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Klyde Warren Park Asking Neighbors For Tax Money

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It opened to great fanfare and has been an unqualified hit ever since. But now the folks who run Klyde Warren Park say they need some city tax money to help keep it running.

They want a Public Improvment District, or PID, which would be a city assessment similar to a property tax to fund maintenance, landscaping, security, and programs.

“So it’s not a lot of money to most of the neighbors,” according to Jody Grant, who chairs the foundation that runs Klyde Warren Park.

With operating expenses expected to run 3-million dollars a year, his group proposes to drop a PID over every property owner with half-a-mile of the park.

A 250-dollar annual fee for every one-million in assessed property value.

“We’re not asking our neighbors for a lot of money but we are of those who have benefited from the park,” he says, adding, “The business model is evolving as the cost of the park has increased over time.

But the park has been extremely successful, and a byproduct of that is the need to maintain it, to keep it clean and to keep it active, and actively programmed is the name of the game here and all of this costs a lot of money to do.”

John Crawford is President and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. It runs a variety of security, landscape and maintenance services over the Central Business District, including parks like Main Street Garden—but not Klyde Warren, which has its own foundation.

(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: CBS 11 News)

He says cities like Fort Worth and Austin use PIDs.

“We think it is an equitable way to create a clean, safe, fun environment for our particular PID in the Central Business District which encompasses much more than just parks…I think they work very, very well.”

Crawford believes the fee for Klyde Warren Park are modest compared to the CBD’s PID. But even the more expensive PID, he claims, is worthwhile. “And we could not do all the things that we do in the Central Business District without having that PID.”

While Klyde Warren Park is surrounded by high dollar businesses, the PID would also include private residences and condos whose owners would pay the same rate.

But the park will have smooth sailing if most residents share Karen Cheatham’s opinion.

“I think that it’s a fair thing to ask. I think that with how we all enjoy it I’d be more than happy to pay for this.”

But leading up to its glitzy opening, it was widely reported the park’s operations would be funded privately. Grant says that’s a misconception.

“If you read our past statements we’ve always said that we will raise the money; and this is just another way of raising additional money.”

The Park needs to get 60% of the neighbors to go along with it by April 1st in order to qualify for money in 2014. Grant says the PID would make up 20% of the operating budget.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )

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