Downtown Mesquite Development Program
Groundbreaking event set for August 8
Grounds open 5:30 p.m.
Groundbreaking 6:30 p.m.
A groundbreaking celebration to kick off construction of the Front Street Station project in Downtown Mesquite will be held on Aug. 8 at 5:30 p.m. in the west 100 block of Front Street. The public is invited to bring their own shovels or garden spades to join officials in the groundbreaking activity, which begins at 6:30 p.m. The celebration will include free cold treats, Marketplace vendors, artists, live music, interactive art projects, construction equipment on display and more. The groundbreaking event is free and open to the public.
“Downtown is the heart of the community, and we want everyone to feel welcome to participate in this historic event,” said Mesquite Downtown Development Advisory Board Chair Brad Brandt.
City Manager Cliff Keheley said, “This is a benchmark moment in the revitalization of Downtown Mesquite. City staff and the City Council have worked tirelessly with property owners, business owners, and volunteers to arrive at this important point in our journey.”
Front Street Station is a $5.5 million public improvement project that will update infrastructure, including new sanitary sewer lines, storm drain and water lines as well as the installation of three grease traps to accommodate restaurant development. New lighting, sidewalks, paving, shade structures, a stage area and more than 80 parking spaces will also be installed. In addition, there will be a pass-through “pocket park” that will allow pedestrians passage between Front Street and Main Street. Construction is expected to begin the week of Aug. 19.
Front Street Station Contract Approved by Council
The Mesquite City Council approved a construction contract for the Downtown Mesquite infrastructure project, known as Front Street Station, during the July 15 Regular Meeting. The $5.5 million project will improve infrastructure such as drainage and lighting, add more than 80 new parking spaces, and will create an event space, performance pavilion as well as a pocket park that will serve as a pass-through from Front Street to Main Street. Construction is scheduled to begin in August/September and is expected to be completed in late 2020.
“Front Street Station is a stakeholder vision about to become reality,” said Downtown Development Manager Beverly Abell. “This project hits on so many fronts necessary to downtown revitalization, among them flexible event space and solid infrastructure to support a growing business base.”
Downtown citizen stakeholders met multiple times with staff and the firm of Kimley-Horn to discuss and direct all aspects of the project.Members of that stakeholders group were recognized at the July 15 Council meeting.
A vibrant downtown is a primary goal of the City Council. Since the downtown program began in 2018, several efforts have been achieved. Mesquite was designated a Texas Main Street Program Community, which brought the First Lady of Texas, Mrs. Cecilia Abbott, to visit Downtown Mesquite to celebrate the designation.
In addition, the Council approved a Façade Improvement Grant program in May to encourage Downtown Mesquite property owners to improve the outward appearance of their downtown locations. Volunteer committees and an advisory board have also been created.
Downtown Facade Grant Program is Launched
Downtown Mesquite property and business owners now have the opportunity to improve the outward appearance of their downtown locations with assistance of the Downtown Façade Improvement Program, approved by Mesquite City Council on May 20.
The grant, which will be in the form of a reimbursement, will be for 50% of the cost of a façade rehabilitation up to $20,000. The program is funded by the Towne Centre Tax Increment Finance Reinvestment Zone No. Two, and a pool of $80,000 is available through the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
Projects must be vetted by the Downtown Mesquite Development Advisory Board and approved by City Council before work commences on any façade project. Once the façade rehabilitation is completed, it will be inspected for adherence to the proposal. If the façade work is true to the approved plan, the property or business owner will receive a reimbursement check.
The façade grant program can be coupled with free design services also made available to downtown business and property owners. By virtue of being part of the Texas Main Street Program, Downtown Mesquite has access to historic preservation architects who will provide architectural renderings, scopes of work and technical assistance briefs to owners in the downtown area free of charge. Abell noted that those considering applying for a façade grant will be encouraged to consult with the Texas Main Street architects before proceeding.
To see the complete Downtown Mesquite Facade Improvement Program policy, procedures and application, click here.
Call City of Mesquite Downtown Development Manager Beverly Abell at (972) 216-6450 for more information.
Texas Main Street Training Sessions Begin for Downtown Mesquite Advisory Board, Volunteers
Texas Main Street staff members recently offered in-depth training on design, economic vitality and promotion to Downtown Mesquite advisory board members and volunteers.
These training sessions help volunteers create project strategies that are based on factors determined through analysis of demographics, market gap and more. This is the first of many services the Texas Main Street Program will offer to us in terms of economic development, historic preservation, design and promotion of Downtown Mesquite.
The TMSP staff also conducted a training session for City of Mesquite leadership.
Barber's Ink Featured in Small Business Week Video
Downtown's own Barber's Ink and its owner, Marcus Brandon, are featured in the City of Mesquite's Small Business Week videos filmed with Mayor Stan Pickett. Marcus and three other local businesses were honored for their participation in the videos at a City Council meeting on Monday, May 6. Click this link to see the video.
First Lady's Tour Tradition Brought to Mesquite
On May 16, Mrs. Cecilia Abbott unveiled her Texas Main Street 2019 First Lady’s Design Rendering for Downtown Mesquite as a part of a special ceremony to celebrate the designation of Mesquite as a Texas Main Street community.
During the celebration, City of Mesquite Mayor Stan Pickett said, “Today we celebrate Mesquite. Today, we will embrace our past. Today, we will unveil the future of Downtown Mesquite. Downtowns in Texas are valuable. They build a connection between family and friends. They are the framework of commerce and community.”
Each year, the design staff of the Texas Main Street Program create a special rendering for the new Main Street program that is intended to show potential and possibility for the historic downtown. The Mesquite rendering illustrates the rehabilitation of four buildings in the 200 block of west Main Street, currently home to several successful local businesses. The image was created by the Texas Main Street design staff and presented to the City of Mesquite upon their entrance into the Main Street Program.
The downtown revitalization program has achieved many goals since its creation in 2018. In October, Mesquite was selected as a Texas Main Street community. A successful Small Business Saturday event followed in November, and December saw the debut of a new Downtown Mesquite signature brand. In addition, a downtown stakeholder group worked with consultants and City staff to create a plan for major infrastructure improvements. City Council approved the first phase of that plan, Front Street Station, a $6.7 million infrastructure project to serve as a catalyst for the revitalization process.
Downtown Development Highlights
Significant progress is being made on the revitalization of Downtown Mesquite! Though successful revitalization is not accomplished overnight, we are happy to say new activities, new programming and new business development is already occurring even though our program is still in its beginning stages. Below you will see a timeline of some of the most significant achievements of the past few months as well as links to articles on Downtown Mesquite revitalization progress.
These highlights are the result of very concentrated effort on the part of citizen volunteers and City of Mesquite staff. On the near horizon are more business development tools, events, downtown design improvements, Front Street infrastructure and streetscape improvements and more. Stay tuned!