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.
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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.