Celebrate the City… PLANO

Mixed in with the hustle and bustle of a thriving city are lush-parks, sparkling lakes, and winding hike and bike trails that offer a peaceful retreat on a lazy Sunday afternoon. So whether you enjoy fishing on a nearby lake or taking in all of the conveniences of the city, we invite you to Celebrate the City... PLANO

From excellent education opportunities and health care services, to a major business presence and fine dining and shopping, Piano has it all. Even though Piano’s population is booming, residents still feel part of a tight-knit community. Mixed in with the hustle and bustle of a I thriving city are lush parks, sparkling lakes, and winding hike and bike trails that offer a peaceful retreat on a lazy Sunday afternoon. So whether you enjoy fishing at a nearby lake or taking in all of the conveniences of the city,

Piano invites you to discover everything it offers.

Henry Gentry only had one reason for moving to Piano from Philadelphia six years ago: growth. He knew he want-ed to start a business and heard about how fast Piano was growing. After visiting Piano, he thought it was the perfect place to open an old-fashioned ice cream store. A strong family atmosphere, an explosive population, and a booming economy made Piano his first choice to live and open his downtown business, Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream.

Jerry Kezhaya felt the same way when he moved to Piano from Michigan almost 20 years ago to open his business, The Auto Shop. “I visited all of the top 10 places in the nation to open an auto repair store and decided to come here,” Kezhaya says. “It was a boom town.”

Boom town is the best way to describe Piano. With 14,900 residents having moved to Piano just last year-an average of more than 1,200 a month-the city has experienced tremendous growth and success. Now home to more than 220,000 residents and 6.000 businesses, Piano has evolved from a sleepy little bedroom community into a thriving city. Ranked as the nation’s fifth fastest-growing city and given one of 10 national “All America City” designations in 1994, Piano is becoming a top choice for residence, business, employment, education, and health care as well as shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Smaller businesses, such as Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream and The Auto Shop. are making their mark in Piano, but it’s the large national companies that move their national headquarters to Piano who have created more than 80,000 jobs in the city. Fifty major employers, including EDS, JCPenney. Frito Lay Inc., Alcaltel, PageNet. Cinemark USA, Sterling Software, and Dr Pepper/7-Up Inc., call Piano home.

“The great thing about Piano is that as we grow, we grow well,” says John Longstreet, Mayor of the City of Piano. “I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg as far as the success of Piano is concerned.”

From health care, education, and business to dining, shopping, and recreation, Piano is at the forefront of it all. To best celebrate the city, it is important to understand where Piano came from and where it is headed.

Plano’s Early Years

Piano was founded in 1846, when William Forman came to Collin County looking-not unlike many people today-for a place to establish a home and business. Once his family began a busy saw and grist mill. Piano was bom. Trie name Piano comes from (he city’s first medical practitioner, Dr. Henry Dye. He mistakenly thought Piano was the Spanish word for plain, which described the city’s stretching, prairie-like land. The name ’Piano’ caught on, becoming the city’s official name in 1851.

It seems Piano has always been synonymous with rapid growth. In the late 1800s, churches, schools, and businesses were continually established, and The Houston and Texas Central Railroad arrived in 1872, which led to the city’s own rail depot. With the completion of Centra] Expressway in 1957, Piano began to grow even more. In the ’60s, several high-tech firms began to impact Piano’s economy, and in the ’70s, luxury subdivisions were being built to house all of the new residents who came to Piano for the excellent business opportunités. Today, major highways such as the Tollway, Highway 121, Central Expressway, and the new Highway 190 keep residents and visitors moving throughout the city.


From creative day care centers and public schools to private schools and higher education. Piano residents always list education as a top priority in their city.

“One reason people choose Piano as their home is because of our schools,” Longstreet says. “So many factors are considered when choosing a place to live, and for families, one of the first is schools. Piano 1SD has a tremendous reputation. People realize that when you have great schools, your property value will be protected.”

Currently celebrating its 100″1 year in education, the Piano Independent School District boasts 35 elementary schools and 17 secondary schools, which have received national recognition in many areas. PISD is particularly proud of its students’ test scores, which remain among the highest of the 50 largest school districts in Texas on state-mandated tests in math, reading, writing, and social studies.

