Tammy Mutasa, Garland/Mesquite Reporter
Downtown Garland gets a new look.
The Sixth Street Crossing project is going to change how people access downtown Garland.
Currently, there is not a straight route directly to the heart of Downtown Garland Square. The crossing project is part of a larger effort in the city's Downtown Revitalization Project.
An easier gateway into downtown means more traffic for businesses such as the Corner Pocket located on the quiet corner of Sixth Street.
"We need to spruce things up," said owner Mark Zeigler. "And the biggest thing is to get traffic down here again."
The dead end at Sixth Street is where the city hopes to resuscitate development and opportunities by creating a direct link into downtown Garland.
"This is one element of a bigger scheme -- revitalize downtown and provide a better access and circulation," said Robert Wunderlich, city senior managing director of transportation and engineering.
Currently, the street ends at a set of railroad and Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail tracks. The city will extend the street across and over the tracks to intersect with the busy Walnut Street.
"It's got a lot of different entities -- you've got the city and DART and rail trying to figure things out. Then you had some physical complications that needed to be worked through so, because of that, it's a fairly complicated project, even though it's not very long," said Wunderlich.
The city said opening the street will clean up the entryway into downtown Garland, which looks like a railroad freight yard. The project is $2.8 million, but to cover some of the costs, the city received a grant from the Regional Transportation Council for $1.8 million.
It's a project that has been years in the making for the city.
"It will enhance the opportunity down here for our business owners and our restaurant owners, because you're going to have a much easier way to get here onto the square," said Councilwoman Laura Perkins-Cox, who represents Downtown Garland. "Any time you can open up a new avenue, a new street, people will come."
The city wants to break ground on the street expansion this summer and have the street open for business by this time next year.