Big D on the big stage – spotlighting Dallas

Casey Thomas | 6/30/2014, 11:48 a.m.
The past two weeks have given the city of Dallas an appearance on the big stage. This past week, we ...
Casey Thomas

The Dallas Examiner

The past two weeks have given the city of Dallas an appearance on the big stage. This past week, we were the host to the New Cities Summit. This is an international event which brings innovative thinkers from around the globe to discuss and develop effective strategies for addressing urban challenges here in Dallas and across the country. There were sessions focused on addressing poverty, housing and developing walkable and sustainable neighborhoods.

One session in particular was centered around Dallas as a changing city. Several of those who served on the panel were former Dallas City Councilwoman Veletta Lill, Chief of Dallas Police David Brown and Brent Brown with the Dallas Design District. Each of them spoke about how Dallas has grown including more parks and greenspace, and how community-based policing has helped to develop a relationship between the beat officer and the residents of a neighborhood.

Many of the visitors who attended talked about how the city of Dallas has changed from the perception that they have had of it based on the television show, Dallas. They didn’t see as many steers or many cowboys or boots as they would have expected. The one thing that was frowned upon was the amount of cars that are on the road and the lack of walkability the city has. While many cities on the East Coast and in other European countries have more density, Dallas has more land to build out, as opposed to building upward.

Our Mayor Mike Rawlings and others who were on the host committee brought out all the stops to show that Dallas is a city that is ready to host big events on the world stage. As the New Cities Summit was concluding, the U.S. Conference of Mayors was just getting started.

Mayors from all over the United States came to Dallas to discuss how they could improve their cities and how they could develop an effective strategy and platform to present to Congress in Washington, D.C. Mayors and their staff were welcomed at the new Continental Pedestrian Bridge for an early morning workout and breakfast. Yoga sessions and other exercise classes were held to get our visitors up and moving. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is led by former NBA player Kevin Johnson, who is the mayor of Sacramento, California. Many African American mayors are in town to see what Dallas has to offer.

The AT&T Stadium played host to a series of events and a concert by country singer LeeAnn Rhimes. The Klyde Warren Park also was a destination for guests, as the singer Lyle Lovett performed there. While there was plenty of entertainment, the mayors also got down to business.

The Omni Hotel served as the host hotel for the conference. Most of the meetings took place there. Several members of the Obama administration were in town to address the mayors. Also, several of the African American mayors attended a Black mayoral leadership meeting at Concord Church on Sunday morning and attended worship service while they were in town.

As the Conference of Mayors was taking place, Dallas also served as the host city for the National Baptist Congress. Over 30,000 attendees were in town to take courses that were offered on how to become better teachers, preachers, Deacons and leaders in the Black church. While in town, many of our guests attended some of our finest eating establishments and entertainment venues. This added to the income that the city has made during this week.

Our city has had a chance to shine on the biggest of stages the past couple of weeks. This weekend, our city will serve host to the Texas Democratic Party State Convention. We should take pride in this. We should also continue to do what we can to make Dallas a city that we can all be proud of.