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Statement from Mayor Rudy Durham

Statement about Mayor Durham on the Old Town Market.
Post Date:May 23, 2018
There has been a lot of public discussion this week about one of our long-time Old Town businesses, Old Town Market. Much of the conversation has been based on rumor, assumptions, and emotion. I want to clear up some of that.

First, let me say without hesitation that the City of Lewisville (and I personally) would like to see Old Town Market continue to operate in the location and manner it has been. It is the type of business we want to see in Old Town – a thriving retail operation, a unique dining opportunity, and a regional reputation and customer base.

If something I have said somewhere along the way has given a different impression, I apologize for that. Let me say it again in very clear language – as a resident and as mayor, I want Old Town Market to stay in place.

The city does not want that type of business to leave Old Town, which is one reason City Council approved a $16,000 grant for front façade and rear parking improvements in 2014. There have been a number of conversations between city representatives and Old Town Market during the past five years, all of them focused on how to help the business prosper as part of the Old Town revitalization residents have repeatedly said they want. As recently as February of this year, staff met with Old Town Market about a possible expansion of the business.

It is completely wrong for anyone to claim the city wants Old Town Market to leave. I urge residents not to be misled by social media posts from people who seem to enjoy stirring up controversy with baseless innuendo.

City staff has continued to reach out to Old Town Market to look for ways to resolve any concerns about the Mill Street project and to accommodate any needs. I have been kept apprised of those discussions and offered my support when needed.

The intent of the Mill Street project is to improve access and aesthetics along this important gateway into the Old Town core. That area developed at a time when there was little attention paid to those factors. We have seen on Main Street how improving the look and feel of an area can draw new and repeat customers. The same treatment on Mill Street, plus new residential options, will help existing and new businesses succeed.

The concept of a revamped Mill Street dates back to the Mill Street Corridor Plan adopted in April 2010. We held a five-day public input workshop to find out what the public and property owners wanted to see happen. Property owners along Mill Street were specifically invited to participate in that process, and some did. The Mill Street Corridor Plan was created based on the extensive public input that was received from the residents and property owners who chose to participate.

Project details have evolved over time, but the purpose has not – the city wants to make that corridor attractive to visitors who will frequent existing and new businesses. Doing nothing is not an option, because if nothing is done then that area could take another 20 years to enjoy the turnaround that already is sweeping through the Main Street core.

The city continues to reach out to Old Town Market. The developer of South Village, who has clearly stated that he wants that business to remain in place, has offered various accommodations as well. If there is a way to make that happen, we will find it through private discussions and negotiations with the business owner.

Finally, let me point out that the city is not a faceless, lifeless entity hovering over our neighborhoods. The city is made up of real people working together for a common goal. These are people behind you in the checkout line, shaking your hand at church, waving to you at PTA meetings and school plays, cheering for your kids at soccer games. They are fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, parents raising children, pet owners – they reflect the face of the greater Lewisville community. They are human and can make mistakes at times, but to question their motives without facts is unfair and to question their humanity is unreasonable. I urge residents to remember that.