Bar Owners Fight To Keep School Out Of Deep Ellum

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When most people think of Deep Ellum in Dallas, they probably think of bars, night clubs and late-night partying. But schools? “I don’t see how it’s a good environment for them,” said bar owner, Josh Bridges.

Bridges runs the Anvil Pub on Elm Street in Deep Ellum. When Bridges looks out the front window of his pub, he sees the building that is the likely home of Uplift Education’s new charter school. “Why you would pick to do it where you have nine other bars within feet of school property,” asked Bridges. “It just doesn’t make sense to me,” he added.

beer pour Bar Owners Fight To Keep School Out Of Deep Ellum

Draft beer at the Anvil Pub

Uplift is about to close on the sale of a building in the 2600 block of Elm Street. The goal is to open a new school in August, 2012, that will ultimately house 960 students, grades 6 through 12.

Nearly 30 bar and night-club owners joined forces Monday night to put a stop to Uplift’s plans. The owners believe that a school is not right for Deep Ellum’s entertainment district. “This is a pretty big deal. This could be a game changer,” Barry Annino of the Deep Ellum Foundation told the group.

Yasmin Bhatia is C.E.O. of Uplift and says their organization’s other charter schools fit in just fine in other areas with eclectic businesses. “We’re use to serving students in high-need areas,” explained Bhatia. “We know that sometimes there are establishments like bars or strip clubs that are near us. In fact one of our campuses is a quarter of a mile away from a strip club,” Bhatia added.

According to Dallas city code, a bar or night club can not operate within 300 feet of a school, unless it was in business prior to the school’s opening. This means that existing bars near the proposed charter school will be grandfathered in.

However, if a nearby bar goes out of business and the building remains vacant some time, city code is likely to prevent a new bar from opening in the vacant building.

Deep Ellum merchants also fear that the charter school will prevent new businesses from obtaining permits and will block old businesses from renewing permits.

If permits are denied, many owners say it’s likely to impact the revitalization efforts in Deep Ellum. Neighborhood leaders have spent the last five years trying to remove the crime-ridden and unsightly nightclubs and replace them with respectable bars, restaurants and shops.

Now that it appears a school is moving in, many of the business owners fear they will soon be forced out.

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  • Julia Alcantara

    There have got to be dozens of other locations that will not jeapordize the vitality of the historic neighborhood. As a long time resident, braving Deep Ellum at its worst and there to see the hard earned rejuvnation of the place over the last few years, I am baffled by this concept?? Why in the world would you jeopardize the economic upswing of a neighborhood after so many years of work to re build it? Only to build a school that could go so many other places just blocks away??? How many kids live in Deep Ellum anyway? answer: hardly any. It is a place for single artist types that want to see live music and go to galleries, not homesteaders looking to raise a family? This is a LUDICROUS concept that will undo a decade of work to save the neighborhood from becoming a ghost town ??? Did you just throw a dart at the map?? Get educated yourself, Bhatia, before you cost dozens of musicians, real estate developers, waitresses, restaraunters and shop owners their years of hard work and money banking on the return that are JUST beginning to appear. i am sure your intentions are good, but your method is heartless

  • brewster

    So much for that Uplift mofo party plan.

  • Wait, what?

    Seriously? I’m not originally from this area but Deep Ellum is one of my favorite spots and one of the points that helped draw me to the area. Kids already need as few distractions as possible, why not move it somewhere to a less busy area and maybe give the chance for another area to thrive? Don’t get me wrong I can enjoy a place for families or areas “kid appropriate” but if I have to worry about watching my mouth, or what I say because someone’s kid is still “hanging” out, I’m gonna look somewhere else. What I am finding is that there’s a place for everything here, but that just doesn’t seem like the most appropriate or effective for school aged children.

  • James Oliver

    Close the bars down a charter school has come to town.Remember we are PC

  • JPR

    Oh Sweet mama… Your daddys got them Deep Ellum Blues!

  • Zachary Winn

    The bar owners need to band together to purchase the building out from under the school and turn it into one kick ass nightclub.

  • harviele

    Obviously the agenda of Uplift is to close bars and night clubs every where by putting in schools and then crying about bars and night clubs being close to the children thus forcing them to close. What should happen when they start complaining about the bars and night clubs and attempting others from opening would be a judge declare they were right and require the school to move to somewhere else.

  • Abs

    No joke ! Require the school to move somewhere else!!! Why run off so many businesses, revenue, culture and history. You people that want to put in a school in a “rough” area to make the world a better place; why don’t you go take over Oak Cliff! They need help more then Deep Ellum!!! If any school is put in Deep Ellum it should be a college campus!!! Or a “Travelers Lodge/Hostel/Back Packers” – whatever you want to call it! That would be a perfect building for it!And to Odubya23 and anyone that agrees with that rediculous statement – just because people hang out in Deep Ellum doesn’t mean they are Alcoholics!!! Why don’t you go pass judgement on yourself and not others! Dallas was a real hip place when Deep Ellum and The West End were functional! After so many years Deep Ellum is alive and kickin again! People like live entertainment, local artist and bands get to shine their talants, we need a place in Dallas for music and culture! Every major city has that street or streets of venues, cool shops, bars and whatever else that make it worth visiting!! Dallas needs to keep theirs alive!!! Like Austin! They embrace their meca of entertainment and do what they can to “Keep Austin Weird” – People of DFW, old and young need to rise up and remember how much fun we had and are still having growing up with Deep Ellim in our lives! It would be a shame to see it die… again!

  • James Forshee

    If you cant open a bar within 300 ft. of a school,i would’nt think you could open a school within 300 ft. of a bar

  • Bob A.

    Who approved the permits to open the school in the first place? I would think the city/county/someone would have the sense to say you want to open a school where? In the middle of an Entertainment District? Are you out of your mind. Permit denied.

  • David Newman

    As with most things that don’t pass the smell test, “Follow the Money” ! Apparently, there is some huge tax advantage or government grant money for all parties involved or this deal would never have gotten a thumbs up from anyone. This has nothing to do with education, it’s all about money.

  • Regina

    With all the recent school closings in Dallas you would think they could take over one of those buildings instead of setting up shop in the Entertainment district. It really doesn’t make sense!!

  • Ben Harper

    eclectic businesses? what does that even mean?

  • Cleatus W Howe

    Schools has turned into a Mafia Operation,they Love this new Environment!!!

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