East Sider looks to jumpstart Delevan-Grider revitalization efforts

Please tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Dock Mack. I am from the East Side, born and raised. My business background — well, I don’t necessarily have a business as of yet, but my background is construction — I’ve been working in construction for a few years now. It started off with a construction management company, and then I tried my hand at welding. I got a little insight about this program, and said, “I would like to see how or where I can go with development because I have encountered and communicated with a lot of developers that my company was doing jobs for.” When I heard about this program, I got interested and that’s why I got involved.

Please tell us about your project.

I’m looking to build a mixed-use building with residential units upstairs and retail on the bottom. Retail is important. I intend to create a grocery store since there’s a lack of grocery stores on the East Side, especially in the Delevan-Grider neighborhood. The closest grocery store could possibly be 2 to 3 miles away, so I think that’s something that’s necessary. Also, when it comes to the residential, which would be the second and third floor of the project, I was looking to make it affordable as well, because there are a lot of people who can’t find housing where they can actually pay rent without breaking themselves. So, I wanted to do that. And it would provide people a place to live which is basically “quality,” compared to many of the housing where people are living on the East Side as of right now. A lot of these houses are not well-kept and barely receive any kind of maintenance. So I want to just allow people to have a quality life inside a quality home and provide quality food and groceries that are easily accessible to them.

How will your project benefit the neighborhood and the East Side community as a whole?

I think this project will bring life back to a street that was once vibrant.  People socialized throughout that whole area. But over time, a lot of the business establishments were knocked down. That kind of did away with the whole feel of community where people can just come out on this main strip and just interact and have a good time, eat together and go to stores together. That’s no longer the case. I think this project will be the first step to bringing that back.

How will what you have learned from the class help you accomplish your development goals?

I think it’s going to help a lot because there’s a lot of things that I didn’t know concerning the whole process. There are a lot of steps and things you need to know to go about acquiring the land and then finding out if you can actually build something on that land. You may have to test the soil, see if there are contaminants and then find out what kind of building can you build there. Could it be two stories? Could it be three stories? A lot of this stuff, the average person just doesn’t know. So it have gave me the knowledge and understanding of the things that I have to look into, to see if it can actually be done. And then, just the process that you learn to see if the project is actually even feasible financially. So, yes, it has showed me the path to actually doing what I intend to do.

Would you recommend this program to others?

I would recommend it to others. And what I would say to them is it’s going to take more than just me to help build up the East Side again. It’s going to take a number of people contributing to this development. One person can’t do it on their own. So we need more to learn this, so we all can be a part of bringing life back to the East Side.

What are the immediate next steps in your project then?

The next step is talking to the owner of the land and acquiring the land. I’ve got a team together that’s going to help me move forward. First of all, there are some meetings I have to attend which also can play a major part in my project. So my next step is to have these meetings to see what’s what, to see how they look, to contribute. And then going to the owner of the land that I’ve been scoping out and we can move together to just make this thing happen.

What is your vision for the East Side?

My vision is a thriving cultural, commercial — just a prosperous side of town; a place worth living in.