Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Mesquite Reporter
The City of Mesquite received a $3 million grant to start redeveloping the Gus Thomasson Corridor.
Mesquite is re-investing in an old street corridor in the hopes of putting it back on the map.
The city is using a $3.75 million grant to start a revitalization project for the aging Gus Thomasson street corridor and improve accessibility in the neighborhood.
Businesses in the area said the plan is long overdue.
"The area is kind of dead," said Nicole Whitted, owner of the J. Alexander Salons. "There's not a lot of foot traffic. We do get a lot of cars that go by, but not a lot of people stop here at the shopping center."
The Gus Thomasson Square project would give the area a pedestrian-friendly face-lift with a $3 million grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments' Sustainable Development Grant program and $750,000 from the city.
"It would give it more eye appeal, and I think people really go off what things look like, what things feel like when they walk around," Whitted said.
Among the improvements, the city wants to reduce the six-lane street to four lanes for more parking, bike lanes and better sidewalks.
The project would encompass a section of Gus Thomasson Road between Moon Drive and Karla Drive.
"The area will be more walkable, a place where people can walk through and enjoy and visit the business that redevelop along the street," said Richard Gertson, city community development director.
The city is also looking at building a walkway in an adjacent older neighborhood to connect to Gus Thomasson.
"It would be safer," resident Gina Brannan said.
She said she worries about more congestion on Gus Thomasson but hopes the project will add more value to her neighborhood.
"Some things look a little rundown, old -- like it hasn't been taken care of," Brannan said. "And if they basically give it a face-lift, that would really help not only the values of the homes go up and the community, too."
Construction is slated to start in March.
"It's going to create a place that people recognize as being unique -- not just in Mesquite, but we believe in the East Dallas area," Gertson said.
Residents and business owners are invited to attend a public open house for the unveiling of the Thomasson Square Project at Shands Elementary on June 5.