Merchants Association president calls amount ‘amazing’ but ‘just a scratch’ in total needed; Art Festival set for April 26
The Cedar Springs Merchants Association took a big step toward its goal of renovating the gayborhood shopping district on Friday night, March 20, when its Beautification Benefit and Gala brought in about $16,000."That’s amazing," said Scott Whittall, president of the CSMA and owner of Buli Cafe. "This was our first really major benefit for the beautification project, and I know we had more than 500 people there."
The event, held at The Round-Up Saloon, included a silent auction, an underwear fashion show and auction, and a live auction. The silent and live auctions included donated items such as spa and salon packages, furiture, lighting fixtures, event tickets, dinners and a Puerto Vallarta vacation.
"Everyone was really generous. And it was a real blast. We had a really good time," Whittall said.
Whittall said he knows the $16,000 total from last Friday’s gala "is really just a scratch" in the overall amount needed to pay for the beautification project. But, he said, it is a very good first scratch.
"We’re still in the middle of figuring out what the actual budget for the project will be. The money we are raising right now is just paying to put the project together, paying for consulting fees and renderings, for getting someone to help us to put everything together to take to the city council," he said.
Whittall explained that CSMA hopes to get grants from the city of Dallas to help pay for the project, which will include cobblestoning on the streets, uniform landscaping up and down the strip, new lighting and new banners and signs, as well as posts to use in displaying the banners.
The project will also include archways at either end of the strip intended to designate the area as a distinct destination neighborhood.
"We don’t have final designs for the arches yet," Whittall said. "We’re still working on that."
But the placement of the arches was marked in an artist’s rendering of what CSMA hopes the project will look like when it is complete. Whittall said that rendering was unveiled on Friday at the gala and met much approval.
"Right now, we’re raising the money to get the ball rolling," he said. "The merchants are all on board. Everyone is excited.
"We are already re-establishing Cedar Springs as the most fun street in Dallas to party and shop, and now we are working to make it safe and pretty, too."
The next project coming up will be First Wednesday, next Wednesday, April 1, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Participants are encouraged to collect "gold coins" at merchants on the Cedar Springs strip to earn entries into a drawing for a gift basket.
Next up will be CSMA’s first Art Festival, set for April 25, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
It will be a one-day-only affair. But, Whittall said, "if we get the kind of turnout we are expecting, maybe next year we can expand it to two days. I think it will be amazing."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 27, 2009.