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Dallas Council Tees Up Negotiations For Trinity Forest Golf Course

Trinity Forest  golf course 010.jpg
BJ Austin

Plans for a PGA-sanctioned, championship golf course in southeast Dallas are making headlines, but how are they playing in the neighborhood near Loop 12 and I-45?

Joe Talton has lived on Marla Drive, near the golf course site, for 30 years. 

“I think it’s wonderful.  I mean, it’s going to be something new,” Talton says sitting on a stool in his garage. “I’m optimistic.  I’m for it 100 percent.”

Wednesday, Dallas City Council members gave the green light for the city manager to negotiate the deal.  City officials describe it as a major public-private economic development project.

Fatima Edwards is hopeful the golf course will inject new life into her struggling neighborhood.

“We need positive influence around here so we can get better business around here so we can improve job growth. It’s very important right now in our community,” she says while pumping as the BZ Food Store.

But University of North Texas real estate professor Kimberly Geideman says an upscale, membership-only golf course won’t automatically translate to more retail and commercial development.  

“There will be some job opportunities that will arise at the course itself, and possibly at surrounding development that might go on there,” she says. “But, probably the overall impact for the immediate neighborhood and the current residents there, you know small is my guess.”

Geideman says experience shows the biggest impact of a high-end golf course is on property values if residential development grows around the edges. She says that’s particularly good for city revenues.

Councilman Dwaine Caraway believes the rooftops could spring up.  

“In that particular area where there’s nothing but opportunities to develop, you start with the big draw.  The big draw, of course, is the golf course.  People like to live on golf courses. People’s houses are backed up to golf courses,” he says. “So, this is a big beginning for an opportunity to have a great community to be born here around this project.”

Geideman notes that a lot of the land closest to the golf course is either Trinity Forest or floodplain, and that could be a challenge to building homes that back up to the fairway.  But she says residential development would certainly bring businesses such as established grocery and retail stores.

Geideman stresses there are no guarantees.  The exclusive Dallas National Golf Club opened in southwest Dallas in 2001.  Its wrought iron gates and electronic-entry keypad sit at the dead-end of Knoxville Street between Mountain View College and a dozen streets of modest homes.  Anna Stanphill is a longtime resident on Western Park Drive. She says her neighborhood didn’t see any upgrades when the course opened.  In fact, she says, the course is basically invisible, except for traffic.

“The traffic you know, we don’t ever see the people,” she says. “I mean we see the cars coming in, coming and going.  But, it’s in and out.”

Backers of the new golf complex insist it will be much more than that. AT&T and SMU are leading the private fundraising to build the membership-only golf complex at the edge of the Trinity Forest. The SMU golf team will make the course their new home. And planners must also land the Byron Nelson Tournament for the new course if a deal is to be signed. 

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.