North Overton development thrives 15 years later - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

North Overton development thrives 15 years later

Statue of Carolyn and Delbert McDougal Statue of Carolyn and Delbert McDougal

Fifteen years ago this month, the announcement was made that Delbert McDougal would completely redevelop the area known as North Overton.

He became concerned with the crime rate and deteriorating properties in the area in the late 1970s and '80s, after purchasing his own apartment complex in the area. With private funds, McDougal purchased 325 acres of land and cleared more than 900 structures for development.

"We saw Overton at its best and we certainly saw it at its worst," McDougal said. "They wouldn't even let Tech students live east of University, so as you can see that has certainly changed big time."

Delbert says he set out to change the area primarily to benefit Texas Tech.

Mark McDougal says two percent of Lubbock’s population lived in the Overton neighborhood before the redevelopment, but the area was responsible for 26 percent of the crime.

"That’s a big distraction for people that want to go to Tech or live and work in the downtown area," Mark said.

Many people had doubts about the plan for redevelopment, but Delbert says he never responded. He knew that many people would not be able to envision what he had in mind.

"I didn't take any offense to what people were saying," Delbert said. "Early on my family even wanted to have me committed."

"It was several months before we had the official announcement, and I thought he had gone crazy," Mark said.

The project has been called the biggest privately funded redevelopment in the country.

"Fifteen years later, it's a completely different area," Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson said. "Crime is down. Restaurants are popping up for the student population that is living here. It has been really good for that area."

"It’s been a huge deal for Texas Tech with student housing and the growth that they have seen since 2000," Mark said.

Last year it was estimated the area brought in more than $300 million in tax revenue. Delbert credits the success of the project to the location.

"I think it was something that happened because of exactly where it was, not necessarily what I did," Delbert said.

Mayor Robertson admits he was proven wrong.

"Here we are 15 years later, and it’s an amazing transformation," Robertson said. "It's a beautiful area, and not only do I have to take my hat off to Mr. McDougal, but I have to eat crow, because I didn't think he could do it."

Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly