There's a new plan for Dallas' Fair Park making the rounds this week, one that would relegate the State Fair itself to a 84-acre section of the 277-acre park and tear down Gexa Energy Pavilion, and it has the State Fair worried.
As things stand, the plan is just a radical re-imagining of potential Fair Park uses, designed by Boston architect Antonio Di Mambro and backed by former Trammel Crow CEO Don Williams. Williams ties the plan to D Magazine Publisher Wick Allison's Coalition for a New Dallas political action committee -- Williams sits on the PAC's steering committee. It wasn't designed under the auspices of the mayor, unlike the State Fair-supported 2014 plan that came from the Mike Rawlings-appointed Fair Park task force. That plan's biggest proposal would create a private nonprofit to oversee Fair Park, a change that hasn't yet been approved by the park board or Dallas City Council.
There are two competing visions, but only one has any sort of an official sheen on it. Nevertheless, Mitchell Glieber, the president of the State Fair, has issued a statement saying that the Di Mambro would end the fair as we all know and love(?) it.
The relevant bit:
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The Fair currently operates in 277 acres. This proposal relegates the State Fair of Texas to one-third of that space in a corner of the park with no infrastructure for operations. This would discontinue use of the historic buildings, like the Centennial, the Automobile, the Pan-Am Arena, the Creative Arts Building, the Music Hall, the Embarcadero, the Women's Museum Building, the Esplanade, Marine Corps Square, the Tower Building and Big Tex Circle. This proposal would effectively end the 129-year tradition of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.
Rawlings told the Morning News that the Di Mambro plan "puts the cart before the horse," as the proposals suggested by his task force haven't even been voted on yet.