The East Dallas Chamber of Commerce, like most business and community groups, has been concerned about business closings and storefront vacancies during the economic and real estate downturn of the past decade.

In late 1995, with real estate prices increasing and business indicators painting a more positive forecast, the chamber met with the City’s Economic Development Department to propose a cooperative effort to address the region’s problems and aggressively market its assets.

The result? The East Dallas Alliance for Economic Development.

“We’re starting to see the upswing now, and we want to be sure East Dallas gets its fair share,” says Chamber President Sherryl Wesson.

The economic alliance, which is comprised of City staffers and neighborhood business people and residents, focuses on several basic areas:

• Assessing the needs of our public schools and developing strategies for meeting those needs.
• Strengthening code enforcement and crime prevention efforts.
• Improving communication between the City, residents and business people to stimulate revitalization and develop marketing strategies.

Don Wilson, alliance chairman, says the group has developed tremendous momentum since it began meeting in late spring.

Alliance plans still are being developed and fine-tuned, but target dates have been established for some objectives.

Among them:

• During September, meet with property managers and others who may know of available land for future public schools. Also, meet with Realtors to hear their impressions of our public schools and learn what questions their clients have about our schools.
• During October, survey parents with children in our public schools. Also, compile a list of after-school programs and businesses willing to work with schools.
• From September through January, gather information about the retail industry and its opportunities for a marketing brochure.
• During March 1997, develop a brochure promoting East Dallas, including a source list for our area.

In the coming months, committee members also will increase their contacts with neighborhood associations, community organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses and business groups, Wilson says. For information, call the Chamber at 321-6446.

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