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Old East Dallas resident speaks out: DISD should find new school site for Jubilee Park


Nancy Visser, East Dallas Blog – Gail Blessing lives in Old East Dallas on the opposite side of Interstate 30 from Jubilee Park. Among her friends and neighbors are employees of Vickery Wholesale Greenhouse, whose land has been targeted by Dallas ISD for parking and playground space for a new O.M. Roberts Elementary School. The greenhouse owner has said he will close the business if DISD takes his land, and his employees will be out of work. "We feel their fears with losing their jobs," Blessing said, "so we're close to this issue." Go to the jump to read a portion of Blessing's call to action. From Blessing:

  • The following is for anyone who has doubts or questions regarding eminent domain issues going on in Old East Dallas. … The following is from a stack of literature I received regarding an URGENT town hall meeting (Tuesday, May 18th, at O.M. Roberts, 4919 E. Grand Ave from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.) to discuss questions, concerns and suggestions regarding the future of our historical O.M. Roberts and beloved neighborhood. It's a grand opportunity to voice our concerns to save our neighborhood.
  • Many residents and business owners of East Dallas are at risk of losing their homes and businesses to a costly construction plan by DISD and its use of eminent domain. In our fight to keep our community intact, the residents of East Dallas are hereby reaching out to DISD and our Elected Community Leaders to DEMAND to know:
  • Why the taxpayers of East Dallas spent $2.6 million to renovate O.M. Roberts Elementary School only to now face DISD's attempt to enforce eminent domain in order to acquire more land and knock down the newly renovated school, thus requiring the taxpayers to shoulder an additional $22 million for an entirely new school?
  • Why DISD is ignoring the community's demands that its neighbors not be unnecessarily uprooted from their homes, some of whom are seniors, veterans and/or disabled, because the planned location of the new elementary school cannot be a long-term solution? It will be constructed next to a major highway with expansion plans, which is not safe for our children.
  • Why, if a new school must be built using taxpayer's money, DISD refused to consider an alternative and safer location for the school, such as property it already owns 7 blocks from where O.M. Roberts Elementary is? That location has adequate acreage to hold a new elementary school, will ensure long-term safety for our young students by not being next to an expanding major highway, and would eliminate the need to displace families and prospering businesses, specifically the Vickery wholesale florist.
  • Why DISD is not being honest and forthright with the community members about why it has plans for a newly constructed school? For example, DISD has asserted that O.M. Roberts Elementary school is overcrowded, however, Arnie Veramontes said the exact opposite at an April 8, 2010, town hall meeting conducted by Sen. Royce West when he stated enrollment at the school is low.
  • — Why DISD is forcefully pursuing the takeover of all homes and businesses within the eminent domain dispute by the end of May 2010 when it has admitted that any construction plans for a new school may not even begin until at least August 2012, or worse, the construction may not occur at all? Either action will undoubtedly cost taxpayers even more in wasted tax dollars and needlessly force out hardworking community members. (Vickery has 30 employees and some homeowners will still be paying on mortgages after their houses are torn down because they are getting so little money in return for their property.)

    — Is this the type of behavior our elected officials condone in our East Dallas community — to negligently and forcefully remove without recourse our hardworking neighbors from their homes and businesses for a school that may or may not be built, on land that is not suitable for a new school?

    If you agree with the actions of DISD and its POLICING efforts through eminent domain, then do nothing. If, however, you are OUTRAGED by the costs already used by DISD to renovate O.M. Roberts Elementary school only to now be told to expect another bill for the costs associated with constructing a new school and absorbing the costs of evicting our established families and prospering businesses who give back to our community, then please contact Bernadette Nutall, DISD's District 9 trustee at 972-925-3700 to demand answers to these questions and to demand that DISD pursue alternative options for its taxpayers


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