I have occasionally heard Abram Street referred to as “the heart of our city”, more often for its potential to serve as a vital hub for commerce than as a shared space that connects the people who live and visit here. For me, this “heart” of Arlington exists at that place where I “love” most deeply – where my children play and learn, where I passionately contribute to my work and my community, and where some of my most treasured memories are made every day. And in that regard, Abram Street IS the heart of Arlington.
I realized my love for Abram in 2001 when my then fiancé/now husband, Will, and I were serving as Army officers in Louisiana. Upon setting a July 4th date for our wedding here in my hometown of Arlington, he decided that a fitting expression of love for his bride-to-be was a 20 foot-long flatbed float for our wedding party to ride in the parade - to occur a mere 10 hours before our ceremony. So, ride in the parade we did. 13 years later, it is a tradition we continue, now as an annual gift to UT Arlington for their official entry. A city-wide proclamation of love and a front row seat on a parade float is his anniversary gift to me every year!
The parade, now approaching its 49th year as a hallmark event in Arlington, has long traveled east on Abram Street; because Abram, in so many ways, IS the heart of our city – it is a network of people, spaces, and life events. Abram is the bookends to my weekday: the gateway to the community that cares for our three girls (at the Enrichment Center for Young Children at First United Methodist Church of Arlington), the beginning and end of each day of my work at UT Arlington. Abram is my link between community and collaboration: we attend concerts at the Levitt Pavilion, engage in civic participation through committees at our City Hall, and develop business relationships at the Chamber of Commerce. And Abram is a series of small landmarks where memories are made: graduation celebrations, family dinners, high school reunions, election victories… and every wedding anniversary.
A more pedestrian, shared Abram Street would certainly create places for business to thrive - but its lasting potential is in the creation of opportunities for our city to connect, learn and grow in a place that is commonly significant to us. Abram could truly be the heart of this city by providing a destination for building social capital within our community, for serving as a place for our citizens to meet and work towards the things that matter to us, and to develop the ideas that bring people to Arlington. I’m excited for what a new Abram Street will bring to our city, and for the promise of an Abram that truly beats as "the heart of Arlington".
2014-15 President, Junior League of Arlington