Mesquite has embarked on an ambitious journey to rejuvenate the historic heart of the community. Our revitalization story thus far has involved countless hours of volunteer time, careful consideration of history and data and programming dedicated to inject vibrancy back into our downtown.
In 2016, Mesquite City Council declared downtown a priority. In turn, the Economic Development Department was charged with engaging the community, and in particular, downtowners, in a plan to get serious about downtown.
At the same time, a new spirit was growing, and people downtown were ready to get to work to generate a lasting way to create a vibrant downtown.
In 2017, a group of downtown stakeholders was put together to lead the charge to change downtown. These people – shop owners, pastors, property owners, new folks, long-time residents and others – developed a community-within-a-community and came together to initiate a sequence of accomplishments, including:
- A Texas Downtown Association assessment
- An in-depth market analysis and recommended scope of work by Community Development Strategies (CDS)
- As a result of these studies, the following action occurred:
- City Council approval to create Mesquite’s first-ever Downtown Development Manager position within the economic development department
- The City of Mesquite engaged with the consulting firm of Kimley-Horn to develop plans on how to address downtown’s aged infrastructure, which could not serve the needs of a growing downtown
In 2018, even more partners and stakeholders joined in the effort. Progress just within that 12-month period:
- Hiring of Mesquite’s first Downtown Development manager
- Creation of a downtown advisory board
- Creation of four Main Street-style working committees
- Façade renderings for various properties
- Numerous downtown stakeholder meetings to design a new infrastructure and streetscape plan for the whole of downtown
- A downtown presence on three social media platforms
- Partnering on a successful Entrepreneurs Day small business event
- Downtown’s first-ever pop-up shop
- Downtown clean-up day
- Very successful Small Business Saturday
- Being selected for Texas Main Street designation
In 2019, the following:
- Beginning of Main Street Program training and committees
- Hosting a visit by Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott
- Completion of the downtown infrastructure and streetscape plan
- Hiring of a contractor to begin the $5.5 million first phase of infrastructure plan
- Groundbreaking for the Front Street Station project in August
- Beginning of Front Street Station construction
- Creation of a façade grant program that provides grants of 50% of façade project costs up to $20,000
- Approval of two facade grant projects
- Partnering with Mesquite Business Retention and Expansion Partnership (BRE) on innovative educational programming for entrepreneurs, resulting in nationwide attention
- Events such as Small Business Saturday, Christmas on the Square and Cocoa and Carols
- Creation of the "Paint the U in Horseshoe" project that will result in a unique downtown public art installation
- Earning two Texas Downtown Association President's Awards: Best Economic Game Changer and Spirit of Downtown
- Investment of an estimated $35,000 worth of volunteer time in the downtown program
Thus far in 2020,
- Downtown Mesquite achieved prestigious National Accreditation by the Texas Main Street and National Main Street programs in recognition of exceeding established standards of operation
- Worked with City of Mesquite Economic Development Department to create "Roadmap to Resources" program to assist residents and business owners impacted by COVID-19.
- Fostered downtown's first two facade grant projects: rehabilitation of the facade of Metzger Awards at 105 W. Main St., and new awnings and brick cleaning at the Boyce Building at 202 W. Davis St.
- Announcement that Alejandro's at Front Street Station, a "Southwestern Grill" restaurant, will open at 117 W. Main St. in early 2021. The historic building, constructed in the early 1930s, served as Noble Brothers Grocery for years.
- Council agreement to bring the new Smith's of Mesquite to Downtown in the McWhorter-Greenhaw building at 105 Broad St. Smith's will be a restaurant, bar and entertainment venue due to open in the first quarter of 2021.
- Notification that Downtown Mesquite's groundbreaking event for Front Street Station was named a Finalist for the Best Traditional Promotion Event award by the Texas Downtown Association.
- Continuation of the construction of Front Street Station, a major infrastructure project that will bring updated infrastructure, additional parking, a pocket park walkway and other features to the historic heart of the community.
What takes many others decades to get going, Mesquite has accomplished in a remarkable period of time. It was accomplished with the spirit of doing good for all – that a rising downtown lifts the entire community.