• Planned health clinic excites South Dallas neighborhood

    Published at dallasnews.com: 01 May 2022 11:11 PM

    The new South Dallas clinic being built for Parkland Memorial Hospital represents more than an improvement in health care for one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

    As a crowd of nearly 200 people assembled Thursday for the clinic’s ceremonial groundbreaking, the excitement level was almost palpable for the cluster of nearby residents.

    “I haven’t seen anything so big in this neighborhood for 50 years,” said Willie Mae Coleman, 79. “It’s a big day for all of us. I’m so excited.”

    Until five years ago, the 7-acre site at Scyene Road and Hatcher Street was home to a “hot-sheet” motel, illegal nightclub and other illicit activities that plagued the community for decades.

    “They killed one of my church members in that nasty old motel,” recalled Coleman, president of the surrounding Bertrand Neighborhood Association. She and others fought to get the businesses closed and finally torn down in 2009.

    Development of the $19.8 million clinic is a public-private partnership involving the city of Dallas and Frazier Revitalization, a community development organization that amassed the land for the project. A long list of local philanthropy groups also provided financial support, including the South Dallas/Fair Park Trust Fund.

    “This could not have happened without significant public and philanthropic support,” said Richard Knight, a former Dallas city manager and Frazier’s chairman.

    Frazier is hoping to develop a second phase of the project, called Hatcher Station Village, attracting a variety of neighborhood amenities. They might include a legal services office, pharmacy, dental clinic or workforce training site.

    Parkland will lease the 44,000-square-foot clinic when it’s completed in early 2015. It will replace the hospital’s outmoded Community Oriented Primary Care facility at 3320 Live Oak St. in East Dallas.

    Currently, the East Dallas clinic serves about 15,000 patients, many of whom live closer to the South Dallas clinic location, said Sharon Phillips, the Parkland executive who oversees Parkland’s 12 community clinics.

    Patients also could benefit from the new location being across Hatcher Street from a DART rail station on the Green Line. The new Parkland hospital, which also opens in 2015, is on the same rail line.

    “This is the first community clinic we’ll have on the DART line,” Phillips said.

    Although the project has not received final approval from Parkland’s board of managers, a lease agreement is expected to be signed in coming weeks. The Dallas City Council also is slated to finalize its involvement in the project later this month.

    “We worked long and hard for this,” City Council member Caroline Davis told the gathered crowd. “It has taken a lot of rolling up your sleeves and getting your feet dirty to make sure this project works.”

    See the original article at: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/best-southwest/headlines/20140501-planned-health-clinic-excites-south-dallas-neighborhood.ece

  • A New Look for FCE and FRI

    Don Williams, the founder and Chairman of the Foundation for Community Empowerment and Frazier Revitalization Inc. issued the following statement:

    The Foundation for Community Empowerment was born 15 years ago to support the valiant people and organizations that labor to lift up South Dallas and make Dallas a whole city. It was never our intention to create a permanent institution driven by the universal institutional imperative to persist and grow. Instead, our goals were:

    •  To change the conversation about the disparities that damage our community and our citizens;
    • To recognize and enhance the work of others that is effective in erasing those disparities;
    • To challenge and remedy systemic injustice;
    • To build relationships between the people who know poverty intimately - and therefore are best equipped to find solutions - and those with the power to implement those solutions.

    Friends of FCE, are probably familiar with the many paths we have ventured down in fulfilling that mission. As our understanding of the dynamics of poverty grew, so did the nature and scope of our work. Yet, the idea at the core of our approach never wavered: that FCE’s role was to illuminate, to enhance, to support, but not to own either the problem or the solution. We always understood that, at some point, whether the issue was affordable housing, quality public education, or any other factor in the poverty equation, we would necessarily hand off the solutions we helped create to others better able to oversee their long-term implementation.

    Thus, in 2006 we created Frazier Revitalization Inc. to spearhead the physical and social rebirth of that historic neighborhood near Fair Park. In 2008 we donated the J. McDonald Williams Institute to the University of Texas at Dallas, where it was rechristened the Institute for Urban Policy Research.

