DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)– Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is moving forward with his “Grow South” project, which calls for investing millions of dollars into southern Dallas.
Unfortunately for Jesse Gross, the initial plan does not include his neighborhood. Gross owns a small restaurant, south of Fair Park and admits he could use some more customers. “I’d like to see more businesses in the community and more residential like townhouses to uplift the community and provide some traffic,” said the restaurant owner of 22 years.
Mayor Rawlings’ plan is to focus on areas that have already shown promise and to expand on that growth. Neighborhoods such as West Dallas and North Oak Cliff.
“The key to growth is creating momentum,” said the Mayor. “We’ve already got Bishop Arts, so let’s just jump over there and do Jefferson Blvd. and that will spread that whole area. We’ve already got a bridge [Margaret Hunt Hill]. Let’s just take it a little further and execute our West Dallas plan,” Rawlings added.
Many residents in Dallas do not consider North Oak Cliff and West Dallas part of the traditional southern sector, which has neighbors in South Dallas saying, “what about us?”
Rawlings says his plan does include expanding the success of Lamar Street near the Southside On Lamar Lofts. That area technically falls in South dallas, but it’s also consider to be an extension of the downtown district.
SMU economist, Bernard Weinstein says traditional South Dallas faces some tough challenges. “It’s a hard sell for lots and lots of reasons,” added Weinstein.
Weinstein says the business current continues to flow north and that most investors do not like swimming against the current. “When you’re talking about pushing growth southward, you’re really kind of bucking the on-going trend,” said Weinstein. “You’re not acknowledging the huge investments in infrastructure that have been made in the northern part,” he added.
Mayor Rawlings wants to create a private investor pool with $20 million to start. The Mayor also wants to establish a private fund for southern sector business owners to get low-interest loans.
Although his plan may not not target traditional South Dallas, Rawlings believes new investments in areas that are already making progress will start a new trend that will eventually spread to the southern sector.
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