DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One of Dallas’ oldest shopping center is getting a makeover, and, in the process, those living near Casa Linda Plaza say a rich history is being uprooted.
Plans are in place to widen the sidewalks and add comfortable seating areas. Construction has already started.
A spokesperson for EDENS, who has owned the property since 2015, said the goal is to make the plaza more pedestrian-friendly. The plan calls for some mature trees to be removed. However, more than 30 new trees will be planted in their place.
This has upset many people living nearby. Close to 500 people have signed the petition “Save Our Historic Casa Linda Plaza Trees From Demolition,” asking EDENS to reconsider their plans to remove the trees.
“They’re almost 65 years old and when you think about replacing a 65-year-old tree with a 4-year-old tree, I just don’t really think that adds up,” Taylor Slovak, who was born and raised in Casa Linda, said.
“These are magnificent trees, old ones and they need to stay,” longtime Casa Linda resident Ray Crelia said. “There’s just no reason why they need to be cut down. These are a work of art and they need to be kept.”
Dallas city councilman Mark Clayton who represents District 9, where Casa Linda is located, has released this memo on the issue:
“I met with the developer months back about their overall vision for the project and knew about what they wanted to do overall from a pedestrian friendly standpoint and they showed me some finished projects in other Cities. The developer indicated to me today that the plan is to pull the parking out closer to Buckner in order to widen the sidewalks and make the entire space more pedestrian friendly. It will narrow the concrete footprint of the shopping center and allow for the speed bumps to go away as it gets away from the traditional big lot shopping center. Obviously, it looks bad when the first thing you’re doing is pulling out five trees and landscaping. However, the redesign of the complex and parking will add 20 additional trees that aren’t there today and more landscaping. The trees going in are live oaks, balch cyprus and cedar elms. They hired an east Dallas landscaping company to do the work and the end result should be something very nice.
There is always the fear when a tree is removed that everything is going to be scraped and the only thing left is concrete. The City has a tree mitigation plan and they are doing more than the City even requires them to do. They could do just the bare minimum and that’s all the City can require. However, these developers are long term holders and have done really, really nice projects around the country. You’re not going to get a concrete skating rink. It will be a walkable, pedestrian friendly shopping center with more trees and canopy than what is there today. They’re not redesigning the lot so that they can add more parking. They’re doing it so that they can make a center where people sit down at sidewalk cafes versus hustle from car to shop and back to car.”
EDENS is working to set a time to meet with the community about the trees and won’t be removing any until that happens.