By Stephanie Kuo
The North Park Terrace Apartments in Vickery Meadow has been a bit of a ghost town for the past few months. Tenants of the 300-unit complex began moving out in October when they were told that the Dallas Independent School District had purchased the property as part of a 2015 bond package and would be building a new elementary school.
With demolition slated for the end of the summer, the complex has fallen into disarray. Tenants say North Park Terrace certainly wasn’t the Ritz before but, now, garbage is piling up, repair requests are going unanswered and security is slacking.
“There’s a lot of things they were letting go around here and they knew it was happening,” said resident Janice Conley.
All the while, tenants still have to pay the rent while they look for a new — and affordable — place to live. The school district is offering $1,200 to help them cover security deposits and application fees, and a couple hundred more to help with moving costs.
The issue is tenants don’t think that’s enough, and on top of that, they aren’t likely to get any of that money up front.
“As a government entity, Dallas ISD has to provide relocation help to the tenants, and they also, as a landlord, need to keep up with their basic landlord-tenant duties, and what we’ve been hearing from the tenants is that they’re not really being able to do both or either,” said Supawon Lervisit, an attorney with Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, who’s representing the North Park Terrace tenants.
The property management company DFW Advisors, which is overseeing apartment management and tenant relocation, referred KERA’s questions to the Dallas school district.
“It’s an unfortunate situation in that they are going to have to relocate to a new place, and we work with the individuals, and we try to do it to where it’s the least disruptive as possible to the tenants,” said Scott Layne, who is deputy superintendent of operations for Dallas ISD. “But invariably, they will have to move at some point, so we try to work with them.”
The new school is being built to help ease overcrowding at nearby Jill Stone Elementary.
Layne said a new school is an opportunity for neighborhood growth.