Group organizes to support Dallas revitalization hotel tax hike – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

A massive plan to revitalize Dallas with other people’s money is the message to voters from a coalition of supporters backing a Dallas hotel tax hike election on Nov. 8.

The ride will fund a new Dallas Convention Center and major upgrades to Dallas Fair Park.

Supporters of the Transforming Dallas Committee gathered on Friday to share their reasons for supporting the referendum.

“And the best news yet is that it won’t cost our local taxpayers anything because it’s a resort tax, paid as part of our hotel occupancy tax,” the Downtown Dallas president said. Inc., Jennifer Scripps.

The State Fair of Texas is set to open soon at Dallas Fair Park, which is one of the city’s top tourist attractions.

But the park has a collection of old structures, including the Band Shell which has crumbling stairs and other obvious signs of neglect.

“Many of the buildings that have not been significantly improved in decades, many of them in states of disrepair, do not reflect well on us as a city.” Fair Park First CEO Brian Luallen said.

Fair Park would receive $300 million to upgrade 6 buildings, including the Band Shell. The Cotton Bowl would have better halls. The automobile building would be restored.

“This is one of the most significant historic preservation projects you’ll see in the state of Texas,” said former Dallas City Councilwoman Veletta Lill, a preservation advocate.

Entrepreneurs and tourism professionals would get thousands of jobs, coalition members said.

“And this opportunity with $1.5 billion in construction spending is an opportunity for us to create wealth,” said Dallas Citizens Council CEO W. Kelvin Walker.

Dallas County Treasurer Pauline Medrano said she will work to promote black and Hispanic participation.

“These entrepreneurs need to look like our city and I think they need to have a lot of it,” Medrano said.

Most of the money would be used to replace the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Craig Davis, CEO of Visit Dallas, the agency responsible for selling Dallas to meeting planners, said the city has lost 1,000 events to other cities over the past 15 years because the existing facility lacks features that other cities have.

“Ultimately, our clients tell us that it no longer fits their modern-day convention needs,” Davis said.

Parts of the convention center date from 1957. It has been expanded several times. Davis said he has $500 million in deferred maintenance.

State Rep. Rafael Anchia said the formula to help Fair Park and the Convention Center was the result of hard work in the Texas Legislature.

“It was the culmination of maybe a decade of discussions that we had about how we could generate revenue toward downtown and Fair Park,” Anchia said.

The lawmaker said the money and jobs will bring benefits to neighborhoods south of I-30 that haven’t received enough attention in the past.

“This is going to be a win for a lot of different people who were left behind in Dallas,” Anchia said.

If the voter referendum fails, leaders meeting on Friday said there may be ways to pursue changes to the convention center in the future, but raising $300 million for Fair Park would be difficult. ‘another way.

“To say this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the appropriate investment in this highly significant National Historic Landmark is no exaggeration,” Luallen said.

In February, when the Dallas City Council voted to design a new convention center and again in May, when it voted to put this referendum on the November ballot, the only member to vote against was Cara Mendelsohn.

She had 17 points of opposition, mostly on convention center issues.

Among other things, Mendelsohn wondered if convention business would return to previous levels after the COVID-19 pandemic. She said adjacent landowners who will benefit from the improvements should share in the risk.

Mendelsohn wondered how the existing building could have fallen into such disrepair with years of underfunded maintenance, and what assurance would ratepayers have that the same degradation would no longer be allowed.

Mendelsohn said there is no agreement in place with the state to construct a building on the Interstate Highway as proposed by planners.

Councilman Mendelsohn did not respond to a request for comment on Friday as supporters staged their campaign to sell voters on the benefits of the referendum.

Comments are closed.