By Jeff Paul

Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

OAK CLIFF (CBSDFW.COM) – The Bastille Day celebration in Oak Cliff was met with protest when dozens of community activists showed up to voice their concerns surrounding new development.

The activists lined the entrance at Bastille on Bishop holding signs as they preached to the crowds their desire for “responsible progress.”

“For them it’s just… it’s just another attempt to walk these streets and drink wine. But for us, people’s livelihoods are at stake,” said Ramon Mejia, an Oak Cliff Resident.

Mejia and others are upset organizers of the event, Go Oak Cliff, accepted $500 from controversial development company Alamo Manhattan.

The company wants to build a few five-story buildings in the area. Protesters feel it would outprice and wipe away the already existing community.

“They’re buying their way into making sure whatever development they want is being built,” said Mejia.
Others against the development urged folks to sign a petition that would rezone the area and lower the building height limit.

“I understand the concern, but ultimately we’re not bought and sold for $500,” said Amy Cowen, the Bastille on Bishop event organizer.

Cowen said her group actually invited Alamo Manhattan to sponsor the event. She said the group wants the developer to be a part of what it is trying to invest in throughout the community.

“If they want to come be part of our neighborhood, then they should also help contribute to our neighborhood,” said Cowen.

Protesters like Mejia said taking the money from the developer sends a mixed message to the families and small businesses he feels are being displaced.

“These businesses, that they need to respect the community that’s been living here. That’s all I want is people to respect,” said Mejia.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)