Rhadames Solano Is Losing His Battle with City Hall to Save His Southern Dallas Soccer Fields

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Rhademes Solano's plight first came to public attention in February, when he showed up at a public meeting in southern Dallas. Along with community activist Carlos Quintanilla, he protested the city's plan to seize 23 acres he owns near the intersection of Intersection 45 and Great Trinity Forest Boulevard to make way for the Texas Horse Park.

His case was sympathetic: Solano, a 61-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic and former public school teacher, had owned the land for 16 years, operating it as the Trinity Park and Club, a semi-private park. There were a pair of lighted soccer fields, a concession stand, a picnic area -- all amenities not widely available in that part of southern Dallas. He wondered why a well-established community asset was being shoved aside to make way for City Hall's newest bauble.

"This is not a community project," Solano said of the horse park, according to Schutze's report from the February meeting. "This is only for people with money."

The city responded by moving forward with its eminent domain lawsuit. Ever since the Trinity River Corridor Project was first being planned in the mid-1990s, they argued, the city has been snatching up parcels of land within the 100-year floodplain, partly for flood protection, partly so that the project's various recreational features can move forward. Plus, they've pointed out, Solano built three structures on his property in the floodplain without the proper permits, and they have no record of receiving sales tax money from Solano or the Trinity Park and Club.

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Last month, the judge in the case awarded Solano $300,000 for the loss of his property, about $45,000 more than the city had initially offered.

Solano still isn't quite satisfied. He showed up at this morning's City Council meeting to protest the seizure of his land, portraying it as an attack on his family and the community.

Quintanilla was there, too. "It seems that when it comes to displacement in the city of Dallas, the Hispanic community is always being displaced," he said, gesturing to the 15 or so residents of the Dallas West Mobile Home/RV park whom he'd brought with him.

There were indeed racial undertones. The four men who spoke against the city's seizure of Solano's land were Hispanic. The one woman who spoke in support, a Pleasant Grove resident named Yolanda Williams, as well as the council members who spoke most vociferously in favor, were black. "I'm offended," Williams said, "when I hear anyone sit here to say they're working for the community."

But Williams was more concerned with scoring a high-profile amenity for her community ("I want you to remember: We too deserve something nice in Pleasant Grove") than with race, and council members were simply eager to move forward on a long-delayed project.

"The citizens of Dallas have made the decision to go forward with the Trinity River Project," said Councilwoman Vonciel Hill. "The horse park is part of that project. It is important to the citizens of southeast Dallas."

Besides, Hill pointed out, the matter has already been decided. The council has already voted to use eminent domain and gotten tentative approval from a judge; the discussion today was simply on whether to allocate the $300,000 payment.

Solano's hope now is that the city will allow him to lease back his property until the second phase of the horse park is built. City staff were resistant to the idea, fearing the buildings on the property might be unsafe, but Councilman Scott Griggs struck a hopeful note.

"I hope this does not come down to an either/or proposition," Griggs said, saying the city should follow the doctor's oath to do no harm. "I think we come into the communities, we look at the assets that are there, we build on the assets that are there. You look at a soccer field and you add a horse park to it."



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20 comments
Obummer
Obummer

Yo betweenz vacationz eyez availablez fo’ somez mo’ beerz uh diplomacy.

acerda
acerda

With hundreds of acres that's available to the horse park, Trinity Park & Club is an excellent location for them because of the availably of electricity, water and access to the area.   Another location would require the HP to order utilities, which of course cost time and money.  Cowboy Up, next to TP&C,  was doing good until some people from the HP came with a made-up story of some rift between themselves and joined  up with Cowboy Up.  Then the city came in and began to harass Tony, the property owner with violations. TP&C did not forget to give the right people there equity share, we don't believe in that.  Citizens of Dallas fought for years for equal representation only to have some, not all, succumb to equity sharing.  If you have notice, the horse people are letting their money speak for them through VHill, of course it's only contributions for her campaign.  So here we are, let the jury by citizens of Dallas decide. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

What good is a soccer field without a horse park, anyhow?

