Ed Thompson is celebrating the start of Community Impact Month Saturday with ribbon cuttings for his newly renovated retail centers in north Tyler.
Thompson, a developer, has been working for years to enhance the area by building residential properties and taking rundown, vacant commercial spaces and bringing them back to life.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday he is holding grand re-opening celebrations of Bow Plaza and Meadow Plaza, which sit on Bow Street and Gentry Parkway, respectfully. There are 10 businesses, most of them new, in the two centers — both built in the 1960s. They had become rundown and sat largely vacant before he made them beautiful again. The events will include refreshments and business information.
Thompson is calling Saturday the first ever Appreciate North Tyler Day and hopes it will kick off an entire Community Impact Month — “Empowering Our Community … Moving Forward,” he said.
He hopes the community will band together to support small businesses, encourage civic engagement and take steps to beautify the neighborhoods.
Thompson is calling for residents to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on May 10; and to attend the Financial Freedom Seminar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 at the Ceaugry & W.B. Houston Center, at 802 W. Cochran St.
A job fair and open house for Great Foundations is set from noon to 2 p.m. May 24 at 307 N. Glenwood Ave. It is a daycare for special needs children that relocated in one of Thompson’s renovated buildings from Lindale.
Thompson encourages anyone who wants to make a difference and help rebuild north Tyler to participate in the events. While this year will be more about awareness, he wants more businesses to be involved in the event next year. He said he wants to “get people to understand and appreciate what they already have in our community.”
Thompson also is working to form a North Tyler Business Association; he wants to hold regular communitywide meetings and seminars to inform residents about issues and services; and to promote health. He also hopes to bring churches, nonprofits and other organizations together to help beautify the neighborhoods and plans to start an initiative to plant trees and beautify street corners and neighborhoods.
Thompson’s goal is to bring economic empowerment to the community.
“This thing is just the beginning,” he said. “Next year, it will take off even more.”