OAK CLIFF - Students and professors from UT Arlington's School of Urban and Public Affairs are teaming with Dallas city planners and the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce in the new Oak Cliff Storefront, a design and development partnership benefiting southwest Dallas.
The storefront is scheduled to open soon inside Methodist Hospital, 1441 N. Beckley Ave.
Donald R. Bobbitt, UT Arlington's provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the partnership will influence development in the Oak Cliff community for years to come.
"The storefront is a great opportunity for the University to help a community in a positive way," Bobbitt said. "Our hope is to build a stronger community through the partnership."
UT Arlington students and professors from the School of Architecture and the School of Urban and Public Affairs launched a similar partnership with the city of Arlington in June 2009. They help staff the Urban Design Center on the first floor of Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram St.
Bob Stimson, president of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, said Oak Cliff businesses sometimes need such a boost.
"The aim is to help people get started in the development process," said Stimson, who added that Jason Roberts, president of the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, initiated the concept. "Many times, people don't know what do to, where to go. We believe this storefront will become that place to start, some place business and development representatives can go to for answers."
Barbara Becker, dean of UT Arlington's School of Urban and Public Affairs, said students who will help staff the storefront look forward to gaining real-world experience while attending school.
"It is a great opportunity to put our research and theoretical knowledge to applied situations," Becker said.
Oak Cliff residents can present their ideas and proposals directly to the students at the Methodist Hospital storefront or submit ideas to Stimson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.