Over 300 business owners and concerned citizens showed up for a public hearing Monday night concerning the 34th Street revitalization project. NewsChannel 11 has already told you that a couple of business owners have been concerned that they'll have to relocate.
Mayor Marc McDougal wants you to know that the plan right now is just a recommendation. The council will have to officially approve the plans before anything can be mandated. He also said no business owner will be forced to relocate. McDougal said something needs to be done; it has been 50 years since bond money has been invested in 34th Street.
Auto repair, cowboy gear, or tax returns, 34th Street has almost anything you need. It also has cracked sidewalks and broken curbs. Dan Wood's auto repair business has been on 34th Street for 45 years. He said the area definitely needs a change.
"We're falling way behind. I think the property will look better and bring our valuation back up," said Dan's Auto Repair Owner, Dan Wood.
34th Street Businesses Confused About City's Plan
Over 300 people listened to the nuts and bolts of the proposed 34th Street improvement plan. Many pictures demonstrate that in its prime during the 70's and 80's, 34th Street was full of business. However, as time progressed, so did the wear and tear of the property.
The plan's main concept is to promote 34th Street's image. Pittman Academy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Owner, Klay Pittman said the current image is fine.
"I think it's a question of what is beautiful. To me my business is beautiful and it works," said Pittman.
Mayor McDougal told business owners if we don't face the issues, 34th Street will turn into another "Overton Park," basically saying if we keep ignoring 34th Street, it will need more than a few curb updates.
"We don't want our core neighborhoods to get to that point and it can happen very easily and quickly once that trend starts," said McDougal.
Monday's meeting was just to listen and gain information. Mayor McDougal says the issue started a year and a half ago as a citizen's concern. He said the council will handle the project according to citizens' wishes.
"We just have to keep going, we can't quit," said Wood.
No matter what the outcome, Wood just wants his business to prosper for another 45 years.
Monday night's meeting was only the first of many public hearings on the project.
One of the big questions many business owners asked was who will pay for the projects if the council decides to go forth with it. Since the plan is in its very early stages, council members don't have an exact answer just yet.