Longtime south Irving resident Lorraine Taylor is working with a small group of volunteers to help bring Downtown Irving Heritage Crossing District’s redevelopment plan to life.
The grassroots group is organizing the Deep Irving Market Day event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 5.
The business-focused event is a two-block demonstration of the redevelopment plans for the area’s Main Street and Irving Boulevard area. Temporary paint and duct tape will widen the sidewalks to allow Main Street merchants to set up outdoor cafés and displays, as well as mark off proposed bicycle lanes and parallel parking spaces, as shown by the Gateway Planning Group’s plan for the area. There will also be artists and pop-up businesses in the area.
Taylor recently presented the event to the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce’s Heritage Crossing Business Alliance, a group of south Irving business leaders and residents who supported the event.
“Sometimes people don’t have a good visualization of things that aren’t there,” Taylor said. “I think a lot of people need a visualization of the redevelopment plans in order to see it and start thinking that this will actually work.”
Taylor, who serves on the Irving Planning and Zoning Commission, lives in an area home built by Otis Brown, the city’s co-founder and first mayor.
“I really love this neighborhood. I’m not a business owner, but I see the Main Street area being the key to the area’s success,” Taylor said.
The idea for Deep Irving Market Day came from the Better Block project used by Oak Cliff residents to set up temporary businesses, events and artists in the area’s vacant buildings. The Better Block helped Oak Cliff’s vacancy rates plummet, Taylor said.
While downtown Irving doesn’t have a large vacancy rate, the area does have a lot of vacant land.
“We want Deep Irving Market Day to mimic what a normal business day would look like, if the empty lots had buildings on them,” Taylor said.
Taylor hopes the event will generate a buzz about the area and would like to host another Deep Irving Market Day this fall. Deep Irving Market Day is not sponsored by the city of Irving.