CS merchants discuss plans for $1.2M bond

Posted on 25 Jan 2013 at 9:00am

Wish list includes narrowing street to 3 lanes, gateway arches, pedestrian parkways on Throckmorton St., but work is unlikely to begin before 2016

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STRIPPERS DEBRIEFED  | Cedar Springs Merchant Association President David Richardson, left, and Rich Galceran, director of the city’s public works department, address the group’s membership at the Rose Room on Wednesday. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

ANNA WAUGH  |  Staff Writer

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David Berryman

Pedestrian parkways, decorative arches and ambiance lighting are among the possible improvements a bond package could bring to the Cedar Springs strip in coming years.

Voters approved the Dallas bond package containing $1.2 million for the strip’s beautification and improvements in November. But while the Cedar Spring Merchant Association has compiled a list of things they’d like to see done with the funds, official planning won’t start until next year.

Rich Galceran, director of the city’s public works department, attended the Merchant Association’s meeting this week to explain the bond process. He said the bond would work like other complete street improvements with a roughly five-year turnaround, adding things such as lighting, extended sidewalks and landscaping from Douglas Avenue to Oak Lawn Avenue.

“It’s a process,” Galceran said. “For complete streets, it takes a little bit longer because of the involvement.”

The city will hire a consultant to work with merchants and citizens in the fall of 2014 to develop a plan with an engineer. The strategic planning and design process takes an estimated 15 months, followed by up to a year of construction, which would begin in late 2016 or early the following year.

David Richardson, the association’s president, spoke about a “wish list” the improvement committee made to get an idea of what merchants and citizens wanted from the bond. The list includes a pedestrian parkway on Throckmorton Street that would block off a half-block on each side of the street at the

Cedar Springs intersection and allow space for pedestrians to walk with benches and landscaping.

Other suggestions include gateway arches welcoming visitors, widening the four lanes along the road to two with a center turn lane, adding a lighted information kiosk for brochures about organizations and entertainment, installing cobblestone crosswalks, and adding overhead lighting and more trees and planters.

Galceran said it was unlikely everything on the list would be able to be done because the cost of the consultant will cost $200,000, so that leaves $1 million to be spent on improvements. He said the only thing the association listed that wasn’t possible was new asphalt for the street, as it would cost about $2 million alone.

Richardson said Galceran’s summary of the process gave him and other members a first look at the timeline and the realistic things that the money could provide. He said the association is going to put together a committee to oversee community meetings for input on the bond project over the next year to help narrow the list down. In the meantime, fundraising will fund other beautification efforts until then.

“This is a long-range project, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to stop raising funds for other improvements,” he said.

David Berryman, who was elected as the association’s new executive director earlier this month, will help oversee planning for fundraisers and events.

Berryman replaced Scott Whittall after he stepped down from the position at the beginning of the month.

Berryman said he accepted the part-time position gladly. While the position is paid, his compensation is still under negotiation.

His goals as the executive director are to keep merchants informed, drive traffic to the strip and reach out to members in person. The strip hasn’t been full in a long time, but Berryman said with so many new merchants and no vacancies along the strip, he wants to help initiate socialization and collaboration.

“I want to bring the personality back to the association where all the merchants know each other,” Berryman said.

Richardson said Berryman is a great fit for the position.

“David is a very valuable person,” he said. “I think he’ll be a very valuable person in that position and one certainly that can come up to the caliber of what Scott [Whittall] was able to accomplish and we’re very proud of that.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 25, 2013.

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