaders and volunteers pursue this idea.
- Will the Arboretum’s vision for an Education Center be compatible with FRI’s vision for the Recreation Center? Yes, the Education Center could actually become a “wing” of the new Recreation Center, offering economies of scale in parking, facility use, etc.
Impact on the FRI Recreation Center Plans
- Will the Horticulture Center need more land in the future? No – this plan is all they would ever need for the current 66 acre park they manage. They would like to be a partner of FRI for life.
- How will the Horticulture Center affect the Recreation Center plan? Yes, having the Horticulture Center and the beautiful “brand” of the Arboretum will make the site much more attractive for additional investment in recreation and retail.
- What is the end-game for the Horticulture Center? If it is a 5-year interim land use agreement, will they be willing to vacate at the end and restore the property if a joint development is not feasible? The Arboretum would like to be a permanent part of FRI’s vision for the Regional Recreation Wellness Center and accompanying development. FRI would not have entered into an interim agreement if the long term use was not compatible. However, if the feasibility study determines that the two developments are not compatible, or if the Horticulture Center interferes in anyway with the Recreation Center, the Arboretum will agree to vacate the property and leave it in better condition than they found it.
- How would the Horticulture Center be tied into the Park Dept. plan to build White Rock South trail and trail head? Details would have to be worked out, but the Arboretum could help design the natural environment to tie all developments together into a cohesive and beautiful landscape.
- Will the Arboretum be an active member and supporter of FRI and its community improvement initiatives? While not a condition, the Arboretum will have an opportunity to join FRI and make a three year commitment as a Founding Member to demonstrate their commitment and support to partner with FRI for the improvement of Far East Dallas.
- Little Forest Hills has worked very successfully with the Arboretum on their parking issues. We’ve been very pleased and have a good working relationship with them. They’ve listened, shared information, attending requested meetings and honor our opinions.
- This is truly a win-win-win proposal. FRI wins in that this helps us achieve our dream of both interim use of the land and credibility that something is happening towards our vision, the Park Department wins for putting the two projects together in a way that will save resources and support development of both projects, and the Arboretum wins by solving both their short-and-long-term needs for a permanent Horticulture Center.
- The Park Dept. and leadership from Willis Winters and Michael Hellman is commendable. They didn’t have to include us and they did! They gave us the opportunity to have input into the decision, the interim land use agreement and the elements of the RFQ/RFP process, they will include us on the selection committee and will ensure opportunity for Townhall meetings to gather community input.
- The FRI board is such a good steward of community resources and consistently brings positive ideas and developments to the community for their consideration before agreeing to pursue the. Kudos to them!