Forty years ago in the early 1970’s , the area between University Avenue and Indiana Avenue just south of Texas Tech seemed likely to face the same destiny as that area east of the campus known as the Tech Ghetto. Would-be apartment and multi-family developers sought new zoning and zoning exceptions in their desire to change the existing single-family characteristics of the neighborhood. Determined not to let this happen, neighbors were successful against their attempts. In an effort to be proactive rather than reactive, residents formed the first voluntary neighborhood association in Lubbock. Gordon Treadaway, an attorney who lived in the area, was successful in proposing the association be named with the acronym “UNIT” for the streets which bounded the neighborhood: University, Nineteenth, Indiana, and Thirty-Fourth. No more apartment buildings or multi-family dwellings were proposed, but early UNIT efforts resulted in stricter enforcement against converting garages and backyard structures into illegal, non-conforming second dwellings. Early UNIT Association presidents Neal Pearson and James Harris, who both still live in Lubbock, worked diligently in these efforts.
Then, in hopes to attract families to the UNIT area, residents worked with LISD to make the neighborhood schools more appealing during the late 1970s. Initially, Lubbock High School gained the nationally-recognized Lubbock Exemplary Academic Program (LEAP) and then Hutchinson Junior High School and Roscoe Wilson Elementary School received designation as magnet schools.
After a period of relative inactivity in the early 1980s, the organization was revitalized in the middle of the decade with Darrell Vines serving as chairman, followed by Lee Manning whose wife Marjorie took the reins after Lee’s death. Lubbock’s first neighborhood home tour began in 1988 to showcase the diversity and charm of UNIT homes decorated for the Christmas season. The UNIT Holiday Home Tour began with the purpose of attracting new homeowners to the area. It has since developed into the primary fundraiser for the neighborhood association and has provided funds for various neighborhood projects over the years, including the Tech Terrace Park walking trail, playground equipment in Wagner Park, street markers identifying the neighborhood, park garden maintenance, and support of prize-winning marching groups during Fourth on Broadway parades.
“UNIT” is quite an appropriate name for a neighborhood that so closely resembles a compact square-mile community with a core of retail establishments, two beautiful neighborhood parks, two schools, and a wide variety of housing options with an equally wide variety of residents. At the turn of the 21st century, “Tech Terrace” was added as part of the neighborhood association’s name with recognition that those Lubbock residents living outside the UNIT area recognize our neighborhood by the name of its major park. Unlike many downtown neighborhoods which deteriorate completely before renewal efforts are started, the Tech Terrace - UNIT neighborhood has maintained its high property values. Homes built more than fifty years ago oftentimes sell at prices equal to new construction. Due to the attractiveness and variety of inviting features of the neighborhood, along with its central location near Texas Tech University and other nearby Lubbock amenities, the area is expected to be a unique neighborhood of tremendous character & integrity for years to come.
The Tech Terrace – UNIT Neighborhood Association promises to keep it that way! - By Ami Hill