Townhall Meeting Minutes – September 2013


Serving Far East Dallas;
Casa Linda/Forest Hills, Greater Casa View, White Rock East, and White Rock Hills

Mark Your Calendars:
Our next FRI Community Connection Town Hall Meeting & Election of FRI Officers and Directors will be in February 11, 2014


Tuesday, September 10, 2013
White Rock Hills Branch Library, 9150 Ferguson Road

Meeting Purpose: To update and engage the community on the exciting future of our community.


  • Approved Minutes from our February 12, 2013 meeting.
  • Reviewed status of area schools.
  • Reviewed status of White Rock East.
  • Reviewed Urban Forestation Program.
  • Reviewed public safety.
  • Reviewed Be Covered Texas.
  • Reviewed “Beautiful Possibilities” Regional Recreation Wellness Center essay contest.
  • Reviewed Regional Recreation Wellness Center status.
  • Reviewed DonorBridge program.
  • Presented Obelisk Award to Gary Lawler.
  • Announced community meeting for Directions project.
  • Reviewed upcoming events.


  • Sponsors: FRI Board of Directors
  • Facilitator: Vikki J. Martin, President
  • Scribe: Gary Lawler
  • Timekeeper: John Van Buskirk


  • 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:
We strive for consensus, majority vote when needed.

Meeting Participants

  • Jennifer Afflerbach
  • Diane Anderson
  • Susan Ayoob
  • Doug Bedner, R1 Credit Union
  • Imelda Banda, State Farm Insurance
  • Brad Boling
  • Rob Brown
  • Carolyn Castro
  • Ellen Childress
  • Debra Chitsey
  • Sunny Coffman
  • Diana Gilbert
  • Jingles, McDonald’s
  • Jan Johnson
  • Kimberly Mauldrin
  • Willie Morgan, LSCU
  • Mike Nurre
  • Francisco Pataro
  • Gabriela Pataro
  • Diana Pollak, CAC
  • John Stettler
  • Jeana Streeter
  • John Van Buskirk
  • Nancy Weber


  • A.L. Anderson
  • Lee Barron
  • Melissa Bellan
  • Ken Benson
  • James Berry
  • Mara Black
  • Daniel Burds, Directions
  • Allison Chance, Reading Partners
  • Marsha Chism
  • Isabel Coubrough
  • Mary Crockhorn
  • Judy Edwards
  • Alix Emerson
  • Bill Hogan
  • Mary Hogan
  • John Barlow Hudson, artist
  • Christopher Jackson
  • Brittany Johnson, Speakeasy
  • Carolyn Johnson, Buckner Terrace NA
  • Charles Kennedy, Directions
  • Casey Klein, YMCA White Rock
  • Anne Kotrany
  • Erica Lloyd
  • Andy Maar
  • Mari Madison
  • Betty Oberhaus
  • Cozy Palmer
  • Darlene Reynolds, Buckner Terrace NA
  • Joanne E. Szalay
  • Desi Tanner
  • Ann Teague
  • Jena Whitley
  • Ken Zornes


  • Juan Ayala
  • Ann Bagley
  • Amanda Chase
  • Daniel Clayton
  • Theresa Daniel
  • Carolyn Davis
  • Brittany Dunn
  • Robert Garcia
  • Michael Hellman
  • Linda Kagy
  • Major Melissa McGee
  • Daniel Micciche
  • Merry Vickers
  • Tiffany A Young
  • Kurt Watkins
  • Willis Winters
  • State Rep. Eric Johnson’ Office
  • Plan Commission, Dist. 7
  • Community Prosecutor
  • State Sen. Royce West’s Office
  • County Commissioner
  • City Council, D7
  • County Commissioner’s Office
  • DISD, Parent Engagement Specialist
  • Dallas Parks Dept
  • State Sen. Bob Duell’s office
  • DPD
  • School Board, Dist. 3
  • Service Coordinator
  • Park Board, Dist. 7
  • Cultural Affairs, Dist. 7
  • Dallas Parks & Rec. Dept., Dir

FRI Board & Staff

  • Bobbi Bilnoski, Consultant
  • Jerry Clancy, Treasurer
  • Bill Coleman
  • Dr. Gerry Jones
  • Gary Lawler
  • Vikki Martin, Pres.
  • Ed Snyder
  • Maria Valenzuela, Bookkepper
  • Susan Walker, VP


Meeting Start Up
Vikki J. Martin convened the meeting at 6:30
Martin thanked Starbucks, Stacey Callaway Photography, and Friends of the Library.
Martin introduced elected and other officials.

County Commissioner Theresa Daniel said they were providing free mosquito spray to counter West Nile Virus.

Juan Ayala with State Representative Eric Johnson’s office presented Vikki Martin with a flag flown over the Texas State Capital.

Brittany Johnson, a representative from Speakeasy, FRI’s social media partner, spoke on FRI and DonorBridge, recommended that folks checkout the FRI Website and FaceBook.

Vikki Martin thanked Resource One for providing printed copies of FRI’s 2012 Annual Report.

Minutes Approval
Susan Walker moved and Bill Coleman seconded a motion to approve the February 12, 2013 meeting minutes. The motion passed.

School Update
Dan Micciche, DISD Board of Trustees for District 3, said that academically, District 3 is in good shape. Edwin Kiest and Bryan Adams Schools and all area middle schools have improved this year. We have more graduates this year, with 83% of students graduating.

George Truett Elementary School has a strong community group advocating for the school, and they are receiving needed funding. Truett is the most overcrowded school in DISD. There will be a new school/multipurpose building next to Truett, with construction taking place over the next two years.

