Hop Inside the 500-Foot-Tall Fair Park Tower Ride With the Architect Who Designed It

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Couldn't make it to Monday's Landmark Commission meeting, during which there was discussion of the proposed 500-foot-tall Top of Texas Centennial Tower at Fair Park that State Fair of Texas president Errol McKoy hopes to plant in his summertime Midway. But this afternoon I spoke with Good Fulton & Farrell's Jon Rollins, the tower's designer, who provides a few more details.

Chief among them, says Rollins: It is, in fact, a ride -- which is to say, the observation deck (an enclosed doughnut, as the architect refers to it) will make a complete rotation on its way up and again on its way down. Says Rollins, the whole experience -- from loading to unloading -- should take about five to seven minutes, with one minute spent on the ascension, one spent at the top, and another spent coming down.

"The way the cabin works is, it's a big doughnut with an entry on one side and exit doors on the other," he explains. "The boarding line splits both ways around the circle, and the seats fill from the exit door back toward the entrance. You're seated for the entire duration of the ride, and there's not a lot of circulation space." He says it'll be fabricated in Luxembourg, and directs our attention to other so-called gyro towers for further sneak peeks at how it'll work and what it'll look like.

Now, then, to the question of the radio tower right next to the Top of Texas Centennial Tower.

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Several Friends of Unfair Park wondered on Monday if it'll come down or be moved, seeing as how it's uncomfortably close to the proposed ride. Rollins says, as a matter of fact, the radio tower was the one significant item of discussion at Monday's meeting, and that Craig Holcomb and the Friends of Fair Park are spearheading an effort to move the thing.

There's but one problem -- three, actually: That tower currently houses private cell-carrier equipment, Dallas Police and Fire-Rescue equipment, not to mention equipment vital to WRR-FM's operations.

"Erroll would like it to go, and everyone who has seen the presentation knows why we'd like it to go away," Rollins says. "But, politically it's pretty complicated to move all that. My guess is, it will move eventually but not by the time the ride opens."

That's slated for the summer of 2013, when McKoy hopes to open The Midway.

"It may not be a thing people ride every year," Rollins say of the tower, which he equates to "riding a Ferris wheel." But, he says, "the views will really be extraordinary."
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Meowbellers
Meowbellers

come on DALLAS  wake up!!!!!!! We all ready have Reunion Tower if you build this it will be a huge tax dollar waste.....Look at the Empire State Building it is now closed due to Terrorist reasons so if you build this it will become like a huge useless monster...PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS AND BUILD US TEXAS FOLKS A HUGE NICE CASINO...I AM TIRED OF GIVING MY MONEY TO OTHER STATES AND FOR WHAT CAUSE YALL DO NOT WANT TO CREATE MORE JOBS AND BOOST TEXAS ECONOMY?????? TELL ME WHAT AND HOW MANY JOBS THIS WILL MAKE A STUPID TOWER???? THAT IS JUST MAKING THE BUILDER RICH IS ALL!!!!! 

Ed D.
Ed D.

Just one minute at the top? That's just nuts.

MattL1
MattL1

I'm a sucker for tall structures with observation decks, so I'm kind of a fan of this project. If it stopped at the top for an hour and they served drinks, even better.

Informed Citizen
Informed Citizen

This is the lamest ride ever. What's the point of it again?

BubbaBGood2U
BubbaBGood2U

If the old radio tower is structurally sound and has a purpose would it not be cheaper to keep it but somehow make it look better. Have some artists design facades to go on it that would make it more appealing, maybe with some sort of flashing lights. But in my opinion if the tower goes they need to take the Administration building with it. Its an eyesore as well.

LaceyB
LaceyB

ReMinds me of that semi-annoying song "Better Days" by citizen King..."and the bottom drops out" in the early 2000s. We need a ride with an awesome Dallas view, then the bottom drops and you scream, at state fair.

This sounds genius, but I'm in Mexico w a cup of coffee in one hand and bourbon in the other, so, forgive my "genius". It also sounds like disd. Bottom drops out.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

How is this going to impact the City's subsidy of all things Fair Park related?

Dallasboi51
Dallasboi51

Speaking for the communications industry, most of the cell and radio equipment can be moved onto the 'ride" tower with some funding from its landlord: you. One of us already has a cell tower disguised as the flagpole in the A&M stadium, various local palmtrees and restaurant critics. No biggie so long as you pay us to move:)

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