DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been talked about for a generation, bridging the economic divide between northern and Southern Dallas.
Today there are not one but to initiatives from Dallas City Hall, one from Mayor Mike Rawlings, a similar one from city staff. Mayor Rawlings calls his “Grow South,” He addressed a late afternoon group of city movers and shakers to plead his case.
“We must start to develop Southern Dallas,” he said, prefacing his plan. It was part of his campaign promise to heal the perceived north-south rift and boost the fortunes of southern Dallas residents.
Leonard Nolen was listening closely; he just moved from the mid-cities back into his childhood neighborhood in the Fair Park area. He bought property first, now he’s moved to cement the deal.
“ If i’m going to have property and be a part of owning something over here you might as well stay over here.”
The mayor’s 10-point plan covers much of the same area as the city staff plan unveiled this weekend. Encouraging economic growth, and changing the sometimes negative perceptions of the area.
“I’m excited about the part that talks about changing perceptions of southern Dallas,” said Bob Stimson, President of the Oak Cliff chamber of Commerce.
He agrees that re-investing in areas like the Bishop Arts District can change perceptions; adding amenities like the Trinity Audubon Center to existing attractions like the Dallas Zoo and the State Fair can, as well. On top of this, the city urges targeting investments into successful areas and tracking and promoting their progress.
Pinnacle Park is a success in terms of business and jobs; Stimson wants the formula repeated down the road at I-30 and Westmoreland.
“Certainly the fact that Pinnacle Park has done so well has gotten investors interested in the property around it” he said. Looking south is where the city says developable land is. It has the infrastructure for highways and transportation, quick access to downtown, and a nearby educated workforce.
Gary Clark hopes the excitement spreads to Central Oak Cliff, where his sporting goods store has been located for more than 30-years. He sees parallels to recent downtown economic success.
“At one time the downtown area was down but they’re doing things to bring people back into the downtown area,” Clark said. “So I’d love to see something like that go on over in this area.”