On a plot of land between Park Lane and Ridgecrest just a walk away from the five corners come-together in North Dallas, the usual traffic jam was a three-ring circus tonight. In addition to the parade of vehicles heading across “The Pond (i.e. Central Expressway)” to NorthPark, there was a surge of folks walking to an empty lot just east of The Pond. Only the day before, the site had been where the homeless had gathered to talk and park their grocery carts filled with bags of their necessities.
But tonight it was a festival of the future. As some neighbors bundled up and walked to the spot, others vied for parking in the surrounding area. There were bounce houses, mobile 18-wheelers like one for the North Texas Food Bank, a couple of fire trucks, loads of give-away stations and even a petting zoo.
As Friends of the Dallas Public Library Executive Director Mary Wilonsky looked over the growing crowd, she admitted that they were there for the festival, not necessarily for the groundbreaking. Still, they stayed for the big moment that included County Commissioner Clay Jenkins, Councilperson Jennifer Staubach Gates, Sarah Losinger and many others for the pledge of allegiance and the showing of the flags.
Jennifer admitted that her recent decision not to run for mayor had had one very disappointed person. It was her grandson Josh, who loves groundbreakings.
Another in the crowd was Literacy Achieves (i.e.Vickery Meadows Learning Center) Executive Director Sarah Papert, who reeled off the incredible possibilities that the new facility would provide as she lined up to snap a shot of the groundbreaking with her Samsung cellphone.
Thanks to the collaboration of efforts among the Dallas Park and Recreation Department, the Dallas Public Library and its Friends, Literacy Achieves and The Crystal Charity Ball’s kick-starting the effort, the arrival of Dallas’ newest library would be tailor-made for the 21st century Dallas with an outdoor area for festivals — a coming-together of the various cultures making up this sweet spot of Dallas.
The new site has so many offerings, including the opportunity for community gathering and a playground for youngsters.
Taking up a shovel for the big moment was Crystal Charity Ball representative Kristina Whitcomb. Recognized from the stage time and time again for the group having kick-started the process of making this former homeless hangout into a high-tech haven for those in search of education and a future, Kristina grabbed her shovel as her sons warmed up their hands in the pockets of father Phil Whitcomb.
In the days ahead, those grocery carts of the homeless may reappear, but they will eventually be replaced by a sanctuary of promise.