Commercial Real Estate

CRE Opinion: Give Dallas the Iconic Sights It Deserves

Why you should vote yes to Proposition C to fund repairs at Fair Park.

Courtney Emich Spellicy of AECOM

Citizens, leaders and visionaries throughout Dallas want every building, mosaic, sculpture and fountain in Fair Park to be internationally recognizable. Iconic. The personification of all we desire Dallas to be—big, bold, and beautiful.

Distinctive landmarks resonate with us, and we are easily able to identify their locale.

A friend posts a photo of her family in front of Cloud Gate (a.k.a. “The Bean”) and I instantly know they’re vacationing in Chicago. An old college buddy and his new bride share a shot of themselves with the Space Needle in the background and I’m now aware that Seattle made it onto their honeymoon itinerary. An old family friend uploads an image of her grandchildren crouching next to a bronze mallard and her eight bronze ducklings and I realize she must be visiting her son and his family in Boston.

I dream that one day I will post a pic of my family with the Woofus soaring in the background and all will know that we must be spending an afternoon at Fair Park. “What’s the Woofus?” you ask. “How do you not know?” I reply. But that’s a topic for another post.

The first step to making that a reality is voting YES to Proposition C on Tuesday, November 7th for the Dallas County special bond election. The Dallas City Council recently voted in favor of allocating $50 million from the 2017 Capital Bond Program for repairs throughout Fair Park. A Facility Condition Assessment of Fair Park completed in 2016 by AECOM verifies that it is necessary—and long overdue.

During a heavy rainfall, water flows through the front doors, pooling in areas visitors must cross to enter the African-American Museum. At the time of the assessment mentioned above, the Hall of State had standing water under its auditorium stage and in the basement. The two main public restrooms off the IMAX lobby had standing water on the floor. The roof of the Music Hall had evidence of water ponding. I’m sensing a theme.

People want to spend their time—professional and personal—surrounded by beauty and Fair Park has it in abundance. Of course, this is in addition to the abundance of leaking roofs, crumbling facades, and rampant safety hazards and code violations.

Would anyone smile in front of Cloud Gate if it were covered in bird droppings, having gone years without cleaning? Would anyone smile next to Mrs. Mallard if the Boston Parks Department didn’t replace one of her ducklings each time they were stolen? How can we acquaint the world with the Woofus when its surroundings are a breeding ground for mold?

Fund it. Fix it. And then we can embark on the campaign to ensure #woofus brings up photos taken in Fair Park, not someone’s Husky in Oklahoma.

Courtney Emich Spellicy leads client services for AECOM’s Buildings + Places (B+P) practice in Dallas.