The Hall of State at Fair Park. (Photo by Josh Blaylock) Josh Blaylock

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Fair Park First Calls Out for New Businesses in Fair Park

The park's operator wants proposals from companies who can boost food, drink, and recreational offerings.

Earlier this week at an event, the private company charged with revitalizing Fair Park got a taste of what the community will ask of it. On sticky notes spread throughout the room, residents asked for things like transportation improvements, a grocery store, and more family activities. Also on the list: better options when it comes to food, drink, and recreation.

To that end, Fair Park First, the company subcontracted with Spectra to manage the park, has put out a request for information. The organization wants proposals from business owners who’d like to be Fair Park tenants. Three Fair Park buildings are up for grabs: Science Place 1, the Museum of Natural History, and the Women’s Building.

Fair Park First Executive Director Brian Luallen says they’ve already had “tremendous interest” from folks who want to be a part of the new vision. Putting out an RFI allows the organization to formalize those talks and take a broader look at the body of proposals.

They’ll analyze tenants while crafting the park’s new master plan, a revamp of the 2003 master plan. It will include millions of dollars in capital improvements, something Fair Park First will have to—and Luallen says will—keep in mind as it selects tenants. Some have already discussed bringing capital to the table to help with those improvements, he says.

After Fair Park First’s board approves businesses, their plans will be brought to the Park Board, Landmark Commission, and, finally, to the City Council.

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