Division Street in Arlington is lined with utility poles that local businesses and groups are pushing to have removed. (Published Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013)
A major street in Arlington is lined with utility poles that locals and City Council want removed.
Some business owners and groups feel the poles cause clutter along Division Street and are pushing for the city to remove them.
"It’s way too busy and 1950s looking," said President of Monarch Advertising Sandy McGrew. McGrew's office is located just off Division in downtown Arlington.
Utility poles don't just line the street but consume it.
"A lot of those are just excess poles, a lot of those are just clutter, it’s just poles leftover from a different era when they were necessary. Now they’re not," said Tony Rutigliano, CEO Downtown Arlington Management Corporation.
The city has decided to clean up the clutter, removing all the poles from the north side of Division. Bruce Payne with the city's Department of Economic Development said those poles are no longer functioning.
Payne said about 40 percent of the poles on the south side of Division will be relocated to Front Street, a block south of Division.
The hope is that by making the street more aesthetically appealing, private investment and redevelopment will follow.
"[Investors] will say, 'Hey we want to come downtown, we see the city is making an investment, we want to play too,'" said Rutigliano.
Pat Flynt, owner of H.E. Cannon Floral Co. on Division, said she is all for giving the area a face lift, as long as small businesses don't have to foot any bills.
"I think the city has a lot of very nice ideas to make the Division Street corridor a nicer corridor," said Flynt. "That’s a key thing, how do you finance these changes?"
Payne said the city plans to cover 100 percent of the costs of the pole project - one the city hopes ultimately includes new sidewalks, lights and a more pedestrian friendly feel.
Some business owners said they have heard the chatter about improving Division before.
Arlington City Council already approved the project and is now working with Oncor energy to put the plan into action.
Rutligliano said the most encouraging part of the project is that, this time, it doesn't seem to be all talk.
"It’s not going to be a plan that sits on the shelf," said Rutigliano. "We’re taking what we’ve been told and putting it into motion."