West Dallas is an area consisting of many communities and neighborhoods in Dallas, Texas (USA). West Dallas is the area bounded by Interstate 30 on the south, the Trinity River on the east and north, and the Trinity River's West Fork on the west.
In the late 1980s, the neighborhood had a population of 13,161. As of the 2000 U.S. census, there were 24,132 people residing in the neighborhood. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 2.7% White, 37.3% African American, 0.6% Native American, 2.4% Asian or Pacific Islander, 41.8% from Hispanic or Latino, and 15.2% from two or more races.
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One of the city's up-and-coming areas for urban revitalization, West Dallas is seeing new neighborhoods emerge. They include:
- Trinity Groves, on Singleton Boulevard
- Sylvan/Thirty, on Fort Worth Avenue
- Alta West Commerce
- Alta Yorktown
- Cliff View (West of Sylvan and north of Fort Worth Avenue)
These developments are bringing top-tier chefs, yoga studios, fresh-food markets, hip retail and apartments and condos with views of the downtown Dallas skyline, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and the Margaret McDermott Bridge.
Other newer residents of West Dallas include the Belmont Hotel; the restaurant/bar complex Chicken Scratch/The Foundry; The Workroom, the SPCA of Texas, Dead White Zombies theater company, Salon Las Americas event center and MetroPaws Animal Hospital, among many others.
Long-standing neighborhoods in West Dallas include:
- Cross Hampton
- Cross Westmoreland, Dallas
- Commerce Heights
- Colonia Tepeyac, Dallas
- Eagle Ford
- Fish Trap Projects
- Greenleaf Village
- La L'aceate
- La Bajada
- La Estrella
- La Loma
- La Mexicanita
- La Reunion
- Lake West
- Ledbetter Gardens
- Los Altos
- Rupert Circle Projects
- Western heights
- Westmoreland Heights
- Westmoreland Park
- Lone Star Industrial Park
- Singleton Industrial Area
- Turnpike Distribution Center
Public education in west Dallas is provided by Irving and Dallas Independent School Districts, as well as a public charter school from Uplift Education. Dallas schools cover over 90% of the area -- only areas on the north side of the original channel of Westmoreland and on the west side of the original channel of Mountain Creek attend Irving schools. (See: Channeling of the Trinity River)
All students zoned to Dallas schools attend Thomas A. Edison Middle Learning Center and L. G. Pinkston High School, as well as one of the following elementary schools:
- C. F. Carr Elementary School
- Sequoyah Learning Center (Closed)
- Dallas Environmental Science Academy (Now housed in the former Sequoyah LC Building)
- George W. Carver Learning Center
- Amelia Earhart Elementary School
- Lorenzo DeZavala Elementary School
- Sidney Lanier Elementary School Vanguard for Expressive Arts
- Eladio R. Martinez Learning Center
- Gabe P. Allen Elementary School
Students in West Dallas may also attend Uplift Heights Preparatory , a college preparatory, non-selective, but lottery-based public charter school located in the Lake West neighborhood of West Dallas. As of August 2015, Uplift Heights serves slightly more than 1,700 Pre-Kindergarten through 11th grade students. Uplift Heights will have its first graduating class in 2017. Uplift Heights Preparatory has been open since 2006 and is part of Uplift Education.
All students zoned to Irving schools attend Bowie Middle School and Nimitz High School. Students living on the north side of the original channel of the West Fork of the Trinity River attend Schulze Elementary School and students living on the west side of the original channel of Mountain Creek attend Townley Elementary School.
West Dallas Community School, a Christian private school, is in West Dallas.
West Dallas is served by the Dallas West branch of the Dallas Public library at 2332 Singleton Blvd.
