UT Tyler area re-vamp proposal win-win say Tylerites

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Layron Livingston - bio | email
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The idea is to turn 'T-town' into even more of a college town, or at least parts of it. Last night, nearly 200 neighbors from the U.T. Tyler community weighed on the city's plans to revamp the entire area co-ed style.

"Everyone's really nice and supportive," said Mackenzie Oliphant, a second-year UT Tyler student.  She said she loves her university.

"I'd rather have it be more of a place where people would say, 'Oh yeah, I'd totally rather go here than U.T. Austin.'"

The plan is to turn all of the undeveloped and unused university-owned land right across the street from campus into a mixed-used development.

"There would be coffee shops, bookstores...living...something that is really a fun cool place for students to hang out," said Barbara Holly, planning director for the city of Tyler.

She said the development is part of a nearly 3,000-acre master development plan for the area.

"I'm anxious to see the progress," said Rick Acker.

Acker lives on Lexington, just yards from the university. He was present at Monday night's special meeting where the plan was rolled out.

"It could do nothing but help," he said.

"What this is trying to do is brand the area," said Holly.  The neighborhood would be renamed, University Woods, replicating the architecture found on campus.

Holly said consultants interviewed residents, students and administrators to come up with the college-inspired, pedestrian/ bike-friendly concept.

"Students can be a great asset, but when they get into the neighborhood, there can be some friction," said Holly.

"Enhance the area, enhance property values, and create a more attractive area for our students to come--it's a win-win all the way around," said Rodney Mabry, president of UT Tyler.

Mabry was optimistic about the proposal.

"It is a direction of change, something that we can really move toward," he said.

A similar plan is also scheduled to be unveiled for the Texas College community, next week. The city hopes to present the final proposals in early October.

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