Tuesday night, city officials and members of the Preston Center Task Force gathered at University Park United Methodist Church. This was the task force’s third meeting, and the discussion showed the group’s division as members argued over everything from the scope of their work to how often they should meet.
“We don’t all agree with each other on what we want to do,” pointed out task force member Bill Archer.
However, at least one thing was unanimous – instead of focusing on individual zoning issues, like the Preston Center skybridge, the group agreed to concentrate on the “bigger picture.” Former Mayor Laura Miller, who represents Zone 7, was most adamant about this point. Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates assured her that’s why the task force was created in the first place – to assess the needs and developmental capacity of Preston Center and its surrounding areas.
During the meeting, the council also introduced its newly hired consulting team, Dallas-based Kimley-Horn and Associates, represented by Mark Bowers. Working with a team of auxiliary firms, Kimley-Horn is charged with assessing everything from traffic and parking around the Preston Center, to engaging neighbors to determine how the community would like to see the area developed.
“The answers of what should happen here are in the community, and we’re trying to bring those answers out,” Bowers said.
North Central Texas Council of Governments contributed $250,000 to help fund the study. The task force has raised an additional $34,924. Interestingly, some of that money came from Crow Holdings, the development company that wants to build the contentious skybridge. Roughly $65,000 is still needed to complete the study, which Bowers hopes to present by May 2016.
City officials asked Bowers to keep the process open to the public.
“I want to make sure we have crystal clear transparency, or frankly we’re wasting our time, and I don’t want to waste $250,000,” said Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
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