When the old Big Town Mall in Mesquite was built in 1959, it was the first enclosed shopping center in the Southwest. About five years ago, the mall was torn down and the land still sits mostly vacant.
City of Mesquite leaders said with the bad economy, it has been a difficult to find people to invest millions of dollars into the property which they hope will be the next Cal Ripken Baseball site.
However, those plans are still in the preliminary stages.
Meanwhile, business owners near the old Big Town Mall say business is slow due to fewer people coming around that area since the Mall was closed down.
Shoppers are now heading to malls like Town East, just a few miles from where the old Big Town Mall once stood.
“We need to do something to make our economy grow,” said Harry Hronas who has a performance car shop right across from the empty Big Town site. “Sitting empty isn’t good for anybody, so projects need to be done; we need to get people working again and people working, means jobs, means money spent.”
The city said the idea of a Cal Ripken Baseball site is still preliminary. In 2008, there were plans to build a different sports complex but the financial crisis halted the plans.