UP City Council Approves New Fellowship Hall at First Unitarian Church

The University Park City Council Tuesday voted to allow the First Unitarian Church of Dallas to revise plans and build a new fellowship hall, choir/music center, and library, and make additional improvements.

The church is at 4015 Normandy Avenue.

“What they’ve proposed to do… with the detailed site plan change is to increase the amount of floor area available for the church and the pre-school daycare, and they’re going to increase the size of their existing fellowship hall — almost double — from about 7,000 square feet to just over 15,000 square feet,” University Park Community Development Director Patrick Baugh said. “The entire campus will get a refresh along with the new, two-story fellowship hall and office building.”

The church’s senior minister, Rev. Dr. Daniel Kanter, said the church has owned the property since 1944.

“The buildings that we’re looking at have not been renovated for over 25 years,” Kanter said. “We have members who remember the original building, we also have brand new members who have just joined us. The church is… a vibrant part of University Park.”

Emily Henry, a member of the church who is helping with the building plans, said the fellowship hall is aging and needs improvement.

“We’re excited about replacing this fellowship hall and making it a lot more efficient space than we have today,” Henry said.

Click for larger image.

In other business, the council:

  • Discussed a proposed license agreement with the Plaza at Preston Center that would allow the center to implement a design plan, which includes steps and planter boxes within city right of way, but didn’t take action on it Jan 21. The ownership of the plaza wants to make improvements to sidewalks along its Preston Road frontage and would need a license agreement with the city to implement the proposals. Mayor Olin Lane said he got the sense from council members that they thought the owners of the shopping center needed to address concerns about the potential impact on parking and traffic along Preston Road before the plan is approved.
  • Commemorated the retirement of fleet manager Les Jackson after 41 years.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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