Yesterday at 4:00 people gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Arlington Commons. Now the removal of apartments and the improvement of the neighborhood was one of my campaign resolutions. I promised that I would do something about the apartment problem in and around the Collins/Lamar Overlay. This is my answer.
I have worked closely with Bob Kembel, the Viridian developer, to insure that this project is a success, and that a quality product would be assured. At one point the project was in severe jeopardy, and during and Executive Session of Council, the former Mayor and I had some words that were not pleasant. The result of that exchange resulted in a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday. Another controversy of this project dealt with the narrowing of Lamar by one lane going west. The picture below is one of the original pictures that was shown to the citizens at the at the Apartment Town Hall Meeting at the Convention Center. You can plainly see that the traffic going west on Lamar is depicted as one lane. There is a linear park and also parking in front of the complex. This lane reduction was also depicted in the original 380 agreement that was approved by Council unanimously. At some point in the process the Thoroughfare Plan had to be amended to coincide with the 380 agreement. That amendment occurred about two months ago.
We have said all along that this investment in our community would spur other investment. The mini center across the street from the complex has been purchased and redeveloped already. The renovation is estimated at around $1 million, and new businesses are already opening their doors. AISD will spend $7 million in redeveloping Roquemore Elementary School, into the Jimmy and Laura Jones Fine Arts Academy. Parkway Central’s park will get a facelift, and a linear park will run down the middle of Lamar. It is hard to believe that the metamorphosis is here. But when you think back to the slums that were there just a year ago and what is about to happen, you have to be excited for North Arlington.