DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/KRLD) – There’s a new plan to help bring more places to live and shop to downtown Dallas. John Crawford, with Downtown Dallas Incorporated, says the “Dallas 360 Plan” covers a lot of small details. Proponents say 360 would connect neighborhoods, make for a stronger economy and create an active street scene. But is the plan realistic, especially in this economy?

The Dallas City Council heard from speakers claiming that downtown will define the future. And with the area beginning to emerge from an economic slowdown, they say, now is the ideal time to put the blueprint into action.

“I’d argue that downtown Dallas is not only important to all of Dallas, but all of this entire region,” said Mayor Tom Leppert.

The plan focuses on the core seven of 16 downtown areas. It has ideas to expand transit, seek new solutions to parking issues, create vibrant streets and public places, create an overall urban design plan, and offer more and better types of housing.

‘It’s a very strategic plan and it covers everything from the type and color of pavers on the street, to lighting plans. We’ve never had that kind of thing downtown before,” explained John Crawford with Downtown Dallas Incorporated.

One area getting a close look is 13-acres near the Arts District. The land is currently owned by a single developer who has hopes of putting in a mix of office and retail space, as well as residential homes.

“One of the focus areas is from the new convention center hotel, all the way up Lamar, through the West End and into Victory,” said Crawford. “So it’ll be a much broader scope of what the Arts District really means, other than just culture.”

There’s a similar vision for the land where Reunion Arena once sat, couples with union Station. And there’s thought for stimulating entertainment options near the West End. The city already has parks and a convention center hotel in the works.

To help with development, Crawford promises the private sector will do its part to help, something some councilmember’s feel is vital. “I was one of the skeptics,” said Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt. “The depth of the detail in what it’s going to take to revitalize certain areas to make them truly livable and walk able and exciting.”

Councilmember’s will get a final briefing next month. If all goes well at the briefing, the council will make a formal city policy in April.

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