Like We Need to Tell You: Fair Park Named As One of the "Great Public Spaces in America"

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From the Baltimore Sun photo archives
Talk about your good timing: Last night, Dallas City Hall sent word that the American Planning Association yesterday released its list of the Great Places in America, which is divvied into three categories -- Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces. It's the latter with which we're concerned today, because in the midst of the State Fair of Texas, Fair Park has been named as a Great Public Space.

No need to tell locals why; it's a treasure, after all, and has been since its creation in 1886, and certainly since its George Dahl extreme makeover for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. But here's what the APA has to say about Fair Park:
Fair Park combines City Beautiful Movement planning influences with the country's largest collection of 1930s Art Deco architecture. "A wonderful place to spend a Saturday afternoon exploring ... art and architecture," says Eddie Hueston, former Fair Park executive general manager. For more than a century the park, two miles east of downtown Dallas, has been delighting millions of visitors. Attractions on its 277 acres include eight museums, six performance facilities, and a major sports stadium.
To which Mayor Mike Rawlings, former head of the Park Board, adds this in the city's heads-up: "In less than 10 years Fair Park catapulted from being on the National Trust for Historic Preservation lists as one of the 'Eleven Most Endangered Neighborhoods in America' to receiving their Honor Award for restoration. Fair Park provides an example to our city and others communities of the excellent results that can be realized when we set as a priority the preservation of our history, art and architectural treasures." Hear, hear.
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Sammy
Sammy

Can't everyone be happy and proud that Fair Park has earned this honor?

Jason
Jason

I think it's a given with this group that they appreciate the honor.  I think everyone's just a little feisty today!

John Tucker
John Tucker

Give me a dollar and I'll watch your car!

Lakewoodhobo
Lakewoodhobo

Park downtown and take the Green Line.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Even better: live downtown and take the Green Line.  :-)

Lakewoodhobo
Lakewoodhobo

Could we get an update on the Summerplace park/summer midway and the 1936 Centennial Fair exhibit?

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

Been many times to Expo Park. Meridian Room rocks. I have NEVER had a single problem. I've never seen or heard an act of violence. Not once. Expo Park is one of the coolest neighborhoods in Dallas.

Fair park has got to be the biggest under-utilized spot in the city.

Brian
Brian

I agree.  I've been to Expo dozens of times over the last 3 years.  Never had a problem and don't know anyone who has.  I lived in Plano and Lewisville before I moved to the Knight/Cedar Springs area.  I can remember being very uncomfortable getting gas at the Racetrack on Lemon Ave, looking over my shoulder as I pumped gas thinking that I was in a bad neighborhood.  I look back at that now and laugh at myself.  I was really very ignorant.  So as a former suburbanite I would recommend that all you current suburbanites venture inside 635 often.  Relax and explore some new areas.  We have a lot to offer here in the city center.  Is there crime?  Well yes, but in my experience it is minimal.  Just be aware of your surroundings and don't make poor decisions. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I think suburbanites will accept your proposal if Dallasites stop acting like driving 15 minutes up the Tollway is akin to Oklahoma and that there's nothing but chain restaurants and horrendous taste.

Jason
Jason

I like you, Scruffy.  You are patient and open-minded, and it doesn't seem contrived.  Carry on.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Okay, okay, touche. I was thinking more of the lack of charm down 30 towards the 80 split. But a drive up Ferguson from 30 is a prime example of how things can alternate between charming and garbage and back in a matter of blocks.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I don't disagree with your point as a whole, but tacked on? It's a nature preserve--by definition that means it was there first. Suburbs are very rarely going to have the charm of the parent city because of the reason they exist--an escape from the parent city in the form of land/quiet/different style of life. But just because some of us choose the suburbs doesn't mean we don't appreciate the quirks of an established big city without residing there.

lorlee
lorlee

Hey -- I live 2 minutes East of Fair Park -- lovely little neighborhood of 1920's and 30's bungalos with a lot of character -- similar to Hollywood.  We used to be attached to East Dallas until they ran I-30 right through us. 

Rangers100
Rangers100

"But how many Dallasites have been to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano?"

This is an example of something tacked on to a burb in attempt to make it more livable. Better it than another Super Target of course... but ultimately not really why anyone is in the burbs.  People live in the burbs for more space, more money, etc.  Not to be engaged in a civic project that ultimately matters.  

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Some places have character, it's just manufactured character instead of evolved character. Hell, I feel that way about Frisco and I live 2 minutes across 121 from it. But just like there are pockets in the burbs, there are pockets in Dallas. Head 2 minutes east of Fair Park and tell me it has character. Granted, there's not much old school urban charm in Plano, but I can choose which Super Target I go to and not worry about parking. I just drive by typical strip malls and office buildings and typical brick houses to get there.

