Sep 7, 2022 - Business

Dallas' Mill City neighborhood fixing blight to decrease crime

Illustration of construction workers analyzing a house on top of a stack of money.

Illustration: Trent Joaquin/Axios

Southern Dallas' Mill City neighborhood is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars to remediate blocks of vacant lots and boarded-up buildings.

Driving the news: Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced Tuesday that his task force on safe communities is giving $100,000 to Builders of Hope, an affordable housing developer.

  • Council member Adam Bazaldua, who represents the area, is also contributing $50,000 from his office's funds.

Why it matters: Blight remediation is part of city leaders' efforts to find non-policing solutions to reduce crime. It's a shift from traditional crime reduction measures like adding more patrols.

  • Cleaning up neighborhoods and adding lighting can improve public safety and create a sense of community for residents.

Details: The $150,000 in funds from the mayor and council member will add to grant money Builders of Hope has already received for its initiative to clean up abandoned buildings block-by-block in the neighborhood near Fair Park.

  • The group estimates each lot will cost about $5,500 to fix up and plans to remediate 80 lots in two years.

Flashback: A January 2020 report by the safe communities task force proposed non-policing recommendations to combat crime, including remediating blighted lots and increasing outdoor lighting in high-violence areas.

Zoom in: Mill City has about 5,000 households. Since 2017, more than 400 thefts, almost 300 burglaries, more than 100 robberies and more than 550 assaults have been reported in the neighborhood.

What they're saying: Alendra Lyons moved back to her childhood neighborhood more than a decade ago and found that the once close-knit community was fractured by blight and crime. She said the plan to clean up Mill City gives her hope.

  • "I want it to be a place of safety and beautification," Lyons said, tearing up after the donation announcement.

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