June 26, 2019
Under Woodall Rogers in an often overlooked pocket of Dallas, an icon came back to life Wednesday night.
It's been years since the neon arches in Dallas Alley that once welcomed visitors to the West End were extinguished as the district faded.
But as the West End has begun to show signs of a comeback, those invested had the idea to bring them back.
"For about two years we've been working on this vision of reanimating the arches here," said Executive Director Dallas Innovation Alliance Jennifer Sanders.
Together the alliance worked with Downtown Dallas, Inc., the American Airlines Center, VisitDallas, the West End Association and YO Ranch Steakhouse to raise the money necessary to create a more modern LED version of the lights.
Instead of Dallas Alley, the new lights illuminate the space under the freeway that connects Victory Park to the West End.
"When they light up, the nostalgia's going to hit I imagine," said Andrew Hood.
As President of AKH Digital, Hood helps with marketing for the West End. He also grew up visiting as a kid when lights led the way to the popular West End Marketplace.
"I think this is a sort of a precursor to a change that we're going to see in the district that's starting now and will continue over the next several years," said Hood.
If it's successful, Dallas Innovation Alliance hopes it will serve as a model for other neglected areas of the city.
"What we hope is that this is a great example of what can happen and what the art of the possible is in terms of taking this unutilized real estate essentially and making it a place for people," said Sanders.
Unlike the original neon arches, the new LED lights will be able to provide light shows relevant to what's happening in Dallas similar to several in the city's skyline.