In Dallas this weekend the “in” place to be is the newly completed Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Designed by a Spaniard, Santiago Calatrava, the clean, futuristic lines take one’s breath away. The sweep of its arches and span inspires. So I can appreciate the lofty rhetoric surrounding it and the mystique it’s engendered.
According to city leaders, the Bridge will “connect” downtown Dallas to West Dallas. On the downtown side the skyline is dominated by the W Hotel– where you can sip a $20 cocktail and be inspired by the Bridge. On the west side, you can splurge with a $2 Corona and your income clocks in at $12,000 a year; half the median per capita income citywide.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings claims, “The city’s newest landmark symbolizes his desire to close that gap”. U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson says, “This is a structure that brings the city together”. Yet, many in Dallas call it “the bridge to nowhere”. Does the east side want to bridge the gap? Can a bridge actually bridge the chasm between a $20 drink and a $2 beer?
Not normally a skeptic, as I wandered the area and walked the Bridge this weekend, and experienced the new upscale Brewery going in, and the very much east side of the Bridge shops; my thought was- where will the person who now pays $200 a month rent move to when her place is knocked down to make way for the upscale building that will surely take place here? By the way, did I mention that the ‘hood’ directly around the bridge is Hispanic, with many of the families having lived there for generations?
The newspapers say, “The Trinity River Corridor Project, (anchored by this Bridge) is the most complex and the largest urban development effort undertaken by the city and it will make Dallas the envy of other large cities as it transforms a flood protection solution into an opportunity for community revitalization, economic development and the creation of a world-class greenway”.
We’ll see- I’m not a cynic, and I sure hope the Bridge does in fact fulfill its promise- to connect. Yet? That new Brewery- I paid $4 for a glass of ale!
– Niki McCuistion