The South Dallas Government Center (SDGC) has gone from the dream stage to reality. Dallas County posited its first new construction in Southern Dallas in 60 years at the southwest corners of Polk Street and Westmoreland.
Daryl Martin, the visionary Court Administrator for Dallas County, began the ceremony by introducing the professionals that made it possible. Groups like Sierra Capital, OMS Strategic Advisors, Satterfield and Pontikes, and KAI Designs.
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was peacock proud and honeymoon happy. This project proved again that Black/Minority contractors could get the job done and meet every objective. The SDGC had 41% MWBE participation, 50% General Contractors, 90% Design Firm, and 100% capital financing.
Dallas County’s first and only Black commissioner arrived at his desk in 1985 to find a dilemma. Black businesses were scarce, and the best year netted $50K in contracts. Since then, those numbers have skyrocketed in the 100’s of millions, but still far short of his personal goal.
What irks JWP and should worry you is that you add up the budgets at the City, County, School District, Parkland, The North Texas Toll Authority, the Dallas College District, and the airports at DFW and Love Field, it amounts yearly to tens of billions of dollars. Yet, black and minority business owners still get far less than 5% of the total outlays.
There is still a “White’s only” sign posted at the door when it comes to taxpayer money. Your tax money is handed to others by a history of injustice. Racism, patriarchy, and greed continue to reign in Dallas, Texas.
BTW. The republishing of Jim Schutze’s “The Accommodation is coming soon. Get the book. You can’t solve the mystery if you don’t know the history! (Hey, I just made that up, but it sounds good!)
The SDGC is significant for several reasons. First, not only did it replace an old retrofitted AT&T operator services unit, but it also houses a wealth of agencies that you need daily.
The 73,000 square foot facility on the north end houses the Justice of the Peace Courts and Constable’s office in District 1, the Dallas County Sheriff Patrol, the Dallas County Tax office, and Dallas County Veterans Services. The southern end of the campus is the new home of the Dallas County Training Academy and has 11,000 square feet.
The Southern end of the campus is the new home of the Dallas County Training Academy and has 11,000 square feet. Sheriff Marion Brown wants to get her officers closer to the people they serve. You cannot have “community policing” if you have no roots in the community.
The well-placed artifacts and exhibits in the building pay tribute to Court officials and Law Enforcement officers who made history by being the “firsts” in Dallas County. In addition, there is a 22-foot mural design that is aesthetically captivating and historically significant.
The Dallas Public Library collaborated with the project to showcase photographs that depict the lives and challenges of Black people in this city and county. The Marion Butts collection is extensive, and a small part of it landed on the walls of the SDGC. Visit the library too!
If you need a title change, a small claims court, or help with your veteran’s benefits, you can get service in an environment that speaks to the culture and beauty of Southern Dallas.
There is also a hanging featuring John Wiley Price. Most of the attendees felt that the SDGC should be named in his honor. Administrator Martin stunned the audience with the official word that Commissioner Price had 51 years of service with Dallas County. (If I’m dead that long…turn me over!)
The “great divide” in quality of life issues, broadband and general services are still plaguing the south side of America’s ninth- largest city. Commissioner Price opined that the average life span south of I-30 is 23 years shorter than our neighbors north of the line are.
If you live in the South and you love the South, you had better go soon. Twenty-three years will come before you know it! Hurry Hurry!
Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.