    This year, the process continues. We’re pleased to announce the following changes:

    • The Dallas Education Foundation will assume continuing oversight of the Dallas Achieves school transformation initiative which FCE helped launch three years ago. This unprecedented effort has produced substantial gains in academic achievement across Dallas ISD. When we launched Dallas Achieves to help Dr. Michael Hinojosa turn the district around, Dallas was tied for 5th with San Antonio among the 6 urban school districts in Texas. It is now tied with Houston for 1st. The percentage of 9th graders who go on to graduate has risen from 58% to 67%. The work of transformation continues, and the Dallas Education Foundation will maintain the external oversight needed to ensure that progress does not flag.
    • Frazier Revitalization Inc., under the leadership of Jon Edmonds, will take on FCE’s community engagement role, which is a natural complement to FRI’s work on the physical, bricks-and-mortar side. To accomplish its expanded mission, FRI has hired three members of the FCE staff: Hank Lawson, Victoria Hicks and Tabatha Smith. After several years of painstaking land assembly, FRI expects to break ground in 2010 on the first Transit Oriented Development in southern Dallas in partnership with the nation’s premier urban developer, McCormack Baron Salazar. On the community building front, 2010 will see the launch of an exciting new crime fighting initiative and expanded efforts by the Unify South Dallas coalition to help residents become an educated force for resident-driven, resident-centered revitalization.

    I will remain on the FRI board, but it will be chaired by Richard Knight. Richard will ably chair the board and help Jon steer the organization to new and greater heights.

    As for FCE, it will continue to administer several important grants designed to improve early childhood education and to engage other community issues. Marcia Page has completed her tenure as a loaned executive from Texas Instruments; Dorothy Hopkins will serve as CEO and will be supported by FCE’s longtime office manager, Maggie Diaz.

    As we mark this latest transition, I want especially to recognize Marcia for her superb work on behalf of FCE and, particularly, Dallas Achieves. She did an absolutely splendid job, one of the most difficult and yet well accomplished performances I’ve ever seen. For myself, using FCE as a base, I will continue to pursue a variety of special projects that are close to my heart, such as community gardens and the future of Fair Park. Since I started this journey more than 15 years ago, I have met the most remarkable people in South Dallas, doing the most remarkable things, usually at great personal sacrifice. It’s been a humbling privilege for me to get to know and count them as friends.

  • Carolyn Davis and Tom Leppert: South Dallas neighborhood’s passion for revitalization has paid off

    The Dallas Morning News

    Sunday, tens of thousands of people from all over the region will make their once-a-year pilgrimage to South Dallas to sample the delights of the State Fair – a nostalgic nod to our agricultural past. Just a few blocks away, residents of one South Dallas neighborhood will gather to stake their claim to an urban future that is safe, productive and prosperous.

    They will come together at the corner of Scyene Road and Bertrand Avenue to take part in the demolition of a business that has been a thorn in the side of their community for many, many years. It is a motel now known as the American Inn but once named, with far more candor, the Mi Amor. Its rooms, which rented by the hour, were a haven for drug dealers, prostitutes and other elements that subtracted from, rather than added to, the value of the community. At least one murder took place there. The owners – outsiders who had no roots in the neighborhood – repeatedly evaded court orders to close their doors. They went for years without paying property taxes or obtaining the necessary permit to operate in an area not zoned for businesses such as theirs.

    Residents fought back in every way they could. They wrote down license plates. They called the police on dozens of occasions. Sometimes, the police made arrests. A few years ago, the city sued the American Inn as a nuisance, and it closed for a while.

    Somehow, though, the drug dealers and the hookers always came back. But the good people never gave up – and there are many good people who can claim victory today. Members of the Bertrand Neighborhood Association refused to accept the blight in their midst. The congregation of True Lee Missionary Baptist Church, which is just next door, spoke boldly against evil and offered a vision for renewal.

    Our City Council colleague Dwaine Caraway was among those who gathered the $1,000 necessary to bring the American Inn before zoning authorities, who ultimately forced it to shut down this spring. Frazier Revitalization Inc., a nonprofit organization created to partner with residents in bringing new housing and reputable businesses to the area, purchased the property, making it possible, finally, to erase the scourge once and for all.

    Like man’s first steps on the moon, this is a giant leap for this community that has lived so long in the shadows of more prosperous parts of town. It shows those of us who live elsewhere that the people of South Dallas care passionately about their neighborhoods and are willing to fight to make them wholesome and safe. It proves that change is possible.

    If you are planning to go to the State Fair on Sunday, come just a few blocks beyond it and take a look for yourself. You’ll be surprised at what you see. All along Scyene Road, just across the street from the American Inn, the new southeast DART rail line is taking shape day by day. It holds fresh promise for this area: new residents, new businesses, new jobs.

    Already, the elected officials who represent the area and organizations such as Frazier Revitalization are working with residents to see that the right people benefit from the coming changes: the ones who live here now. They have endured; they have toiled in the vineyards; the fruit is rightly theirs. Today is their day to begin to taste that sweet, sweet fruit.