White Rock East
Ellen Childress reported that “2 Points”, as their area was previously know, has rebranded and are now the community of White Rock East. Their Area Land Use Study was adopted in March by the Dallas City Council, and much of their Action Plan is in the works. The White Rock East Task Force is working on a gateway project, and identifying ways to attack new businesses.

Urban Forestation Program
Francisco Pataro, Citizen Forester, said the City of Dallas has an Urban Forestation Program to provide trees for residents and businesses. For more information, contact Francisco at .

Major Melissa McGee, Dallas Police Department, NE Station, reported that area crime is down.

Be Covered Texas
Ken Benson reported that enrollment for health insurance through the Affordable Healthcare Act starts October 1, with coverage starting January 1, 2014. Benson said this is an opportunity for those without insurance to get affordable health coverage. He said that FRI had been their most active partner.

Recreation Center Essay Contest
Robert Garcia, DISD Parent Engagement Specialist, spoke on “Beautiful Possibilities” essay contest for 3rd-5th grade students at Bayles, Casa View, Sanger and Truett Elementary Schools. The essay is to address “How will my community be better with a recreation/wellness center?” and will help with learning and writing skills. Essay prizes include a new bicycle and $30 and $15 gift cards.

Recreation/Wellness Center (The Center) Status
Bobbi Bilnoski acknowledged the efforts of recently-deceased former City Councilmember Leo Chaney in getting the White Rock Hills Branch Library built, and asked for a moment of silence in his memory.

Our BIG news is that the City of Dallas, thanks to the Parks Department and Councilwoman Carolyn Davis’ Office, has identified $125,000 in order to conduct the feasibility study needed for our Regional Recreation Wellness Center. This is the next BIG STEP in our efforts to build the first Center of its kind in the City of Dallas. The Center will have a service area not currently served by another center and the population that would be served. Data was given demonstrating how recreation centers have reduced crime throughout Texas. The proposed location for The Center would be along the White Rock Creek Trail South, and would connect with other trails. There will be opportunities for the community to offer ideas for the facility and its programs through the feasibility study, proposed to begin by fall 2014.

Willis Winters, Director of the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, reviewed our five step plan:

  1. Obtain the property. DONE
  2. Identify potential partners. ONGOING
  3. Conduct a feasibility study to determine needs & desires of the community. SCHEDULED FOR FALL 2014
  4. Explore interim uses for the property. ONGOING
  5. Formulate plans, programs and timeline for construction. TBD

Currently, the City of Dallas will send out Requests For Qualifications to architecture firms, who will reply with statements of interest to the project with their qualifications, etc. The City will select five of these and send them Requests for Proposals. That will follow with contracts for design, community input.

Dr. Gerry Jones spoke on identifying partners for The Center. He said The Center could include wellness, education, culture, environment, family, financial literacy and health programs. They are looking at interim uses for the land until construction begins, such as a dog park, soccer field, and/or carpool parking. An additional $5 million is needed for a 4.4 mile length the White Rock Creek Trail South. The Center is projected to cost between $30-37M.

Call to Action: Become a member of FRI, make a pledge to FRI, join a committee, and sign a petition in support of The Center.

Update: Since our 9.10.13 meeting, FRI held a meeting with key community leaders on October 14 to propose a possible partnership with the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society to explore a visible, creative, interim use of the CENTER land while funds are being raised to build the CENTER. The Arboretum happened to be searching for a new location for their Horticulture Center, which was displaced to accommodate the Rory Meyer’s Children’s Adventure Garden. In fact, the Arboretum embraces FRI’s vision of a mixed-use destination anchored by the CENTER and trail head for the new White Rock South trail along Ash Creek. We agreed that the Horticulture Center would fit right in. The Arboretum would like to be FRI’s long-term partner on the site. With a consensus of over 20 FRI neighborhood leaders, FRI has authorized the City of Dallas Park Department to draft a 5-Year Interim Land-use Agreement Contract to allow the temporary use of the CENTER land for a Horticulture Center. In addition, FRI is concurrently developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dallas Arboretum that will outline our new partnership. This is a great story to tell — former FRI Department of Justice Weed & Seed community “weeded out” substandard apartments riddled with crime and “seeded in” a Horticulture Center where the seeds are planted, nurtured, and grown into beautiful flowers! We are planning a big press conference and unveiling of the plans for Spring 2014. More on this at the 2.11.13 FRI CC Townhall Meeting.

Dr. Jones said FRI wants to raise $15,000 through DonorBridge and double the number of donors from last year. $25 is the minimum donation through DonorBridge for enhanced fund amounts.

Maria Valenzuela reported that FRI has been downsized and needs more volunteers. She spoke on having a Donation Station for DonorBridge donations to FRI at the White Rock Hills Library to help people make donations. They will have tonight’s power point presentation at the library and paper versions of the presentation.
Update: FRI netted $11,468.04 and more than doubled our donors from last year, with more than 90 contributors!

FRI Obelisk Award
Susan Walker presented Gary Lawler the FRI Obelisk Award for his dedication & service to FRI.

Directions Project
Ed Snyder introduced a new development in the FRI area, Directions– a 12-step alcohol recovery campus in the former Colonial Nursing Home at the 7600 block of Ferguson Road between Charles and Laughlin. Directions has toured the area and made a presentation to the FRI Board of Directors. They will hold a community meeting at the White Rock Church of Christ, Fellowship Hall, 9220 Ferguson Road, at 7 pm on September 30 to tell of their project and to receive community input. This project will be a $7M investment in the lower Ferguson Road corridor.
Update: Directions made a presentation on September 30 at WRCC and the project was unanimously supported in a straw poll with 29 votes.

Next Meeting
Vikki Martin announced that the next Community Connection meeting will probably be in January or February of 2014.
Update: Next FRI Community Connection Townhall Meeting will be Tuesday, February 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m. @ White Rock Hills Library.