Skip to Main Content

Recap of the 2023 Downtown Arlington Annual Meeting, Presented by Texas Trust

The 2023 Downtown Arlington Annual Meeting, Presented by Texas Trust was yesterday, September 20th and was a huge success! Over 400 people came together to celebrate Downtown Arlington and to honor the creativity and vision of Arlington’s civic and community leaders. Our theme, “Oh, the Places We’ll Make,” provided a fun, interactive, and informative program dedicated to the history and future of placemaking in Downtown Arlington.

Along with an educational presentation from keynote speaker Nate Storring, the meeting contained many networking opportunities and exclusive sneak peaks at upcoming projects. Here’s a recap of everything this year’s annual meeting had to offer.

Block by Block is in the House

This year’s annual meeting included many big announcements of future developments coming to Downtown, including the introduction of a Clean and Safe Ambassador Program. After an insightful trip to Downtown Nashville, Tennessee, members of Downtown Arlington’s staff, along with representatives from our partner organizations learned that Clean and Safe Ambassadors are more than just employees, they could serve as the first point of contact for visitors and as friendly representatives of downtown’s culture. Additionally, they can be the “eyes and ears” for our downtown community as they help keep our district clean and safe as we continue to grow.

Through a recently completed competitive process, we have selected Block by Block to help us launch this new program. Block by Block’s commitment to providing extraordinary service and meaningful engagement with customers will prove to be extremely beneficial in the coming year, with services expected to begin November 1st.

Rendering of the Downtown Doggie Depot
Rendering of the Downtown Doggie Depot

The Downtown Doggie Depot

After conducting the Downtown Resident Survey in 2022, we learned that our dog population doesn’t have adequate access to open, off-leash areas where they can exercise and socialize with other dogs. Fast forward to today, after being awarded a national $75,000 competitive grant from Project for Public Spaces and General Motors, we are happy to announce the “Downtown Doggie Depot.” Just southeast of Urban Union along the train tracks located east of Mesquite Street, this new Downtown Doggie Depot could be a one-stop station for residents, employees, and their pets, providing a safe, off-leash destination for everyday needs.

Downtown Doggie Depot currently has plans to include fencing, ADA access, running water, lighting, dog waste stations, and play areas for both small and large dogs. With opening planned for May 2024, this off-leash dog area will serve hundreds of nearby residents and their dogs. Stay tuned for more information about the Downtown Doggie Depot and how you can get involved in our community’s latest passion project. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and sign up for the Downtown Arlington newsletter for updates and more.

From left to right: John Arnot, Alan Petsche, Maggie Campbell, Jim Minge

The Dream Builder Award, Presented by Texas Trust

Beginning in 2016, the pinnacle Dream Builder Award, Presented by Texas Trust is Downtown’s greatest honor and recognizes the highest contributions made towards the revitalization of Downtown Arlington. The 2023 Dream Builder is… drumroll please… Alan Petsche! Alan Petsche is a UTA Distinguished Alumni, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Fort Worth/Arlington Chapter Gala Honoree, and Medal of Honor Museum Founder. Many people may recognize Alan as the lead guitar player in The Pengwins. His passion for music has informed many of his business ventures, such as supporting the Levitt Pavilion, the arts, UTA, and the creation of the Kirk Franklin recording studio.

Alan and Bonnie Petsche
Alan and Bonnie Petsche

As one of our downtown property owners and a serial entrepreneur, Alan continues to invest in various small businesses and downtown real estate, including some of Arlington’s favorite destinations. He was the biggest investor in the Urban Union development, helping drive major re-investment and bringing dozens of new businesses into our downtown. The Petsche family supports a broad variety of charitable causes and projects throughout the region. Alan and his wife Bonnie donated $1 million towards “Petsche Court” at the College Park Center, making dreams possible for so many athletes who have passed through those doors.

In 2012, Alan purchased the historic Candlelite Inn, and to this day, his team serves lunch for 150 volunteers at Mission Arlington every week. During the pandemic in 2020, he kept the restaurant open so he could keep as many people employed as possible and provide some joy in the community. Alan’s financial investments and unwavering support for Downtown Arlington earned him the Dream Builder title for 2023. Past recipients include Tom Cravens, Lana Wolff, Patti Diou, Terry Bertrand, Ryan Dodson, Mayor Jeff Williams, and Michael Jarrett.

The Legendary Lionheart

From left to right: John Arnot, Georgie Zang, Maggie Campbell
From left to right: John Arnot, Georgie Zang, Maggie Campbell

The Legendary Lionheart award is presented annually to one of downtown’s small businesses that has

become legendary by showing great heart and generosity in support of the local community. The Legendary Lionheart for 2023 is… Georgie Zang! Georgie is a partner in the Zang-Adams real estate firm and an avid supporter of local charities, from donating turkeys to firefighters during Thanksgiving, to playing tennis with special Olympic athletes, to helping the Salvation Army build a new soccer field.

In her professional role, Georgie has helped make dreams come true for dozens of new homeowners at Main 7. Georgie’s commitment to giving with her heart, time, and wallet not only won our hearts but also the Legendary Lionheart Award for 2023. Previous recipients include Randy Ford with J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill, Brandon Hurtado with Hurtado BBQ, Wally Hardin with The Man’s Shop, and Greg Gardner with The Grease Monkey.

The Golden Lantern

From left to right: John Arnot, Trey Yelverton, Maggie Campbell
From left to right: John Arnot, Trey Yelverton, Maggie Campbell

The Golden Lantern Award is given to a community leader or non-profit organization that inspires and

leads us to light up our community with hope, while bringing the human touch to our work. The 2023 Golden Lantern Award was given to… The City of Arlington’s Parks and Recreation Department! The Parks Department has been on a roll this year with the return and development of iconic events and destinations. They are responsible for bringing back the annual “Light Up Arlington” event on July 3rd, the single biggest day for our downtown bars and restaurants. This year, the event brought over 50,000 people to Downtown Arlington for family fun, food, live music, and more.

The Arlington Parks Department has also led the way for the vision and plans for the new Rotary Dream Park that will be developed this coming year on Front Street. They were recently instrumental in completing the Mineral Well Fountain feature as well, bringing new public spaces to life and taking care of them year-round. Previous award recipients include Ms. Tillie Burgin with Mission Arlington, Fire Station No. 1, The Arlington Life Shelter, and Walkable Arlington.

The Downtown Arlington Annual Meeting is our sole fundraising event of the year and continues to grow each year. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor Texas Trust Credit Union and thank you to our Mover and Shaker Program Sponsors – The City of Arlington, University of Texas at Arlington, LBL Architects, Frost Bank, Candlelite Inn, and Arlington Today. Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting and support Downtown Arlington and our efforts to make this downtown a world-class destination for all. Congratulations to all our award winners, Alan Petsche, Georgia Zang, and the Parks and Recreation Department. See you again next year!