DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Neighbors in the East Dallas’ Casa View community are venting their frustration over an unfinished road project with a touch of humor.
They’ve dubbed the muddy pond that’s formed over a stretch of Gus Thomasson Road under construction near Ferguson Road for more than a year and a half “Lake Casa View.”
Sunday, they organized a mock pool party posting an online invite to the “Luau at Lake Casa View,” offering food from local restaurants, and throwing large pool floats into the water.
“Nothing makes neighbors bond like sheer frustration. I mean, my goodness. And floats! Duck floats!” said Carol Bell-Watson, who helped organize the event.
“It really is a joke at this point,” said Taylor Slovak, who lives nearby. “We haven’t seen work on this project since the end of January.”
Neighbors say the more than just an eyesore.
“You can see all the traffic that cuts through here. Just last week there was a hit and run in the shopping center because someone was trying to avoid traffic,” said Lena Palomo, who is opening Cita’s Kitchen nearby.
The multi-million dollar project to revitalize the Casa View area has been city council member Mark Clayton’s signature project while in office.
“What’s been a challenge on that project is that area hasn’t been touched in 35 years,” he said. “So we’re did all this work at one time. We did new storm drains, we did new sewage, we did new road.”
The city blames delays that set the project back a year, in part, on bad weather.
There have also been issues with the contractor, who Clayton says has tried incrementally increasing the cost to the city.
“The game is you bid low and then you do change orders to make it high,” he said.
City records show the company initially claimed it could do the work for more than $800,000 less than any other bidder. After it won the contract, it requested more money.
It’s a chronic and city wide problem that has Dallas leaders considering changes to the way they award contracts.
“I get people’s frustration, but I think the end product is going to be amazing,” said Clayton.
The good news, Clayton says, is that the promise of quality infrastructure is already drawing more business to an area long ignored.
“I’m very excited. I’m hopeful, but I’ll tell you there are plenty of people who aren’t holding their breath. They’re exhausted by it all,” said Slovak.