PLANO RECIPE FOR A MODEL COMMUNITY

Dallas has grown with such speed that its surrounding cities are sometimes lost in the anonymous shadow of the metropolitan center. It is often difficult to discern the distinguishing qualities and subtle differences between the various cities and suburbs. Every one of the cities contributes the best il has to offer to the diverse Dallas-Fort Worth area, and Piano is one that’s worth a closer look.

Plana sprang from an agriculture-producing community that was named, mistakenly, by a doctor who thought “Piano” was the word for “plain” in Spanish. Proving to be anything but, the city has focused its economic energies over the past two decades on telecommunications and information technology. With an eye on the future and a firm grasp on the goals and expectations of its city, the community has taken precisely measured steps toward achieving what the founders of the city had envisioned. Piano’s commitment to maintaining harmony between economic expansion and residential growth has resulted in a beautiful, carefully managed city. Attributes like these, and others, have attracted new residents and businesses at an increasing rate, making Piano the nation’s fifth-fastest growing city.



ECONOMY. The thriving economy in Piano, according to the Piano Chamber of Commerce, is a product of various business interests. Government employment, banking, real estate, insurance and range of manufacturing are some of the areas in which residents are employed. The production and research of natural gas and oil remains vital to the city. With retail, wholesale and service industries within the city, it maintains an autonomous economy that is also supplemented by the surrounding areas. Piano boasts a high amount of cooperation between the public, private and nonprofit sectors that work together for the prosperity of the city.

ARTS: An extensive variety of visual and performing arts enhance the lives of Piano residents. Piano-supported venues, like the ArtCentre of Piano, treat guests to year-round exhibits by artists from around the world. From folk art to photography, oil painting and sculpture, the three galleries at ArtCentre of Piano display art in various mediums. The theater at the ArtCentre of Piano is the permanent, home of the Piano Repertory Theater. Funded in part by the city of Piano, as well as the Texas Commission on the Arts, the theater company works with area directors and actors to provide theatrical experiences to the community. They will produce plays like “La Bete,” “The Sisters Rosensweig” and “The Diary of Anne Frank” during the 1997 season.

Private galleries and other theater groups also contribute to cultural enrichment in Piano. Organizations such as the Piano Photography Club, Piano Art Association, Piano Children’s Theater and Piano Metropolitan Ballet also play a pan in the arts scene in Piano.



RECREATION: Community planning has endowed Piano with plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors. A 28-mile system of trails throughout the city is available for hiking and biking. Visitors join Piano residents every September for the Piano Hot Air Balloon Festival, when the sky fills with vibrant colored balloons. A multi-purpose civic center serves as home-base for conventions, fairs, antique shows and galas. Municipal swimming pools; soccer, football, baseball and softball fields; tennis courts; golf courses; and 68 public parks dot the city with ample potential for outdoor fun. The Piano Parks and Recreation Department offers special classes on arts and crafts and self-defense.



EDUCATION: Piano boasts a nationally recognized school district, with SchoolMatch ranking the Piano Independent School District among the top 10 percent of the country’s school districts for the fifth straight year, The majority of high school seniors who graduate go on to pursue a college degree. One of the ways that the community gets involved in the school district is through mentoring programs. Almost 700 residents and businesses have teamed up with schools to make the program a success. A “zero-tolerance policy” against drugs and violence keeps school campuses safe and secure.

Another strategy used by the PISD to make its schools top-notch is the Practical Parent Education program. This allows parents to have access to the resources they need to help their children when problems arise. Classes, support groups and libraries are available to parents to assist them in dealing with issues like behavioral problems, adjustment dilemmas and learning hindrances in children. This facilitates parental involvement while ensuring that the children receive the attention and help that they need to succeed.

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GROWTH. Three entities in Piano work together to ensure that the economic goals set forth by the city are being pursued effectively. The Piano Chamber of Commerce, Piano Economic Development Board and the Small Business Development Center cooperate to maintain and promote area businesses, making sure that Piano is a prosperous haven for both big and small businesses. The quality of life in Piano, accompanied by the business-friendly atmosphere, has attracted companies such as ARCO Exploration, Columbia Medical Center of Piano, DSC Communications Corporation, EDS, JCPenney Company, Inc. and Texas Instruments. Companies located within the city provide residents with more than 80,000 jobs,

Measures also have been taken to retain property value within the city. The Comprehensive Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance arc strictly adhered to in order to keep a balance between business and residential growth. These forward-looking steps allow the city planners to monitor building and development, keeping the ratio between commercial and residential at an optimum level. This keeps property values stable, as well as maintains a relatively low tax rate.

Numerous townhouse and condominium developments have been built, and continue to be built, within the city. Modern conveniences, luxurious surroundings and a prestigious address are attractive incentives for newcomers to move into the city, And move they have, as Pianos population has been increasing at a rate near 8 percent annually. Piano’s population as of March 1997 was estimated at more than 18I.00O.



MEDICI!! FACILITIES: Medical facilities within the city are Columbia Medical Center of Piano, Presbyterian Hospital of Piano, Piano Specialty Hospital, Piano Rehabilitation Hospital, Charter Behavioral Health Systems and Seay Behavioral Health Center. This community provides the latest advances in the medical field with most medical specialties represented. The residents of Piano not only benefit from the health care that these facilities provide, but also from the thousands of jobs that are created within this industry.



GENERAL: City services in Piano are among the most comprehensive in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Curbside recycling, reliable water services, nationally recognized fire and police protection, and beautification programs contribute to the long list of services that are offered in Piano.

Civic pride is apparent throughout Piano. Beautification programs instituted over the years, like The Wonderful World of Wildflowers, have left their mark on the city, The first five acres of wildflowers were planted in 1991, and every year since, additional acres have been added. Keeping the flowers blooming from March through late summer requires diligence, but it also reduces the amount of land that needs to be mowed, which saves the city money. Places for the flowers are chosen by the site’s visibility to the public, citizen requests and mowing requirements. As of 1994, 90 acres of land in Piano were blooming with wildflowers. To catch a glimpse of the glorious array of colors, visit Spring Creek Parkway between Jupiter Road and Parker Road, Cottonwood Creek Greenbelt, Santa Fe Trail east of Jupiter, Bluebonnet Trail and Shawnee Park. Texas Bluebonnets, ox-eyed daisies, dames rocket and baby blue eyes are some of the wildflowers that will be blooming this summer.

The Historic Landmark Preservation Ordinance was adopted in Piano in 1979. The City Council realized even then that the rapid growth of the population and economy could not be allowed to overshadow the city’s historical past. In addition to 17 properties being designated as landmarks, current programs provide tax abatements for historical renovation. Buildings and houses in downtown that have been restored, like the Interurban Building and the Magnolia House, are popular spots on the historical walking tour of downtown Piano. Forty specialty shops, antique malls, galleries, craft stores and tearooms line the brick-paved streets and create a nostalgic feeling of appreciation for the city’s historical roots.

The flourishing environment in Piano encourages excellence. There are many facets of the city that are marked by this pursuit of excellence, like Piano’s economy, growth, school districts, cultural activities and medical facilities. These collective assets are what brings people to Piano, and what keeps them there for generations.

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