Sidewalk cafes, a dog park, public art and landscaping, and more housing, retail and entertainment options are part of the City’s vision for a vibrant Downtown Arlington.Over the past 10 months, the City and the Downtown Master Plan Advisory Committee gathered extensive public input to establish a strategic framework and specific action items designed to guide the next generation of development in the heart of Arlington. The new Downtown Master Plan, “Building the Dream Downtown,” features more than 100 implementation items that aim to establish Downtown Arlington as a distinct destination, support a robust economy, and foster a diversity of housing types, retail activity, open spaces, and cultural attractions. The City Council unanimously approved the plan, which is an update of the City’s 2004 Downtown Master Plan, at its Tuesday, Nov. 27 meeting.“This plan is strategic and action-oriented, with a strong vision – and a healthy dose of aspiration, too – and it sets the stage for a Downtown where our citizens and business community can start, build, and cultivate their individual American Dreams,” Strategic Planning Manager Lyndsay Mitchell said.The Downtown Master Plan outlines these key goals:
- Attract more people Downtown to live, work, socialize, and recreate.
- Establish the city center as a local and regional destination with a distinct identity.
- Ensure a robust, resilient economy in Downtown and its surrounding districts.
- Foster a diversity of housing types at a range of price points.
- Develop a critical mass of activity to support existing businesses and residents and attract new entrepreneurs and residents.
- Activate streets, open spaces, and parks to ensure a safe, vibrant, and livable environment.
- Strengthen the area as an entertainment destination and encourage and promote Downtown’s arts, culture, and music scene.
- Support civic and community-oriented uses and programs, including a distinct public art program.
- Create a diverse community that welcomes all residents, employees, students, and visitors.
The City prepared the 2018 Downtown Master Plan with a broad base of stakeholder input. An Advisory Committee, formed of key Downtown business owners, organization representatives, and stakeholders, met four times during the 10-month planning process. Three public meetings, individual stakeholder interviews, and an online survey completed by more than 1,000 participants were used to solicit feedback. Information about the Plan and process was also posted on the City website at www.arlingtontx.gov/downtown.Through these outreach efforts, the City received requests for a wide range of new public amenities, including increased culinary and retail options, more office and housing choices, green spaces and cultural events. Top survey responses from participants requested:
- Outdoor destinations, such as a public plaza, playground, dog park, sidewalk cafes
- Public amenities, including landscaping, public art, misters to spray water on hot days, public restrooms
- More restaurants and shopping options, especially independent, locally owned businesses, and a grocery store
- Larger buildings with housing and offices
- More festivals and events
- Celebration of Arlington’s history and culture
Turning the Downtown Master Plan vision into reality will require collaboration, creativity and the strategic use of resources. The City’s Office of Strategic Initiatives will spearhead many of the initiatives, working with partners such as the University of Texas at Arlington, the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation, Downtown stakeholders and other City departments.