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story.lead_photo.caption This is the view of a Linden Economic Development Corporation project looking from South Main toward a drainage creek and site of a former meat locker plant. The area is being made ready for topsoil and grass to create community public space in Linden. Photo by Neil Abeles / Texarkana Gazette.

Linden is attempting to turn a downtown eyesore into a communal space to benefit the public.

In 2018, the Linden Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) demolished a building on South Main that had been a meat locker plant. Next to the plant, the land dipped and sloped away into a large drainage creek that then ran under the Kaufman Street bridge, taking the water away from the business district.

A large but unsightly retention wall was built. Now that wall has been removed and the slope gently graded to the creek. Topsoil will be added and grass planted.

"We want the area to be a green space we can work into something for communal space, maybe entertainment or recreation," said Christophe Trahan, director for the LEDC

The LEDC owns the property and recently gave the city an easement to cross the land for access to improve the drainage creek area that runs behind the senior citizens center and also into the city park wetland area. Linden City Manager Bob Swisher said work to replace the Kaufman bridge and Centerville culvert should start in January.

"We will be creating a pond to help with flash flood retention," he said.

Local contractors Rex Harris and Clifton Colliflower have done most of the land improvement work for the LEDC and city.

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