I don't fear going to Fair Park by any means, but some people do fear it without much merit, I get that. But how many Dallasites have been to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano? There's more than Chili's and dry cleaners outside of 635 too. We all get comfortable in our little bubbles.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

there is a city mouse, country mouse aspect to this. I confess this myself scruffy. there are some of us that just like old, so new just seems to have less character. I feel this particularly about places like frisco. But, I know there's cool stuff there. 

ChrisU
ChrisU

Fair Park is a local treasure but yeah-can see why the surrounding area would cause concern.my personal experience - i've been going to events there for years, (concerts, sports, fairs, festivals) never had any problem or worried for my security. then again i've never walked those streets when nothing is going on.

Lee
Lee

You are right. Millions of people go to Fair Park each year without incident. Without knowing the figures, I would guess that the crimes involving Fair Park visitors are better than those for visitors at North Park.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

And yet the Women's Museum is closing after this year's fair... with Nature & Science leaving in 2013 and Texas OU not long after. The city needs to redouble efforts to restore Fair Park and make progress toward its master plan. Friends of Fair Park need to bring more museums and nonprofits to the park, and the State Fair organization needs to hurry up and open its Summer Midway so more people can experience this amazing place.  I would love to see an Art Deco hotel open outside the park.

Most importantly, Fair Park (the neighborhood) needs to be improved so that people will want to live here.

mdmost
mdmost

Texas and OU are already talking with the city and Fair about extending the series beyond 2015. Deloss Dodds (Texas AD) has been on record as saying he loves having the game at the Fair. People need to stop with this tired notion that Texas OU is going away. The teams make tons of money playing the game there. The fans love the game in the Cotton Bowl with the Fair as the backdrop. It's one of the top 5 college football games each year. It's not going anywhere any time soon. 

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Can someone explain to me why the Ladies Museum is closing and where is it headed??

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

when was last time you went to Women's Museum? Nothing wrong with it, but I can't remember the last time I went to an event there. 

Gabe
Gabe

I went yesterday. They sell cokes for a buck, way cheaper than the other vendors. I went in, made my "donation," and then went back to the Hall of State to look at the tile work. 

Anonymous
Anonymous

Friends of Fair Park has been ineffectual at best and useless at worse over the last 20 years. It is not able to create any cohesive plan or organization to marketing this gem of a park.The City is, hopefully unintentionally, killing Fair Park with the high parking fees and rents to use buildings for festivals and events.

Georgegobel
Georgegobel

"Latter" refers the the second of two discrete elements, or to the end part of an otherwise undivided mass (the latter half of a book, etc.).  I don't believe it's proper to use it in reference to the last of three or more individually listed items.

Suburbanite
Suburbanite

Great place to get robbed after going to the Fair!!

lorlee
lorlee

Have you actually ever been there?????  If you are afraid, take the train which drops you off and picks you up at the front gate or park in the grounds and you never have to get out into those "scary" neighborhoods. 

I live only about a mile from there in a great little neighborhood with very little crime -- Please come out of your cave and don't comment unless you have actual facts. 

Rangers100
Rangers100

"Have you actually ever been there?????"

Probably wouldn't matter anyway.

Leaving Deep Ellum after dinner last week, I got on one of the trains with my wife and kids.  The train was crowded but jovial... except for one white family headed back to Plano, the mother of which was clearly petrified by the crowd and apparently terrified upon learning they would have to get off at a downtown station to get on the train they needed to be on.

Some people just don't know how to live in cities... and thus have no idea how to properly assess what should and shouldn't be scary, greatly erring on the side of excessive fear in urban environments.  

Rangers100
Rangers100

No doubt a lot of racial fear on their part... but also just fear of, well, everyone.  The mother appeared very nervous for my 2 toddlers since I was not firmly grasping them as the train moved along (a couple times starting to caution me to watch them more closely).  I don't know what she was afraid would happen to them... I think they were ultimately just a place to channel her nervousness and fear in the midst of this crowded and easy-spirited but decidedly non-Planoesque train car.  

I like to make fun of suburbanites, but in this case I genuinely felt sorry for her.  I imagine the immense wave of relief that came over her as she finally got home to her little section of Tea Party America, but so much fear... over nothing.  What a waste.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Most likely these lilly white plano crackers havent had the opportunity to see "other colored folks" outside a national geographic documentary. This is a fine example of why people need to experience the urban areas of a city. I love Deep Ellum and Expo/Fair Park, as I live in the neighborhood and have learned to appreciate both its history and culture. I also agree concerning some of the areas surrounding fair park, ED should be used to clean up the neighborhood and bring it back to its former glory.

Two Words
Two Words

eminent domain. 

Bob
Bob

Four Words:

try to make sense.

do i have to spell it out?
do i have to spell it out?

http://www.expertlaw.com/libra... Meaning it is time to talk about using eminent domain to reclaim several blocks of land east south and west of Fair Park to make it a safe place for visitors

how do you define safe?
how do you define safe?

http://newsapps.dmnmedia.com/c...

Check your facts. In the last year the zip code covering the portion of Fair Park with the Gexa Energy Pavilion has registered reports for roughly 100 assaults, 60 burglaries, 50 motor vehicle burglaries, 30 auto thefts, 40 robberies, and 10 murders.

