The November 4th election is going to be one of the most exciting ballots Denton has faced in a while. Along with all the state races, we will have a great opportunity to weigh in on local issues such as a city-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing, city-wide legalization of liquor sales (which you can read more about with our post from the other week), and a blue ribbon committee bond proposal that could see a lot of interesting things happening in the future. In the coming months, there will be campaigning for all of these proposals to get the votes from the community to pass. Why does all this matter? Because these ballot initiatives will have a direct affect on the future of our city. That’s why it’s very important to make sure you have a photo ID and are registered to vote.
The state races are also important and a great source for tracking them can be found at The Texas Tribune, which is the Texas-focused website from the former editor of Texas Monthly, Evan Smith. If you haven’t been in touch and want a pretty interesting state politics podcast to listen to, we recommend checking out the Texas Tribune TribCast on iTunes.
One hotly debated item recently has been the proposed city / UNT / O’Reilly Convention Center. Last night, the Denton Neighborhood Alliance organized a community discussion in the courthouse led by a presentation by Mike Cochran. If you’re still gathering info on this issue, now is the time to get caught up. Kevin Roden wrote On Process And Economics: How To Think About The Proposed Convention Center which you can read at his blog if you haven't already. The bottom line is that we are in need, as a growing city, of a larger event space than what we have. Is this proposed convention center the answer to that need? Is it the right location? Is it the right deal? The burden of proof is on the city staff, city leadership and UNT at this point to prove and communicate their argument for this public / private project. Last night, Jon Fortune made the case for the city defending the projects process and financial feasibility to the residents. After comments in support and opposition of the project from the residents, as Mike Cochran was closing the discussion a lady on the back row shouted, “Let us vote on it!” If by some chance this does get put to the ballot, get ready for an even more exciting election cycle.
Some other goings-on around the square include the Fine Arts project which we wrote about back in May. The project is well underway and gathering community support. The Fine Arts building has been one of those “why isn’t that an actual theater” questions we’ve been hearing for over a decade. We hope this effort pans out and they are successful in opening this incredibly interesting space up as a small screen theater downtown. There will be crowd fundings and fundraisers along the way as they are planning to rehab the building in phases and we hope to have some more in depth information to y'all shortly.
Keep Denton Beautiful is starting a Cigarette Educational Campaign targeting the cigarette litter on the square. This program has previously been successful in cleaning up Fry Street but is now being brought to the square. You’ll see butt receptacles (Editor's Note: Giggle) and a program to raise awareness of litter.
To finish us out for this month, Mentor Denton planning meetings have been going on throughout the summer and they plan on rolling out the launch for this school year at the beginning of the Fall Semester so keep an eye out for that. We’re very excited to be helping to tweak and work on the program and tons of good things are going to come down the pipeline as we head into the new school year.