City crews work to clean up Oak Lawn


Downed trees blocked traffic on Fitzhugh Avenue

Downed trees and flashing traffic lights slowed commutes in Oak Lawn this morning after Thursday’s storm.

City crews were out working around the area after Oak Lawn received more than 3 1/2 inches of rain accompanied by winds up to 70 miles per hour. Parts of Turtle Creek Boulevard were still closed Friday because of debris blocking the road. Portions of the street flooded for a short time as the stream rose out of its banks.

—  David Taffet

That wet stuff is called rain … or who knew rivers had water in them

Some areas of the city have received three inches of rain Thursday. Turtle Creek is a low spot in Oak Lawn, so the street was flooding. I just ran out to get some shots of the creek overflowing its banks and water rushing over the falls. We haven’t seen anything like this in quite awhile.

—  David Taffet

Oak Lawn listed as 8th-best neighborhood in U.S. for millennials

3102-oak-lawn-avenue-dallas-tx-75219Niche Ink, a website dedicated to education analysis, reported Monday that Oak Lawn is the eighth-best neighborhood in the U.S. for young people to live in. The organization  put together a list of the best metro areas for millennials. They ranked the metro areas in the U.S. using a dozen factors, including data from the U.S. Census, FBI crime rates, and Niche Ink user opinions on the best places for life after graduation. They then calculated the best neighborhood for young people in each of those cities. (You can read the full methodology here.)

The report said “Oak Lawn is one of the wealthiest areas of Dallas with a lot of urban professionals, townhouses, condos, and apartments. There are a lot of good restaurants, bars, and clubs, particularly for the LGBT community. Fifteen percent of its population is aged 25 to 34, and it has a median rent of $874. The average income is $29,830.

Midtown in Houston came in at No. 21, and South River City in Austin ranked No. 2. We can live with Austin beating us out. Houston? That’s never going to happen. And the average income in Oak Lawn is $29,830? Well, I need a raise.

To see the listings, click here.

—  Steve Ramos

Organizers meet to form Oak Lawn neighborhood association

Harper.MikeSeveral weeks ago, I mentioned the lack of neighborhood associations in Oak Lawn. Dallas Councilman Philip Kingston pointed out I missed one active group in SoHiP (that’s South of Highland Park) — those several blocks between Lemmon Avenue and the Highland Park border running from Oak Lawn Avenue to the Tollway.

Another group covering a large Oak Lawn neighborhood is about to form.

The neighborhood group that opposed Dallas Housing Authority rezoning in Oak Lawn will meet on Thursday to create a neighborhood association in an area that is mostly apartments and condos.

The meeting will be held at the clubhouse at Lure Apartments, 2929 Kings Road on April 10 at 6:45 p.m. The proposed area includes all blocks from Cedar Springs Road to Maple Avenue and from Maple Springs to Wycliff and the Tollway. The Maple Springs area has its own neighborhood association.

Organizer Mike Harper invited home and condo owners as well as renters to attend and said developers and business owners are welcome as well.

Zoning issues between the DHA and the neighborhood have been resolved. See Friday’s paper for details.

—  David Taffet

Historic Oak Lawn building torn down





In a series on the changing face of Oak Lawn, we followed the story of a 1924 apartment building on Knight Street that was sold and longtime tenants evicted. On Wednesday morning, the building was torn down.

—  David Taffet

Carrollton man robbed at gunpoint on Hall Street

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A 21-year-old Carrollton man told Dallas police three men robbed him Friday night at 3922 N. Hall St., taking $255 worth of property.

A 21-year-old Carrollton man told Dallas police three men robbed him at gunpoint Friday night at 3922 N. Hall St.

The police report states the victim parked his car to visit a friend in an apartment, and when he returned to the car at about 9:18 p.m., a man walked around a small partition wall, pointed an automatic black pistol at him and said, “Give me your money and anything in your pockets.”

The victim gave the man his wallet and cell phone, according to the report. Two other men then walked around the corner, and one of them, along with the first man who brandished the gun, searched the victim’s pockets while the third man acted as a look-out.

The gunman then fled south on foot, and the other two men fled west on foot.

The victim wasn’t injured during the robbery, the report states, but he said the property taken from him is worth $255.

Because the men used a gun in the robbery, the crime is listed as aggravated. The police report doesn’t provide a description of the suspects.

Other people in the Cedar Springs area also found themselves relieved of hundreds of dollars for hefty towing charges after United Towing moved their vehicles from restricted areas.

One particular spot behind the Round-Up Saloon has become a hot spot for towing. Despite a clear sign that says parking on the sidewalk is prohibited, people have continued to park in a spot that straddles the parking lot and the sidewalk.

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This area behind the Round-Up Saloon has proven to be a boon for United Towing. People continue to park in the spot beside this truck, half of it on the sidewalk, despite a warning sign.

“I was leaving the Round-Up to go home, but found that my car had been towed,” one man said. When he called United Towing, they told him it would cost $160 to get his car back.

“While I was making the call, four other people pulled into that same spot where I was towed, so I told each of them not to park there,” he said.

Each week, several cars have been towed from that spot, although United Towing declined to say how many.


—  Steve Ramos

Meetings scheduled on planned Housing Authority complex in Oak Lawn


Mike Harper at DHA site on Kings Road

Two meetings about a proposed Dallas Housing Authority project planned for Oak Lawn are scheduled.

DHA plans to build a new complex on Kings Road between Cedar Springs and Maple Avenue to replace an old property torn down two years ago, and it’s seeking a zoning variance to increase the height restriction to 65 feet and reduce parking requirements to allow almost twice as many units as the previous development.

