Sand Branch

I first became interested in Sand Branch after an unfortunate and mysterious death of a prominent leader of the community shed some light on an almost forgotten corner of Dallas County. The approximate one hundred remaining residents have been denied clean water for nearly thirty years. They rely on bottled water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and all sanitary uses. There is no sanitation service, so residents burn their trash. The nearest grocery store is seven miles away.

The road into Sand Branch is a difficult sight. Local publications have been writing stories about the plight of this “third world community” since the eighties. It’s staggering to think you are only twenty miles from city center Dallas from these streets.

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This valley that boasted five hundred residents in 1985, mostly black, has dwindled to a little under a hundred. Those that stay are surrounded on three sides by abandoned gravel quarries, drag-lines, and ironically enough the Dallas municipal water treatment plant.

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The end of the line for the Dallas water supply is a half mile from the community on Belt Line. The estimated cost to bring that line is $6.5m, 75% of which can be funded by the US Dept. of Ag. To a mighty few, the Dallas Morning News and Dallas Commissioner John Price to be specific, this is not a solution. The county has offered numerous buyouts to area residents to leave the area. The issue with this resolution is not sentimental or unreasonable, it is simply economic. Ctd-

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-One in three Sand Branch residents has an annual income of less than $5,000. The County buyouts which subtract razing and demolition costs typically come to an average of $500. Logic would dictate, residents are not able to give up a paid-for roof over their heads in the hopes of a $500 payout.

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Sand Branch has been working on borrowed time for the better part of four decades. I’ll leave the conclusion here in as similar a fashion as the people of Sand Branch has when they lay their heads down each night.

The end.

Collin Creek

Two floors. Five anchors. (1 open, 4 vacant.) In 1981 Collin Creek opened boasting a “River Walk”, or maze of fountains interconnected by an indoor creek. Today, the tiles shine in between the caged storefronts and roving gangs of mall-walkers. The one surviving restaurant in the food court is a bustling place to be thirty minutes before opening. The menu? Coffee. The demographic? On social security. Collin Creek is not dead. Collin Creek is on life support and fading fast.

After zoning approval, the developer will begin their “revitalization” of the area. In true Dallas suburb fashion, the current plan includes five hundred townhouses, three thousand apartments and over four hundred thousand square feet of retail space. In most cyclical fashion, the center-most core of the project will be a nine acre park dominated by a river walk.

Bush Architects Rendering

Bush Architects Rendering

Valley View

When I was young, the mall bore a symbiotic relationship with coming of age. A young ladies first piercing, the angsty boys first cigarette in that dimly lit corner by the movie theatre, the first kiss at the food court, and beyond. The jury is still out on whether millennials killed the indoor department store experience but it is fact that Valley View Center is working on borrowed time.

The mall was slated for demolition by December 2016 to make way for a fortress of luxury concrete (exactly what Dallas is in dire need of) but the city terminated its agreement with Beck Ventures for tax incentives to assist in covering the $500 million price tag. A labyrinth of finger pointing later, the developer and City of Dallas will meet each other in arbitration before the husk falls.