Better late than never: Garland Shopping Center sign to shine again
Recent revitalization at the corner of Miller and Shiloh roads has been great for Garland and an especially welcomed development for the surrounding neighborhoods. The old Garland Shopping Center, a once thriving retail center had become an eyesore and an embarrassment to the community.
Nearby residents were happy to hear of new development that so far has included a Walmart Neighborhood Grocery, Bank of America, two food outlets, a nail shop, dental office and a cellphone store. Another fast food restaurant will soon join the group.
Long time Garland residents, as well as residents of the nearby neighborhoods, were also glad to hear that the “Garland Shopping Center” sign would remain at the location, be refurbished to shine bright again and serve as a landmark as it has since the 1950s when the shopping center was built.
Nearby residents have now been shopping at the Walmart market since March 14, 2014 and many are questioning why the sign has still not been lit.
Retaining, refurbishment and maintenance of the sign was part of the economic development agreement signed by the city of Garland and the developer, the Stainback Organization.
Former District 5 Council Member John Willis said that he had insisted that keeping and restoring the sign be specified as a condition of the incentive agreement because of its importance not only to nearby neighborhoods but to the city in general. The Garland Shopping Center was the second of its kind built in Dallas County and is an important part of the city’s development history.
“The original shopping center sign is iconic. A Google image search on the Garland Shopping Center turns up numerous examples where people have come to the old, dilapidated shopping center to take pictures of just the sign,” Willis said. “These kinds of historical, landmark signs are interesting and deserving of preservation and protection. It is my hope that an ordinance protecting historic landmark signs can be passed here in Garland.”
Willis added that other signs in the area, including the Ridgewood Shopping Center and Orchard Hills signs, could benefit from this kind of ordinance.
At one time, the Garland Shopping Center was the most vibrant retail center in the area and included a JC Penney, Plaza Hardware, Oglesby Jewelry, Skillern’s Drug Store and Rick’s Furniture to name just a few. Other businesses included a bank, restaurants and a grocery store.
Recent communication between Willis and Garland Power & Light revealed that the conduit and service were not installed as part of the initial construction. A GP&L representative told Willis that they had been in contact with the sign company, Turner Signs, as well as the developer, and had advised Turner Signs on what is needed on their part, which is the installation of the conduit, to get electricity to the sign.
Turner Signs representative Josh Jankowski said by phone Wednesday, Feb. 25, that someone has been hired to bore under the shopping center driveway and install the conduit. He also said that the sign should be shining by Friday, March 6.
GP&L said in an email to Willis that once the conduit and service is installed, they can connect it. In that email, they also told Willis that they had stressed the importance of getting this project completed during their communications with the sign company.