Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What Organization are You Talking About Anyway?

Lots of confusion about the Deep Ellum Association and the Deep Ellum Foundation. I need to make this perfectly clear:

In their origin, the Deep Ellum Association (a non-profit organization) was to be financially supported by The Deep Ellum Foundation (a supporting organization). The Foundation existed exclusively to help the Association.

The Association's funds come from an operating account that generates money from membership fees and fund raising.

The Foundation's funds come from a PID account (Public Improvement District) that generates money from property owner's overcasting themselves and overpaying a small percentage of property taxes. That percentage dumps into the PID. This is a significantly larger account.

The PID $ is supposed to be spent every year on public improvement, marketing, and efforts to maintain and strengthen the neighborhood.

For many years they worked hand in hand...

Then, in February 2007, these organizations split. The Association was kicked out their office on Commerce, and the PID funds are now directed solely by The Foundation.

Now, 9 months later, The Association has a new office on Elm St. (2822), and I am in there every day trying to organize 16 years of paperwork, and get this service to the community up and running.

I've spent many hours of MY OWN TIME trying to help out on the SUP cause, and though I cannot speak for the Association (please note that it is not the Foundation), it is not opposed to the clubs, bars and tattoo parlors.

The Association is made up of residents, business owners (all types) as well as a few land owners.

Note: Don Cass, a land owner, has came and spoke kindly about businesses in these SUP hearings. They are not all bad or trying to bulldoze the neighborhood. In fact Don Blanton (our landlord) was in today to take a look at the office, and yesterday he personally taught me how to use our trash compactor.

These men are both members of the Association.

My friend Mark from Pawn (an Association member) wants you to read this:

"We wanted to post this up to negate some of the comments directed towards the nebulous “they” which our name occasionally becomes attached.

The purpose of the Deep Ellum Association is to represent business owners and residents in the area. The members of the Association work and live in the area and have similar concerns to many of our neighbors. There has been some confusion between our goals and the goals of the Deep Ellum Foundation, which consists of major property owners and real estate developers.

Just to clarify some points:

The Deep Ellum Association consists of small business owners and is all for business that run in a responsible manner, obey the laws and behave like good neighbors. This includes tattoo parlors, nightclubs, bars, restaurants and sex shops as well as the other diverse range of businesses in the area. Deep Ellum is a bastion of music, art, culture and commerce and we embrace everything which promotes that end in healthy proportions.

The Deep Ellum Association does not support the coordinated efforts of developers, major property owners and the Deep Ellum Foundation have been engaging in to close down business and gentrify the neighborhood. A large number of Associations members would be directly affected by an increase in rent/taxes, not to mention the unique history and texture of this amazing area would be obliterated.

We are of the opinion that some development is inevitable but should be coordinated with a master plan which includes as much of the old as possible, incorporating new construction as appropriate. We believe the plan should be an updated version of Plan Development 269, which was developed by an urban planning firm at the request of the city. (this plan can be found at

The SUP is a city-wide program and was not invented by The Deep Ellum Association or Foundation. Oak Lawn and Greeville Avenue bar/clubs all have to get use permits. The SUPs were brought into the area by the major property owners to combat some of the clubs which were not good neighbors and cause problems. The concept of parking allotments for square footage is not supported by the Deep Ellum Association. We are working to maintain what already is a walking entertainment area, so the idea of having mandatory parking is contrary to our goals.

DEA Mixer
We will be having our next neighborhood meet and greet on November 15 from 6-8pm at Crustaceans (2711 Elm). We invite you all to come have and speak with us in person. We will endeavor to get as many DEA members to come to that event, so you can get a feel for the overall makeup of our organization."

-taken from Save Deep Ellum

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