DALLAS — There's a new buzz among neighbors in South Dallas.
Many longtime residents and business owners say they are excited about plans for a new streetscape project. It’s an initiative designed to beautify the area along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the main corridor leading to Fair Park.
“This is the heart of the black community in Dallas,” said Thomas Muhammad of the Innercity Community Development Corporation. Muhammad, a life-long resident of South Dallas, said he’s been watching the plans from various city offices and renderings of the new towers designed to help improve the look of his neighborhood.
The streetscape tower project is slated for a section of MLK Boulevard. Workers are planning to install a series of artistic towers along the road at intersections between Atlanta Street and Fair Park.
“As people drive through, they come through these towers and see all of this pride and beauty,” Muhammad said. “It enhances the beauty of what’s happening in the community.”
Design renderings show the artistic towers will be illuminated and will feature cultural motifs. Some of the structures will have benches and famous quotes and images of iconic figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
City workers say the project is part of a larger and ongoing effort to attract more people to South Dallas and to make Fair Park a year-round destination.
“We've been waiting for this type of an opportunity," said business owner Ephraim Oladiran.
Oladiran has run his clothing store, Freedom Fashions, near the intersection of MLK and Malcolm X boulevards for nearly 31 years. He said he believes the new towers will bring more traffic and return customers.
Oladiran also said the city is giving him and other businesses a chance to apply for grants to beautify their stores by changing the facades.
“When people see a beautiful thing, they tend to it. They want to pursue it,” Oladiran said. “When they see ugly things, they tend to stay away.”
City workers expect the South Dallas streetscape project could be completed by September 2014, just in time for the State Fair of Texas.