West Dallas originated as a community on the outskirts of Dallas. The community was founded in 1886. In 1909 the Thomas A. Edison School was built. Murphy Metals (later known as RSR Corporation), a secondary lead smelter processing company, opened a 63-acre (250,000 m2) facility and in 1934 started operations at the site. The process of secondary lead smelting melts the collected lead materials or, lead scrap, into metallic lead that can then be used to cast into molds. Significant lead emissions can occur from poorly controlled refining, casting, and drossing operations. The city of Dallas]] annexed West Dallas into the city limits in 1954. Before that year, many residents lived in an area lacking the basic services because they resided outside the city lines. Then in 1956 a 3,500-unit public housing complex was to be built just north of the RSR lead smelter facility. The southern edge of the public housing complex was located 50 feet (15 m) from the lead smelter's property line. In 1968 the City of Dallas enacted an ordinance prohibiting more than 5 micrograms per cubic meter over a 30-day period. This act went unenforced because in the 1960s RSR Corp West Dallas facility released more than 269 tons of lead particles into the air each year. During that time few residents could afford the luxury of air conditioning, so in the summers they kept their doors and windows open to combat the heat, directly exposing them to the toxins in the air, even in their own homes. It wasn't until 1972 that Dallas officials learned that lead could be finding its way into the bloodstreams of children who lived in West Dallas and the bordering community of East Oak Cliff. The Dallas Health Department then conducted a study of their own. They found children living near smelters had elevated levels of lead. Lead was able to reach their bloodstream through the air, soil and households in and around their living environments. In areas near smelters children had a 36 percent increase in blood lead levels. The city failed to take immediate action and in 1974 the city sued local smelters. The company agreed to pay $35,000 and install new pollution control equipment. This did little to resolve the problem because in 1983 the pollution equipment had still not been installed at RSR Corp. Pressure from the community on government agencies was beginning to rise. A citizens group appointed by the Dallas City Council, The Dallas Alliance Environmental Task Force, has this to say in a 1983 study
"We believe the city had missed many opportunities to serve and protect the community at large and two neighborhoods in particular in relation to the lead problem we now address. It is clear that the State and Federal governments have also failed in their opportunity to regulate and industry of this type with regard to the general welfare of citizens."
Before that in 1981 public concern and pressure were raised after the West Dallas Boys Club had to suspend outside activity after one soil test showed the soil contained 36 times the level considered dangerous for children. The Club was later forced to close in 1983 due to high lead levels related to the years of operations of the RSR secondary lead smelter operation. After lengthy test and lawsuits and delayed clean-up action, partially government agencies fault, RSR Corp. was ordered by the Dallas Board of Adjusters to close the West Dallas facility. In the summer of 1985 an out-of-court settlement was reached between RSR Corp. and Fred Baron who represented 370 children and 40 property owners who were all affected by the lead emitted from RSR. The settlement was for 20 million dollars. However, with this settlement the land that the old RSR Corp facility used to sit on still contained large amounts of lead contamination dangerous to all ages of people. On May 1993 a proposal of the RSR Corp. site in West Dallas was sent to the National Priorities List, also named a Superfund site President Clinton's administration then brought more publicity to the issue when in November 1993 an article written in The Progressive had this to say
"West Dallas residents celebrated when the Clinton Administration declared last May that they live in the largest lead-contaminated Superfund site in the United States. Portions of one of the nation's biggest housing projects and five schools, all located within five square miles of a now-defunct lead smelter, are slated for cleanup (although Federal Environmental Protection Agency records indicate as much as sixteen square miles of West Dallas are contaminated)."
For the residents who had been pushing for years and decades to solve the problem could lay their case to rest on September 28, 1994, when the EPA signed Preliminary Close Out Report for the RSR Corp. Superfund site stating all clean-up for all the units had been completed. The EPA then signed a Ready For Reuse document in May 2005 declaring the site ready for reuse or redevelopment The EPA reported that the clean-up resulted in direct lower lead blood leaves of children. The community also benefited by having 400 properties 300 acres (1.2 km2) of commercial property eliminated of contamination.
Depression-era celebrity criminals Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker both came from poverty, out of the slum that was West Dallas in the 1920s and 1930s. Rapper The D.O.C. hails from West Dallas. Even though his career started in Los Angeles, he still calls Dallas home. Big Chief whose rap single "My Swag" featured Jim Jones is also from West Dallas. Actress Regina Taylor is from West Dallas.
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