Right, Vonciel?

accionamerica
accionamerica

Eric

The issue is not a done deal, it has to go to mediation, the judge has not given her approval and we will reconfirm that with Judge Montgomery tomorrow. The case is set for trial in January and we are meeting with City Attorneys. The $300,000 is an increase from the $237,000 (first city appraisal) and the $300,000 was an increase awarded by the commissioners not by Judge Montgomery. We believe very strongly that the city has not met the burden of public necessity for the taking of Mr.. Solano's property, simply because it wants to, it still has to convince a jury that it has met that burden of proof. Mr. Solano believe it will not be able to do it.

Carlos Quintanilla

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

Remember it is only your property if the connected don't want it.

tedbarker45
tedbarker45

Bad Blood developing on Pemberton Hill Road - Solano Soccer

This is related to the concerns about Big Spring. Remember that several of the Save Pemberton's Big Spring "Deputies" met with Mr. Solano and his staff earlier, in July.

Both Trinity Park and Club and Cowboy Up represent strong male leadership in a community that struggles to keep heads above water.

Mr. Solano has some very creative sports concepts, supports over 21 youth teams along a road the City of Dallas refuses to maintain.  Many of his "kids" walk to the bucolic complex in the trees. 

The City of Dallas does not have an idea when it will need the land, go figure, eh? We have some ideas on how to settle this sore thumb issue as discussed with Mr. Solano.

Time to stand up to City Hall, stand with us to help this worthy enterprise.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

I guess he forgot to give the right people their equity share.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

what a fucking disaster, but you know, Dallas doesnt give a shit about bad PR, the rich folks just slap em on the ass and say thanks for the land!

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

More proof that Dallas is not run for the ordinary people (who are what truly make a city world class). but for the elite.

Money for horse parks, but not soccer fields or other facilities that most people will use.

I really do not think the rich people running Dallas truly understand what world class is.

WylieH
WylieH

Very depressing.

acerda
acerda

@TheCredibleHulk Vonciel is insist that the city is offering ten times more than the property is worth, and the city just recently, without notice to Coach Solano, raised his property value, I suppose to offer him more money.  OK.  What about the worth, the value of the business, Vonciel?  This is Coach Solano's livelihood.  Get-it, VHill?

Tom434
Tom434

@accionamerica According to the Court's record the he does not have an attorney.  Doesn't mean he can't win his case, but it makes it much more difficult.  Pro se litigants do not win very often

acerda
acerda

@tedbarker45 It's not the city, it's the horse park pulling the strings and they want to use the land now.

acerda
acerda

@primi_timpano TP&C does not believe in equity sharing.  TP&C is exposing this type of city government. 

casiepierce
casiepierce

@Tim.Covington They have Boston envy. What they don't understand is that Dallas (or Texas) is not Boston (or Massachusetts). Our version of a blue-blood is a wildcatter who got lucky, or a rancher who got in on some of the free land-grab deals going on in the 1820's. They are not the kind of people who give two farts about  polo. They probably curse. And spit. And wear cowboy boots to snooze at the opera. It's why Fort Worth will always have better, more "world-class" things than Dallas, because we keep trying to be people we're not, and never have been. Fort Worth embraces their roots. Dallas does not.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Tim.Covington

" I really do not think the rich people running Dallas truly understand what world class is."

It is a cocktail party for {Name of Charity being benefited} with a mention in Alan Peppard's column.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

He really needs a lawyer or a patient, sympathetic judge.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Acerda, my comment was a sarcastic reference to the apparent costs of doing business in south Dallas. The horse park is a joke. It is the latest toy for the Park Cities horse crowd who do not have the the space or support to build this in their own neighborhood. It is the newest item on their wish list and they rationalize it with a steaming bowl of world class civic mindedness. Fight the good fight but be ready to pack your bags.

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