By Jessica Huseman, CBSDFW.COM

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Dallas has issued a challenge to local artists and architects to redesign a power plant located next to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

The challenge is to turn the decades old West Levy Substation, which many feel is an eyesore, into a work of art. The contest is part of the build up to the opening of the new bridge, which is slated to open at the beginning of 2012.

“This is to generate ideas on how we can take what many folks have seen as negative and turn it into positive,” said David Whitley, associate director of CityDesign Studio. “It is not feasible to move the plant, so we need to make the best of it.”

A selection panel will choose three to five contestants to provide site-specific designs, and the winners will receive stipends ranging from $5,000 to $8,000.

The funds for the competition are provided as part of the $100,000 grant the city received from the National Endowment for the Arts Mayors’ Institute in order to fund projects that enhance the livability and appearance of the city. No funds will be provided from the city’s already stretched budget.

Whitley said this contest is only to “spark ideas” and the designs may not necessarily be implemented.

“This is just for idea generation. There is not currently funding to implement this,” he said. Whitley said that once the final ideas are chosen, they will be used in an attempt to secure funding.

Artists can design enhancements for three different areas: on top of the eight-foot retaining wall bordering the plant, in the public area around the plant and within the plant itself.

Oncor Spokesperson Jeamy Molina said the artists will be required to focus on the external appearance of the power plant and designs cannot include changes to the power plant itself.

“Nothing about the service center can be changed physically,” said Molina. “What happens there is very critical to making sure we continue to deliver reliable service.”

In order to ensure they are meeting design and safety requirements, Molina said artists will be allowed to tour the plant.

The contest, which runs through July 8, is sponsored by the City of Dallas, CityDesign Studio and Oncor. Click here to enter or for more details.