WACO, Texas — Residents in East Waco are one step closer to seeing a major beautification project on Bridge Street, which is adjacent to Elm Avenue.

Thursday, Waco's Tax Increment Financing Zone Board recommended the city invest $5,548,000 to change Bridge Street into a Festival Street for events.

East Waco community members say they wanted a “front porch” feel to the area, which means people coming together to celebrate, discuss the events of the day.

The Bridge Street Project may soon turn the area into a plaza packed with people and events.

“Like music, dance, art, theater and spoken word," Jeanette Bell, president of the the North East Riverside Neighborhood Association said.

The TIF board took a tour of Bridge Street and approved City Center Waco's $5.5 million recommendation to revitalize the road from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Mann Street.

"I think this is a very historical moment because we haven’t had this much development in a very long time," said Bell.

City Center Waco admits the price tag for this project is a hefty one. They say drainage work alone cost $800,000 and there's a million dollars worth of utility locations among other things.

"The elements that make this project challenging include the simultaneous development on adjacent properties," Meagan Henderson of City Center Waco said.

The future festival street sits next to the new hotels currently under construction on Elm Avenue.

"We want the same amenities the West side of the Brazos River has. We want it on the East side also" Henderson said.

It is now up to the Waco City Council to approve or deny the funds. If city council approves construction on bridge street will begin in February. 

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