June 25, 2010
DALLAS (SMU) – Southern Methodist University held a public meeting June 24 to provide information on planned improvements to property it owns on the south side of Mockingbird Lane between Central Expressway and Airline Boulevard.
About 40 people attended the meeting, where they asked questions about traffic, lighting and ground water.
The property to be improved will include the site of the former Mrs. Baird’s bakery and adjacent businesses on t—he south side of Mockingbird. SMU’s plans are for non-commercial campus development that “will result in an attractive enhancement of this space,” says Paul Ward, SMU vice president for legal affairs and government relations.
Under current University plans, the redeveloped property will contain facilities such as tennis courts and a throwing field for SMU athletics activities. The southern tip of the property will house a University data center and an enclosed, partially below-grade electrical substation. Structures and landscaping “will reflect the level of quality characteristic of the SMU campus,” Ward says.
First steps will be to address environmental conditions created by previous businesses that included a dry cleaning facility and gasoline stations. To address these environmental conditions, the University is applying to the City of Dallas for approval of a Municipal Setting Designation (MSD). An MSD identifies areas of contaminated groundwater that is not being used for drinking and ensures that the groundwater underneath that area will not be used for that purpose. If approved by the City, SMU would apply for final approval of the MSD from the State of Texas through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The city will hold a public meeting June 30 to discuss the MSD application. SMU is working under the Texas Voluntary Cleanup Program, which allows parties to address affected properties voluntarily, Ward says.
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