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Reinventing Downtown

Officials seek input as revitalization plans start gaining steam

DALLAS -- After excited rumblings on all fronts, Dallas policy makers will come together to find out how best to revitalize the town.

And they want to hear as many voices from the Dallas area as possible.

Last April, the City of Dallas, the Dallas Economic Development Commission and the marketing company, Marketek, hosted an open house and program discussion to get ideas from the community.

Now that Marketek has completed its study on how to take advantage of the area's retail market, the public is invited to another meeting to help direct local officials.

"We want to know if we're missing anything," said Dallas Community Development Director Jerry Wyatt. "We're asking the business community 'What do you want to see?'"

Marketek consultant Mary Bosch will present the company's findings at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30. The meeting takes place at the Civic Center on Jefferson Street, adjacent to Dallas City Hall.

Bosch will discuss strategies to meet identified needs within the Dallas market. These include keeping local shoppers, establishing niche stores and restaurants and improving the city's look and image.

On Nov. 1, City officials, the Economic Development Commission and the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce will meet to develop a plan to put Marketek's recommendations into action.

City Councilor Brian Dalton serves on the Economic Development Commission and the Chamber board. The Chamber is developing a Renaissance Committee to get the community involved in shaping downtown.

"We're seeking people who have a real passion for the downtown" Dalton said.

"It's more for people who aren't involved on these boards and commissions to participate and have their voices heard."

One of the first goals of the new committee may be to seek a National Historic District listing for Dallas.

"That would require a lot of ideas and people involved to knock on doors, talk it up and sell the concept," Dalton said.

The public meeting comes amidst a flurry of activity centered on Dallas.

The City Council approved a facade loan program to give downtown buildings a facelift. City Hall itself got a thorough cleaning and new coat of paint.

City officials continue with the streetscape plan, planting trees on Ellendale, Jefferson and Washington streets and trimming them on Main Street.

A plan to address parking downtown is in the works.

And discussions continue over filling vacant downtown buildings owned by Williams Investment Co.

"They're interested in selling the buildings," Dalton said. "We're actively working with them and feel there is progress."

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