For the past two months, during the hottest part of the summer, the city of Dallas has provided residents along Samuell Boulevard with an unusual treat: the sight of $350,000 in taxpayer-funded landscaping shriveling up and dying.
The reason is the sort of hand-in-glove coordination and cooperation by government that made launching the federal stimulus so successful, WFAA News 8 tells us.
In 2010 the Texas Department of Transportation completed the widening of 2 ½ miles of Samuell Boulevard from Interstate 30, at a cost of 21 million federal and Dallas taxpayer dollars.
In the new median contractors put in an irrigation system to refresh $350,000 in landscaping that includes 624 crepe myrtle trees, the News 8 story says.
The Department of Transportation, abiding by what it contends was its agreement with the city of Dallas, stopped watering the median’s vegetation at the end of May.
Taking the baton cleanly on the handoff, (just so we can get a Summer Olympics reference into this story), Rick Galceran, the city’s director of Public Works and Transportation, said the city was certain the neighbors along Samuell would take up the watering.
And carrying the baton to the finish, Carolyn Johnson, with the principal homeowner’s association along the boulevard, says no agreement had ever been made for residents to assume responsibility for the median.
"We gave many opportunities for the community to take over," Galceran said at a recent and agitated public meeting. "It doesn't look like nobody [sic] has taken over."
Perhaps it was because the Department of Transportation says its agreement was for the city of Dallas to take over. Informed of that, Galceran promised city crews would leap into action.
All they have to do now is find out whether the state, the city or the neighborhood association was supposed to remember where the irrigation switch is.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-891-8303 or email@example.com.
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Photo of dead trees by Duncan Holmes, used via a Creative Commons license.