The town hall meeting was a huge success. We had 500 people in attendance and all seemed very interested and supportive of this project. My purpose in calling this meeting was to lay all the cards on the table so that you now know what I know. You know where we are with Fannie Mae. That there is one piece of the puzzle that isn't under contract, and why. We tried to answer all the hard and commonly asked questions. This town hall meeting on the Lamar Project was our effort to be transparent and open concerning every aspect of this issue. You responded admirably!
As a result of the meeting, I have not heard one negative comment. I have been asked several questions that are difficult and I will try to answer a few here.
1. You supported the Lamar project and voted against the Abrams Lofts. The density is the same, how can you do that? A. If you do the simple math you will see that the number of door knobs are the same but the number of people are twice as much on Abrams as Lamar. 692 students divided by 4.25 acres is 165 per acre. Lamar is 78 people per acre. The number of door knobs is 53 per acre for both. The two student housing projects on the south side of Abrams are 67 and 116 people per acre, that's enough.
2. Why would I want to rent and pay $1,200 to live next to the hood? A. This single project will infuse $178 million into that area. You are looking at this project as it looks today. The interest that this project will attract is already starting to show and we haven't gotten everyone under contract yet. Senior living people have showed interest. The TXDOT properties are back in play. Today's hood isn't going to be tomorrow's hood. Have some vision. Also changing neighborhoods doesn't happen over night, be patient. If you have better ideas or solutions, I will be glad to entertain them. If you have more money I will be glad to put it to work in this area.
3. Apartments don't commit crimes people commit crimes and you will simply relocate people to other apartments and the problem will simply be relocated. This doesn't solve anything. A. When I took office gun shots were commonly heard each night. With police and code cooperation we have moved gangs out and relocated them elsewhere. The President's corner area is safer today due to that effort. Yes they relocated and I'm certain that they are still out there, but those efforts have improved this neighborhood. There are 45,000 multi family door knobs in Arlington. Mr. Kembel talked about his relocation plans. He is an earnest and sincere man with Arlington's best interest at heart. He will soon move here and his family will become Arlington citizens. He has skin in the game. I referred to a study done by Dr. Bowman concerning calls to service verses apartment condition/economic level of residents. I showed two different apartments complexes and the difference in calls to service and why. We showed you how we plan to maintain the apartments over time. I told you that I would take you to single family neighborhoods that are unsafe due totally to the above factors and not density. The hypothesis that density produces crime is inaccurate and you will have to come to terms with that. The world is a complicated place. I don't plan on fixing it, just making it a better place to live.
4.What are the infrastructure costs? Where is that money coming from? A. Demo is 2.5 and sewer and drainage is 750K. These monies will come from our economic development department/capitol budget. The 5.2 for the park renewal and linear median park will come from Parks and Recreation budgets.
I would like to go on record and thank my co-host Jimmy Bennett, and the panel of Trey Yelverton, Bob Kembel, Bruce Payne and Bowie Hogg. Their knowledge and honesty was displayed for everyone to see. Simply put, we are men that are trying to make Arlington a better place to live. It was a great town hall and it couldn't have succeeded without the support of the citizens of Arlington. Thank you!