If Klyde Warren Park has proved one thing, it's that if you make a formerly blemished urban space sufficiently cool and attractive, people will do yoga there. Other things, too. The point is, the people will come.
The folks who run Fair Park have taken note. Last year, as part of the ongoing effort to draw visitors, officials with the city's parks department approached the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation asking for a little help.
"We were just seeing if there was any interest on their part or any efficiencies that could be got doing joint programs," says Fair Park director Daniel Huerta.
There wasn't any interest, at least not for doing joint programs. Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green said the city posed the question -- "Could we hire you to do this [programming]?" -- around the time she was appointed last spring. A flattering thought, but "that's not really our core mission," Green says.
Green was, however, more than happy to share what's been successful at Klyde Warren. The game cart, which has various board games available for checkout, has been popular. So have the food trucks. "Fitness classes are a huge hit here, but we don't know if that would work in Fair Park."
Neither does Huerta.
"I don't know if people will come out here and do yoga," he says. Then again, "they went out there and did yoga on the new bridge -- that was a shocker to me."
The point is that Fair Park will have to do something if it wants to get people to Fair Park, especially during the week when there are no festivals or concerts going on. "We may have to do it through programming," Huerta says.
Currently, Huerta says the city is working with Dan Biederman, the NYC-based consultant who helped plan activities at Klyde Warren and New York's Bryant Park.
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There are no specific plans yet, but any programming will likely be focused on the Esplanade, which Huerta describes as having a similar footprint to Klyde Warren. With a reconfiguration of concession areas closer to the fountains (they are currently on the far walls of the surrounding buildings) and the addition of a couple more food and beverage options, it could become a decent place to spend a spring afternoon. If they put in a splash pad, as Huerta says they're contemplating, it might be bearable during the summer, too.
The initial plan was to have at least some activities start in May, but Huerta says park officials have decided to hold off until Biederman delivers his recommendations. Not that there's anything stopping yoga enthusiasts from going down there right now. There's plenty of room.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.