Remembering Delbert McDougal’s impact on the City of Lubbock

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 9:56 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2023 at 10:28 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A man responsible for the one of the largest privately funded neighborhood redevelopments in the country will be laid to rest soon.

Delbert McDougal died on Friday, but because of his work in the North Overton neighborhood and downtown Lubbock, the impact he left on our city will live on for decades.

Former Lubbock mayor Dan Pope says those projects were part of McDougal’s service to Lubbock.

“Delbert served by creating opportunities for lots of folks,” Pope said.

For tens of thousands of Red Raiders those opportunities start while staying in student housing in the North Overton neighborhood.

That piece of Lubbock once known as the “Tech ghetto” looked very different before McDougal came along.

The area was known for rundown homes and high crime rates until McDougal decided to rebuild.

“It took a lot of guts, and they pulled it off,” Pope said. “I think we are all the beneficiaries of it.”

McDougal went from a child cutting down weeds for 45 cents an hour in his hometown of Smyer to owning a multi-million-dollar company here in Lubbock.

He started with a $10,000 loan and a vision for the future.

“You know he lived the great American dream,” Pope said.

That dream was fueled by creativity and tenacity.

Two characteristics that another former Lubbock mayor, David Langston, says shined through McDougal’s work across Lubbock.

“Those talents were something that he brought not only to the redevelopment of Overton,” Langston said. “Also, to the downtown redevelopment authority here.”

Many said his goals for the North Overton neighborhood couldn’t be achieved, but McDougal wouldn’t be deterred.

“He finally just said, ‘you know what, I’m gonna do this myself,’ and in the face of many people who were laughing behind his back and saying he’ll never get it done, it’ll never happen, you just can’t do it that way. Well, he proved them all wrong,” Langston said.

Now his name sits atop of one of the tallest buildings in downtown Lubbock.

Just one of the lasting marks he made in his lifetime.

“He made marks on people’s hearts,” Langston said. “He made marks on the character and vision of our city.”

So, while some have called McDougal, kind, a visionary, or a businessman...

“At the end of the day I think they’d just say he was a great guy,” Pope said.

McDougal was 86 years old.