Since July 1999, one of the major headline stories in Lubbock has been the North Overton Redeveloment Project. Delbert McDougal, CEO of McDougal Companies, unveiled the massive project which is known as Overton Park first on July 22, 1999 as The Center and then again on Friday, September 13, 2002 renamed as Overton Park.
The plan calls for the acquisition of the property located within the boundaries of University Avenue, 4th Street, Avenue Q, and Main Street, which is commonly referred to as North Overton. Acquired properties will be cleared to make way for a newly built neighborhood consisting of multi-family housing complexes, single family homes, restaurants, specialty retail shops, and other business locations. Single family homes will probably start at $120,000 and range upward depending on size and type of construction. Completion of the project is estimated to span 7-8 years with an estimated finish in the year 2007 or 2008.
Lubbock became a constituted city in 1907, and the same year Dr. M. C. Overton founded the neighborhood, which will again bear his name. His goal was to develop a nice community, which could be built on affordable land adjacent to the new city's downtown area. At one time, the Overton area was considered high society and housed many of Lubbock's prominent families.
The Overton neighborhood became a natural bridge in 1925 between newly formed Texas Technological College immediately west of the area and downtown Lubbock to the east. Over time, North Overton began to experience a number of significant changes. In the 1960's developers started building numerous apartments to house Texas Tech students replacing single family homes. In addition a cycle of deterioration set in as often occurs with aging neighborhoods that surround the immediate downtown area of a growing city. Brand new subdivisions built in southwest and west Lubbock became attractive locations for North Overton homeowners.
By the 1980's, the area had changed primarily into a rental community for low-income residents with approximately 97% of the property owned by absentee owners. Crime increased dramatically with almost one-fourth of all reported crimes in the city coming from North Overton, which represented only 3% of Lubbock's population. Burglars struck at twice the rate of any other neighborhood, drug dealers worked openly, and prostitutes camped out on the street corners. These conditions presented a sad commentary on a once proud and stately neighborhood.
Overton Park has one major foundational goal, which is to reclaim the North Overton neighborhood and restore this area to a respectable Lubbock community. The project is a major undertaking to revitalize the downtown area and to further contribute to the growth and development of Texas Tech University. The size of the project, which comprises 325 acres, will make Overton Park the largest privately funded urban redevelopment project in the history of the United States. The project will result in adding approximately 190 million dollars of property tax value to city, county, and school district tax rolls.
On July 16, 2002, The McDougal Companies and The Dinerstein Companies officially broke ground on Sterling University Trails which is a 242 unit apartment complex. This event is the first new construction ground breaking in Overton Park with more to follow soon. The project is currently almost a year ahead of schedule and has received tremendous support within the Lubbock community.