With downtown absent of a pedestrian trail, it's missing that circulation of people on the street. That vacancy spurred Cushman & Wakefield EVP Mike Wyatt and Interior Architects business development manager Skyler Baty to partner in the creation of the Urban Armadillos organization. They had a vision to give Big D a soul, Mike says. His idea: create something like Boston's Freedom Trail. It's a place for people to trek the downtown sidewalks and learn the city's history. There's seven trails, each with a focus on various interests from pop culture (think where JR officed or where Robocop was filmed) to arts, and history. The list: arts, commercial center, civic center, Deep Ellum, Farmers Market, Main Street, reunion, and West End districts.
Mike tells us the organization started with 18 people in spring 2012 and is up to 275 members now. The organization is partnering with Preservation Dallas and has a 501(c)3 non-profit status with grants from organizations to help fund the maps as well as markers along the trail routes. By connecting each of the districts, the UA's goal is to preserve Dallas' urban treasures, to enrich the experience of visitors to the CBD, and to increase the overall economic vitality and legacy of Big D, Mike says. UA is in the midst of developing an app, which will include all of the sites with pictures, maps, and info. UA also has a Facebook page as well as a presence on Instagram and Twitter.