In the wake of its inclusion on the American Planning Association's list of Great Public Places, several Friends of Unfair Park have asked: How's that long-proposed plan to open the fairgrounds year-round(ish) coming? And: What about the pending closure of The Women's Museum?
As far as the so-called Summer Place Park is concerned, Willis Winters, second-in-command at Park and Rec, tells Unfair Park this afternoon that it's still on track to debut in the summer of 2013. But before that, the 500-foot observation tower-slash-ride we've looked at here and there and here again should be done in time for next year's State Fair of Texas. They poured the foundation over the summer, Winters says, and vertical construction will begin in November or December, at the latest. But we'd love to get a look at State Fair President Errol McKoy's master plan for Summer Place Park, which is also said to include a water ride of some kind involving ... flames?
"It looks like a cross between a log flume and drag racing," explains Winters, who says McKoy would be a far better person to talk about about this than he, since the State Fair's the one actually footing the bill and planning the park. But Winters does also mention plans to install WiFi-enabled cabanas on one side of the Midway, which folks will be able to rent out for, ya know, parties or weekend whatevers. Alas, McKoy won't be able to chat till after Big Tex is tucked away. We've tried.
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As for The Women's Museum, which, as The News's Christina Rosales noted yesterday, is shuttering due to lack of funds, city officials say some at City Hall knew that was coming two weeks ago. But Park and Rec officials found out about it only yesterday. Which is why Park Department director Paul Dyer tells Unfair Park there are no plans for the 111-year-old building, once Fair Park's coliseum (and opera house): "Fair Park is a wonderful entertainment venue for our city," he says via text, "and we are looking at many options to enhance the year-round attendance and vibrancy in the park."