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Dallas Doesn't Deliver on Promised Libraries

In 2006, Dallas voters approved a bond package that promised $42 million for new libraries. Ten years later, and after $11.75 million in spending, none of the projects are close to completion.
May 10, 2016, 11am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Robert Asento

Libraries don't get a lot of attention, but they're a much-utilized piece of public infrastructure. Robert Wilonsky writes, "Some love [libraries] because that's where they go for GED classes, or where they learn to speak English or get on the Internet because they don't have a computer at home. And some love them because that's their neighborhood meeting place, for books, clubs or political forums." Plenty of people still like reading free books too.

In 2006, Dallas promised its residents new libraries, some of them serving areas that had previously gone without. "But a decade later, five branch libraries that City Hall promised voters are still missing. And unless the city comes up with a plan, and pronto, they will stay that way for years to come."

The city's current spending plans favor other infrastructure, but several library sites were already bought and leveled. The vacant lots are in a state of extended limbo. Worse still, residents were displaced from some of the sites. "Six years ago this June, the city of Dallas bulldozed the Acacia Apartments on Park, displacing 71 residents from a shabby, high-crime complex and spending $1 million in relocation fees. In return, the city got the 3.86 acres where that apartment complex stood."

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Published on Friday, April 29, 2016 in The Dallas Morning News
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