Business owners in the Merriman Park area of Northeast Dallas expressed concern and frustration Tuesday over a plan from Dallas ISD to acquire eight parcels of land for a potential new elementary school.
Dallas ISD voted in October to draft a resolution setting aside nearly $13 million to acquire the land east of Skillman Street and north of Walling Lane.
Properties include City View Antique Mall, Jake's Hamburgers, a Chevron gas station, Merriman Park Automotive and Collision, a law office, Security Self Storage, First Cash Pawn and a daycare facility.
Lynda Reed says she is one of 65 independent dealers at the popular antique mall just north of where Skillman/Abrams cross south of Park Lane.
"We're not a destination, we're a drive-by location, so we get a lot of businesses and shoppers from Lake Highlands, Highland Park, even Fort Worth," Reed said. "I was devastated when I heard about the deal."
Dallas ISD says right now there is no deal, that the process to acquire the properties is still very early on and the board of trustees has not signed off on giving the district eminent domain authority to acquire any land.
But DISD board president Dan Micciche confirmed to News 8 the district is seeking the land to potentially build a new elementary school.
"We need to find a solution to the inadequate facilities that exist at Jill Stone Elementary and the overcrowding at both Hotchkiss Elementary and Jill Stone," Micciche said.
Dallas ISD told WFAA enrollment at Hotchkiss Elementary was at 901 students on Tuesday, the first day back from winter break. Several students attend all their classes in portable buildings outside the main building, according to the district.
The campus is approximately one-quarter mile east from the eight businesses in question.
"I think we need to have a lot more community input before we settle on a location," Micciche said.
A community meeting will take place at Jill Stone Elementary at 6 p.m. Wednesday.