New independent restaurants. A walkable shopping district. A sports complex with soccer fields.
These were just a few ideas residents, business owners and community leaders provided Saturday during a public meeting addressing the future of the New York Avenue Corridor.
“We want to make sure the people of East Arlington are the voice of this plan,” project manager Douglas McDonald said. “This is their community.”
The New York Avenue corridor — bounded by East Abram on the north and East Arkansas Lane on the south — serves as a key connector between the Entertainment District, General Motors Assembly Plant and Interstate 20.
City leaders say the area, which was developed in the 1950s and 60s after the opening of the nearby GM plant in 1954, is now primed for redevelopment. Officials envision a plan that capitalizes on the area’s role as a city connector, as well as its cultural diversity and flourishing Hispanic and Vietnamese neighborhoods.
“We see this as an international hub that connects all different areas of Arlington,” McDonald said. “People could come here after the big game in the Entertainment District and maybe get a bite to eat, walk around. This has a lot to offer.”
Consultants with HOK, a Dallas architecture and design firm, said the plan will marry the wishes of residents and business owners with existing zoning and land.
Residents said they were pleased to see the New York Avenue corridor become a priority.
Teresa Ramirez, who has lived on the east side since the 1960s, said she wants the area to undergo a revitalization similar to the one downtown.
“I want new businesses to come in and make this area a little more trendy, a place where people can walk around,” Ramirez said. “We have a lot of old buildings and structures that need updating.”
Corrine Hayes, a homeowner who has lived here for 30 years, said she envisions a thriving corridor with restaurants, retail and possibly even soccer fields, softball diamonds or a swimming pool to engage children and families.
“We need to build something that motivates the younger generation to stay and invest in their community,” Hayes said. “Right now, a lot of younger people are leaving for other areas of Arlington.”
City officials and consultants with HOK will summarize Saturday’s ideas into a draft framework plan, which will be presented at a public meeting March 2.