DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Along a stretch of Dallas’ Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, construction workers are clearing a century old collection of deteriorating storefronts — several of which are vacant and vandalized.
The work is part of the on-going project to craft equitable development for three Southern and West Dallas neighborhoods.
Linda McMahon, CEO of the The Real Estate Council (TREC) said people who live there will have a restaurant, businesses and other services right where they are.
TREC oversees a $6 million fund provided by JP Morgan Chase that will finance development initiatives at three low income communities lacking retail, commercial and private development.
“You’re going to see a neighborhood that looks like Bishop Arts, Deep Ellum, but retains the character and history of the community”, McMahan said.
The Forest District, The Bottom and West Dallas Census Tract 205 are the selected communities that will receive the fund investment dollars.
Michelle Thomas, VP of Global Philanthropy for JP Morgan Chase explained that their investment is “serving people of color in areas that are led by people of color.”
Throughout the North Texas region, millions of dollars from private developers have completed redevelopment projects, along with housing and commercial retail efforts.
The same cannot be said for Dallas’ southern, mostly racial and ethnic minority communities.
The median income for the Equitable Development sectors receiving the TREC financing is $45,000 annually. The Forest District campaign aligns along MLK Boulevard, from Colonial Avenue to Lamar Street. The funding will also assist in job training and education assistance for area residents.
“You see all this growth going on in the city, but we know many are being left behind here”, Thomas said.
Affordable housing, neighborhood retail centers, small business creation, healthy food stores and even parks and arts campaigns will all be part of the roadmap for equitable development.
The concept is built on an investment and ideology that challenges economic commitment to Dallas’ struggling neighborhoods, in the same manner as seen in her economically vibrant ones.