Pack a picnic and bring the kids.    

Lee
Lee

The adverse impact of the eminent domain to acquire the land where acres of parking and the Starplex, or what ever is it these days) is still a real sore spot in South and Southeast Dallas. What good would more acres of parking that are not used but 3 weeks a year do to make it a safe place for visitors? It is already safe!

Rangers100
Rangers100

Great news.  Fair Park is cool.  

Rangers100
Rangers100

Off-topic FYI:

Deep Ellum Outdoor Market setting up in Pegasus Plaza on Friday afternoons in October:

http://www.deepellummarket.com...

"We want to give Downtown workers an exciting alternative to the normal lunchtime experience. Come outside and enjoy the streets of the Central Business District."

tony
tony

A great space in Dallas of course has to be completely severed from the surrounding neighborhood by vast expanses of empty space and concrete (save a few choice points).

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

Cue the suburbanites who think it's "scary" and "sketchy."

Fletch
Fletch

Another perfect opportunity to bag on commenters who live in the suburbs.  Yeah, I'll be the first to admit that the suburbs are pretty boring for the most part.  But for the money you can have a newer house in a better neighborhood with better schools.  So it's all about what's important to the person.

To me, the area of Dallas that surrounds Fair Park is indeed sketchy.  I think that anyone who sees it as an ordinarily safe part of town where folks should have no reservations about walking down the street day or night needs to have their head examined.  Is it the roughest part of town?  No, but it's no picnic either.  You can drop the I'm-so-hardcore-because-I-actually-live-in-Dallas act.  It's getting really old.

You're now free to resume lambasting all of us that live outside 635.  It's completely expected.

Gmit
Gmit

I love low test scores, bad schools , and smaller houses. It keeps all you lolligaggin breeding assholes off my streets and out of my restaurants. Since you let your damn kids run wild screaming everywhere can we push Dallas schools down more ?

Rangers100
Rangers100

Vibrant cities need all types, mixed together.  Not just ethnic and cultural diversity... but age diversity as well.  Sure, no one likes suburban mallrat kids and the thoughtless parents that produce them.  But cities do need kids. And kids need cities; vibrant cities are tremendous incubators for children.  Suburbs are terrible places to raise children.  

Rangers100
Rangers100

No one is claiming to be "hardcore."  Just engaged in the city, instead of fleeing from it just to have "a newer house" "for the money."

You've made your choice and it is (by your own admission) boredom, better schools (if we're only looking at test scores anyway), more space and more money.  But that choice also includes a rejection of the city.  Stick by your choice for the reasons you give... but don't pretend you haven't rejected the city (for whatever that is worth).

Ben
Ben

I saw two men beaten till they were unconscious on September 25th in the middle of the street on Pennsylvania. Beaten by a mob. They were left lying in the street. Within two blocks of Fair Park. Violence is very real outside the gates. Be careful.

jfpo
jfpo

Did you do anything about this, like call 911, or did you just let them lie there while you high-tailed it to safer ground?

LizzieMay
LizzieMay

"Not my battle. Not my fight. Not getting involved in that."  REALLY?  There were at least two people being seriously injured.  Dialing 911 is not "getting involved".  You could have called from the safety of your vehicle while continuing to your destination & possibly saved a life in the process.  I find this kind of thinking very sad.  "I'd also have a hard time explaining to the police why I was carrying a Gerber machete and a Mattock Axe."  You didn't have to stay at the scene, you're not going to see the police and both of those items, while could be considered weapons, are yard tools.  You, it seems, are just a tool.

jfpo
jfpo

Good point about the machete.

Ben
Ben

The fight stopped traffic on Pennsylvania. It involved 20-25 people. Fight started when some dude carrying what looked like half a gallon of cranapple juice mixed with milk was jumped by half a dozen guys wearing white wife beater shirts. They got him on the ground and beat him till he was knocked out cold. Then some other dudes rolled up and started beating on someone else. Then all hell broke loose. People jumping on/off porches, throwing trash cans. When the dust settled two guys were knocked out and lying in the fetal position in the street.

Sunday nights they have a youth group event in some buildings near Madison High School. There are often fights as a result. The block north of there is where the fight happened around sunset.

Why would I get involved in that? There were all sorts of older folks outside on their porches that evening who could have dropped a dime on those guys and called the fuzz. 30 seconds later and I was in Fair Park, safe. Not my battle. Not my fight. Not getting involved in that.

I'd also have a hard time explaining to the police why I was carrying a Gerber machete and a Mattock Axe.

Rangers100
Rangers100

I was in Plano the other day.  Saw a ton of disgusting, half-empty strip malls.  Saw a bunch of very dangerous streets and numerous car wrecks, with ambulances racing back and forth all over the place trying to keep up with all the damage. Saw zero public art or pretty spaces of any kind.  

Depression and violence very real on the streets there.  Be careful.

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