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Grand Prairie Unveils Plan for Revitalization of Pioneer Parkway

Grand Prairie –The city of Grand Prairie held an online presentation to reveal plans to revitalize Pioneer Parkway on Thursday, January 14. Matt O’Rourke and Jim Schaefer of Kendig Keast Collaborative spoke about the plan and received feedback.

“This plan is looking at the right-of-way along the Parkway,” O’Rourke said. “We will suggest ways to build on the themes that are already there.

“There are so many cultures represented there in terms of businesses, and we want this to be a true International Parkway. We want to celebrate different cultures and heritages. We want this area to be used in a flexible and unique way that continues to build interest and activity along this corridor. This will keep interest in the area and keep it thriving as a unique place to visit, eat, shop, and live.”

Normally, this type of session is held in person.

“We like to meet in the community,” Schaefer said. “We like to brainstorm together and put sketches together. Because of COVID, we are not able to meet together, but we appreciate everyone who is willing to attend events like this. This is your city, and we want to suggest a plan that makes sense to you.” 

The Parkway Urban Design Strategy Plan focuses on the properties directly along the Parkway from Mountain Creek Lake to the Grand Prairie/Arlington border.

“The purpose of the plan is to formulate recommendations and outline steps that will help the city guide the physical [re]development of the Pioneer Parkway corridor public right-of-way and abutting properties and expand on its ‘international corridor’ history and appeal,” O’Rourke said. “The plan will provide the city with recommendations on physical improvements and design recommendations, potential funding mechanisms, and programming to promote new activity while respecting and championing the unique cultural aspects already found along this busy arterial.

“We want to make sure that what we recommend goes along with the buildings along the parkway already,” he said. “We want people to realize they are in a specific area, an international area in this case. We want the corridor to have a unique and unified look. We also want to showcase the community and its heritage.” 

One aspect of the plan is to study the demographics of the area.

“There are a lot of people who work in this area, but do not work along this area,” O’Rourke said. “People who may see something on their lunch break and want to stay after on a Friday night and grab dinner and drinks. Grand Prairie is in the center of the Metroplex, so you are really in a prime location for this type of niche shopping and dining.” 

The Planning and Development director for Grand Prairie, Rashad Jackson, stated that a draft of this plan will be presented to the city as soon as April. During the next public meeting, the consultants will also give the city and businesses information about funding and grants as part of the final plan.

“We want this area to look new and updated, both for visitors and potential new employers,” O’Rourke said. “We really want to create pockets of commerce, places where people can come and do a variety of activities, like eat dinner, go shopping, see a show. We want people walking up and down the corridor, rather than coming in for an isolated event.”

In late 2019, residents of Grand Prairie were encouraged to vote on the types of art, lighting, signs, etc. they preferred. Additionally, the consultants met with Grand Prairie city staff and the business owners along the corridor. After a break, the consultants then used that feedback, along with state and city guidelines to create a plan for the area. Pioneer Parkway is slated to have an international theme, encouraging local residents along with customers in surrounding areas to visit the area for a variety of events. 
The first draft of the plan will be proposed in May 2021. Public comments will be encouraged at that time. A public hearing is scheduled for July 2021, with the final plan proposed at the August City Council meeting.