In 2011, in celebration of our 30th anniversary, MESA partnered with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity in an effort to give back to the community. A need was identified for the redevelopment and beautification of the Mill City community in South Dallas. To support the redevelopment, MESA created the Mill City Area Planning Report to be used by Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity and community leaders as a tool to guide future improvements.
Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity and MESA worked together to provide an inventory and analysis study of the Mill City community. Starting with the creation of a series of goals and objectives, MESA developed the strategy to meet the desires of the community residents to sustain a level of quality in the community for future generations of residents. Through a series of data collection meetings with members of the community and Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity along with visual inventories of the businesses, homes, hardscape, and landscape conditions throughout the community, MESA gained an understanding of the needs and wants for the redevelopment of the Mill City community.
Priorities were established to provide direction to the City of Dallas and Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity for its future projects in the area. It was intended for the projects that impact the greatest majority of residents to be completed prior to completing projects affecting individual needs or desires. Projects were prioritized based on efficiencies and making sure that future projects did not impact work already completed. The project priorities were also associated with the rate of return to the overall community in the near future as well as the distant future allowing the community and city to provide greater amounts of enhancements.
The culmination of the Planning Report summarizes the findings and recommendations of this study into design alternatives and typologies associated with each area. It is intended for this report to not only preserve the historical context of Mill City, but enhance its quality and value return to the residents and future generations.
In June 2014, MESA supported Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity in their efforts to apply for a grant from Lowe’s to be used towards the beautification of vacant lots in Mill City. Once the grant was awarded, MESA’s landscape architects and designers created park plans for four different lots each with a specific theme – Education, Community Garden, Recreation, and Gateway. With the help of Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, Lowe’s, and MESA employees, the Education and Community Garden parks were constructed on November 15, 2014.
In 2016, MESA’s involvement with the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity continued with their Connecting Through Art contest. DAHFH hosted a competition for six local DISD schools to participate in the contest. This contest brings schoolchildren, local partners and the community together to positively influence the Mill City community undergoing renewal by allowing students an opportunity to showcase their talents, represent their school, and contribute to the revitalization of their community. MESA provided design guidelines, competition guidelines and branding for the contest.