Oops, we goofed. If you read last month’s column, maybe you noticed that it ended rather abruptly. We were cut off just as I was about to describe a new group of homeowners who want to reach out to Lake Highlands schoolchildren who live in area apartments.
So let me pick up where that column left off.
The new group, Moss Haven Elementary Community Outreach, has met twice since May. The group has big dreams for a variety of educational, mentoring, scholarships and sports programs for kids living in area apartments. It’s no secret that many of them aren’t as involved in after-school programs as their peers. Often that’s because “apartment kids” go to after-school care and can’t make it to team practices and games.
Ken Frumin, one of the organizers of the new group, said more than 20 men showed up for the first couple of meetings.
“There are a lot of dads who want to volunteer…but they don’t know how,” Frumin says. “This is a vehicle to facilitate their volunteering.”
The group decided that they need to draw in more participants so they plan to set up booths at “meet the teacher” night and the Halloween carnival next fall.
In the meantime, they are trying to organize an effort to get apartment kids from after-school programs to team practices and games.
“The idea is there are a lot of kids that would love to play but for whatever reason…(the parent) cannot commit to bring a kid twice a week anywhere,” Frumin says. “We’ll help remove whatever obstacle there is from participating.”
For more information about this group, check out the new website at mhe-friends.org.
And that’s not the only effort to reach out to apartment residents. Over near White Rock Elementary School, one homeowner is looking for a way to make sure that people who live in the apartments have a voice in the proposed tax increment financing district, which could potentially force them to move.
As you may know, there’s been an effort to get area residents to sign petitions to create the new tax district, which essentially dedicates a portion of the area’s future taxes to neighborhood improvements. The money would come from increased property values, not a tax increase.
City leaders have said the TIF would breathe new life into the Town Square project envisioned for Skillman and Walnut Hill Lane. Some homeowners received a message saying the proposed TIF would likely result in the demolition of 10 apartment properties.
Theresa Comstock, an eight year Lake Highlands resident, says that much demolition could force out about 45 percent of the students from White Rock Elementary. Many apartment residents are not aware of the proposed TIF or how it could affect them, she adds.
“The concern that I have is that half of the community that’s being most effected should be part of the conversation as well,” she says. “The TIF is doing some positive things but it’s also dislocating a large number of people. Personally, I think those are very important issues.”
Contact Comstock through Dallas Area Interfaith at dallasareainterfaith.org or 214-689-5988.