Group Opposes Downtown Garland Redevelopment Options

City to revamp aging downtown Garland square

A Garland group says it is concerned that the revitalization of the downtown plaza square will ruin the plaza's history.

The city is looking at three main options on how to best revamp the square area, including replacing a rundown fountain from the 1970s and razing a 106-year-old building holding the Garland Civic Theatre.

"They're taking away our history," said Cleo Holden, president of Friends of Olde Downtown Garland. "They're taking away our children's heritage. They're taking down things that our children will never be able to see."

"Once you have taken that, you have destroyed it for all time," Holden said.

City planner Daniel Krzyzanowski said the square is just one of many projects being planned to revitalize downtown Garland.

"The whole downtown strategy is to encourage revitalization and reinvestment in downtown to improve the economy to create a place that's really a destination for people in Garland and outside Garland," he said.

The city wants to make the square more visible to areas with recent redevelopment, such as Fifth Street behind the Garland Civic Theatre.

Officials said they wanted to buy the theater about a year and half ago to demolish it but the owner refused.

"As planners, we want to take advantage of the opportunities today and think about all the opportunities that might present themselves in the future," Krzyzanowski said.

But Holden said the city is focusing on the wrong elements.

"The first thing that needs to be brought in here are the types of businesses that draw people here," she said.

Vicki Shelton, owner of Shelton Arms in downtown, said she hopes the city won't forget the past as it looks to the future.

"I understand them wanting to bring more businesses, but losing that would be sad," she said.

The city has not made any final decisions on its plans.

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