DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ economic development initiative targeting a specific region of the city continues to show gradual movement in some locales, and minimal growth in others. Grow South is the now six-year campaign to document, promote and advocate economic expansion in Dallas’ 185 square mile area of the city, south of downtown, and extending west and east. The Southern region’s land mass is larger than the city of Atlanta.
Forty-five percent of Dallas’ population lives in the southern neighborhoods of Red Bird, Fair Park, Winnetka Heights, Pleasant Grove, Kiestwood and many more, yet only 15 percent of Dallas tax revenue stream flows from the south.
Since it’s 2012 inception, Grow South can point to high profile examples of residential, business, commercial and retail development. Home construction now peppers the once vacant lots of the Cedars neighborhood, just south of the Dallas Convention Center.
Specialty public transit rail now moves visitors and residents into the bustling North Oak Cliff entertainment district Bishop Arts.
But signs of the same economic infusion along the Lancaster corridor, a major thoroughfare for commerce, highlighted by the Veterans Administration Medical Center pales in comparison.
In the past year, Grow South’s progress report for the area with 30,000 residents shows the completion of one office building with a donut shop and a T-Mobile Office as two of four tenants.
“I would give us a B-plus,” Rawlings responded, when asked to offer a letter grade of the Grow South initiative. “It’s obvious, we’ve done well in some areas, but we have a lot more to do,” Rawlings added.
In the Wynnewood North neighborhood, just west of I-35 near Illinois, the Grow South campaign includes “strengthening neighborhoods”.
Beth and Greg Gormley moved to the area 15 years ago. The couple’s assessment of the development initiative includes concern regarding lack of wider reach. “Yes, I see plenty of growth in the northern half of the southern sector. I would rather see investment in business and infrastructure. Bring in an Amazon, or a small company,” Greg Gormley said.