Rebuilding Elm Street brings excitement, worry among businesses




Posted on July 13, 2012 at 12:02 AM

DALLAS - Inside La Grange and Rock and Roll Tacos in Deep Ellum, all eyes are on the major makeover coming to Elm Street in Dallas. The makeover will bring changes and challenges.

"There's always pains with construction, but this area has been kind of neglected for a long time, too," said Diana Parrish from La Grange and Rock and Roll Tacos.

The $5 million renovation from Good Latimer to Exposition Boulevard is expected to start in November. It includes new parking meters, landscaping, utilities, traffic lights and sidewalks. According to the City of Dallas, crews will take a year to finish.

Some business owners are concerned about the construction. They say customers and profits are on the line.

"The only thing we can do is accept and prepare our business for it, and the outcome hopefully, is that it adds to our business," said Khoa Nguyen from Lemongrass Asian Bistro.

The city knows the project will impact business along the street. It has been holding meetings with owners and plans to offer more details on the impact before construction begins.

"It will be a difficult half-year period of time, where we literally have half the road removed and sidewalks removed and minimal access to businesses," said Tom Morris from the City of Dallas.

For Barry Annino with the Deep Ellum Foundation, a neighborhood non-profit, the street's face lift will improve the area's future, but its character will remain.

"We like the edgy part, and I think there's a lot of history," Annino said. "I think there's not any big change with the infrastructure, as far that mentality or that kind of soul that we have. It's just going to be a better place to be."

The money for the project comes from a 2006 bond program. The city hopes to take bids on the project in a couple of months.

The original vision included a similar renovation on Commerce Street in Deep Ellum, but the city does not have the money for it at the moment.

Once both streets are rebuilt, the city plans to convert them into two way streets.