Mike Harper, who lives near the project, organized a group called Rezoning DHA. His group would like to see adequate parking for residents and a less dense complex. Even without the modifications, this will become the housing authority’s largest project in Dallas.

“There is still a significant amount of community concern about the project as individuals want to ensure the best for the community,” Harper said.

Two meetings are scheduled on the project:

Tuesday, Jan, 28 at 6 p.m.: Community Meeting at Reverchon Park Recreation Center, 3505 Maple Ave. with Councilman Adam Medrano to hear the latest proposal from DHA. This will be an opportunity for the community to come together to decide how to respond to the final proposal from DHA.

Thursday, Feb. 6 at 1:30 p.m.: City of Dallas Planning & Zoning Commission public hearing will provide time for public comment and vote on the proposal.

—  David Taffet

Housing Authority delays project to enlist support of community


Mike Harper, left, and Leslie Maturin of the Rezoning DHA Action Group

Dallas Housing Authority told a neighborhood group it is willing to delay a project in Oak Lawn to negotiate with the community to gain its support.

The proposed project would have more units than any other DHA property in Dallas. Neighborhood groups have objected to the size and zoning variances the housing authority proposed for the site, according to the Rezoning DHA Action Group.

DHA told the neighborhood group it is willing to put a number of items into a written agreement to secure its support.

The site plan would be flipped so the entrance would be on Hawthorne Avenue rather than on Kings Road. The neighborhood would like to see any Kings Road entrance used only for emergency vehicles. New, expensive housing is currently being built on Kings Road and at least one complex on that street has recently been renovated.

Parking would be onsite and not on adjacent streets.

Preference would be given to working families on this DHA property.

All one bedroom units would be allocated to disabled or elderly residents.

DHA would provide a police substation on the property, install cameras monitored by Dallas police and reserve one unit for a police officer to live in.

When the former DHA property was demolished, crime in the area plummeted. The number of crimes in the beat where the property is located decreased from 953 criminal offenses in 2011 to 303 in 2013. Neighborhood groups are afraid drug trafficking and other crime would return to the area if the housing authority builds its largest complex on this site.

—  David Taffet

Buli is closing

Buli1Rob Auman and Robert Clawson have announced that Buli will close on Sept. 27. They bought the Cedar Springs cafe from Scott Whittall in Nov. 2011.

Although they had a year left on the lease, their landlord negotiated an early closing to make way for a new retailer. That tenant, who has not yet been announced, was looking at part of the Nuvo space. Instead of dividing that space, the new tenant will move into the Buli location later this fall.

Buli employees were already notified about the closing. Auman said he works full-time as regional VP for a hotel company and Clausen plans to return to school.

Aumen said having the cafe was a lot of fun and thanked everyone who patronized Buli for the past two years.

—  David Taffet

Weekend health fair aims to ‘bridge the gap’ with free screenings, vaccines

Derrick Spillman

Derrick Spillman

An Oak Lawn health fair and carnival Saturday will bring North and South Dallas together for health screenings and vaccines.

The Stay Strong Movement Heath Fair and Carnival at Walgreens on Cedar Springs Road is a collaborative effort that’s the first of its kind. It came together out of a need for a large health event in central Dallas, DFW Pride Movement Executive Director Derrick Spillman said.

“We just wanted to do something to bridge the gap for people who don’t have insurance and don’t get checkups,” he said.

Spillman helped oversee the planning of the event after coming up with the idea last year. DFW Pride Movement teamed up with the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Texas, Dallas County Health and Human Services, and UT Southwestern Mobile Mammogram Unit to offer screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes, body mass, HIV testing and STDs. LA Fitness will have fitness demonstrations and vaccines will also be offered for a fee for illnesses, including the flu, meningitis, tetanus, hepatitis and others.

Spillman said an estimated 50 retail vendors and 20 agencies and organizations will be at the carnival, along with activities for children. He said the goal is to connect people to the resources in the community they may need and encourage them to be health conscious.

“We just felt that this was something that was needed and had never been done,” he said, adding that he’d like to see the event be an annual gathering. “We’re doing it this year and taking it from there.”

Lesbian activist Cd Kirven said the event was helping end healthcare disparities among the LGBT community and other minority groups and would serve as a “lifeline” to those who need care and information.

“It is important to us as leaders in the African-American LGBT community that we help bridge the gap in health disparities among people of color within our community,” she said.  “It is equally important that we work with the community at large to address the lack of health care among people of color.”

Spillman said the groups wanted to have it at Walgreens because the management has worked with the LGBT community before and it was a central location to bring all of Dallas together.

James Ross, Walgreens manager, said he wanted to help the community have access to healthcare.

“With the steady rise in health care cost, I feel it was the right thing to do, to give back to a community that has given Walgreens so much support,” he said.

Felicia Flye-Lewis, HIV prevention program manager at the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas, said she wanted to work with DFW Pride Movement to spread out her organization’s reach in Dallas.

“We’re showing that we are coming together for a wonderful collaboration and we can better serve the community together,” she said.

Flye-Lewis said she hopes people will take advantage of the free tests and screenings, while also knowing that resources will be there for them if they test positive for anything.

“More than anything, I hope that people see unity,” she said. “We have wonderful services that are free and available throughout the city. I hope they use these services.”

Stay Strong Movement Heath Fair and Carnival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 6 at Walgreens, 3802 Cedar Springs Road. For more information, go here or email 

—  Anna Waugh