Kim Phillips: ‘Dig Little D’ begins its rollout

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Courtesy photo
Visitors walk along the Hickory Street side of the downtown Square in Denton. The reconstruction process of Hickory Street between the Square and Bell Avenue is already underway.

We are nearly two weeks into 2014, and I’m proud to say that my personal New Year’s resolutions are intact thus far. Perhaps the tenacity keeping my determination and me firmly seated on the wagon-of-will for 12 whole days stems from our team’s enthusiasm at the office.

In my column last week, I shared the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau’s key goals for 2014, our rather ambitious resolutions. Lofty as they may sound, I am dramatically more confident of our success today than I was when I shared them last week. What changed so quickly? You did! The feedback on that column has been swift and positive from many who want to work side by side in our mission to tell the world about our great city and invite visitors to experience Denton.

All of our resolutions are important, none weightier than another. Some, however, are bound by time constraints. Urgency ushers these goals to our priority list’s top spot. The Hickory Street Construction Campaign is one such goal.

Construction workers, equipment and traffic cone sightings are trickling in here and there from downtown Denton’s popular entertainment district. I have seen one or the other of these a time or two recently myself. There are no traffic snarls or lunch-hour delays at this juncture, but the project is visibly underway.

As with any road construction, certain phases of the projected yearlong job will be more uncomfortable than others. We are designing our campaign to flip-flop that paradigm, replacing perceived inconvenience with positive impressions that attract citizens and visitors alike to explore a short-term-different downtown Denton in anticipation of the end result — the long-awaited Hickory Street Arts Corridor.

The campaign’s brand, “Dig Little D,” has multiple possible interpretations.

“Get into Denton.”

“Denton is cool and hip” (which is why we would say “dig.”)

And, of course, “dig literally,” as in rebuilding the streets, parking and sidewalks. A lot of people are working together to bring “Dig Little D” to life. The CVB team, the City’s Economic Development department, Keep Denton Beautiful, the Denton Downtowners, the Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton County, the Denton County Transportation Authority and several local downtown businesses have joined ranks. We are sharing resources and aiming for this goal together. Why? Because individually we are fragmented and limited. Together, however, we are strong, wealthy and wise. Our common mission is essential to Denton’s economic integrity: to sustain, perhaps even grow, the health and prosperity of the businesses that will be directly impacted by this necessary construction.

“Dig Little D” will include original and independent activity throughout this year to entice us all to purposely head to the construction zone. Yes, parking may be challenging and changing throughout the project’s phases. Thank goodness, there’s an app for that, or there will be. We are already at work on a “Dig Little D” app of day-to-day tips for navigating Denton’s entertainment district, music, nightlife and local dining.

There will likely be times we walk a little farther than across the street or down a short block to reach our choice hangouts. How’s your exercise resolution coming along? “Dig Little D” might be a partial solution to get you moving. Did you know that walking from one side of downtown to the other, from Carroll Boulevard to Industrial Street, for instance, is about the same distance as walking from Sears to Macy’s in Golden Triangle Mall? Given this fact, parking a couple of blocks farther than the front of the restaurant or next door to the shop should pose no challenge at all to most of us.

The Hickory Street Arts Corridor will be worth our wait. It is worth the perceived imposition construction brings to mind. It is worth our hard work. Unless, when the work is finished, there is no Dan’s Silverleaf, Rusty Taco or Mellow Mushroom; no Noble’s, Fuzzy’s or Rooster’s; no Weinberger’s, Vigne or Hickory Street Lounge. No matter its physical attributes when complete, Hickory Street’s magic is in the businesses that built and sustain the vibrant, Denton-centric entertainment district.

“Dig Little D” is rolling out right now. Keep your eyes open and watch for the signs. Get the app as soon as we launch it. Put activities, concerts, specials on your calendar. Whether you made 2014 resolutions or not, you definitely have one now. We must work together, remain loyal to our Hickory and Industrial streets faves, ride the A-train, bring friends downtown and make a point of participating in the year of “Dig Little D.”

KIM PHILLIPS is vice president of the Denton Convention & Visitors Bureau at the Denton Chamber of Commerce. She loves promoting Denton’s original, independent spirit through the city’s sense of place and cast of many characters. She can be reached at kim@discoverdenton.com.


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