Students can take advantage of several opportunités, including Academic Decathlon, Odyssey of the Mind, Invent America!, career education contests, Gifted and Talented, Special Olympics, science fairs, University Interscholastic League, sports, and literary and fine arts contests, among others.

Numerous top-notch private schools in Piano also serve the preschool and elementary grades, and a new parochial high school is under development in Piano that will serve the North Dallas area. The city also boasts several excellent day care centers, such as Legacy’s TLC, which is convenient for Legacy employees with children.

Piano is also home to many higher education institutions. With an enrollment of about 9,000. The University of Texas at Dallas offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate degree programs.

Two of the four campuses of Collin County Community College lie within Piano’s city limits. CCCC has an enrollment of about 11,000 and offers 60 associate degree programs, 16 vocational/technical certificate programs, and six special certificate programs.

Other higher education opportunities in Piano include Southern Methodist University in Legacy, Dallas Baptist University, and the University of Dallas Graduate School of Management.

Health Care

As Piano grows, so does its health care services. Two full-service hospitals, one rehabilitative care hospital, two psychiatric/chemical dependency treatment centers, a back institute, a regional cancer center, and five nursing homes compromise only a portion of the city’s health care services.

In 1998, Medical Center of Piano was named one of the top 100 hospitals in (he nation by a Baltimore-based health care information company HCIA and by William M. Mercer, a New York-based human resources management consulting firm. Medical Center of Piano is a 53-acre campus that includes the primary hospital, medical buildings, outpatient surgery center, and a comprehensive cancer treatment center.

A licensed 300-bed hospital with more than 800 physicians on staff. Medical Center of Piano’s services include an emergency trauma center, complete maternal and and child health care services, a neo-natal intensive care unit, comprehensive cardiovascular services, a radiology/imaging center, and the Center for Lifestyle Enhancement, which offers wellness and patient education programs.

Presbyterian Hospital of Piano is the city’s 175-bed non-profit community hospital. Voted “Best Hospital” and “Best Emergency Room” in Collin County by the Piano Star Courier Reader’s Choice Awards in 1996, Presbyterian Hospital of Piano serves the health care needs of families in North Dallas as well as Denton and Collin counties. In addition to the hospital, the 50-acre campus also houses an outpatient surgery center, the Texas Back Institute, the Wound Care Center, and the Texas Center for Joint Replacement.

Some of Presbyterian’s services include women’s and children’s, rehabilitative, inpa-tient/outpatient surgical, sports medicine and orthopedic, emergency, diagnostic, pain management, reproductive technology, and a specialized cardiac suite.

Other specialty hospitals in Piano include the HealthSouth Piano Rehabilitation Hospital, Charter Behavioral Health Systems of Dallas, the Seay Behavioral Health Center, and the Piano Specialty Hospital.

Since 1991, Piano has been home to Piano Children’s Medical Clinic, which serves patients from low-income families who have no medical insurance. Run by volunteers, the clinic’s help comes from local businesses, service organizations, school groups, and individuals who provide materials, medical and office supplies, furniture, medical equipment, and funding. Clinic services include well-baby care, immunizations, care for sick children, and free medicine and lab work.

Shopping and Dining

Almost all of the Dallas area is known for its great shopping and dining opportunities, and Piano is no exception. Collin Creek Mall, which features 160 specialty stores, is a favorite shopping choice, as is Preston Park Village, which houses several upper-end retail stores including Talbots, Banana Republic, Williams-Sonoma, and Ann Taylor, among others.

Piano can look forward to a new mall. The Shops at Willow Bend, which will open in 2001. Neiman Marcus. Saks Fifth Avenue. Lord & Taylor, Foley’s, and Dillard’s will call this mall home, as will some 150 specialty stores. The Shops at Willow Bend will be located at the northwest comer of West Park and the Tollway.

With more than 600 restaurants from which to choose. Piano residents never have to leave their own city to dine out. Several of Dallas’ most popular restaurants have opened second locations in Piano, due to sheer demand. Piano is a favorite spot for restaurant owners. Anwar Madni. owner of Piano’s Juan’s Hacienda and Richardson’s Juan’s Cantina, says much of the success of his businesses can be credited to his loyal North Dallas customers.

“Piano has a terrific clientele.” Madni says. “They are very courteous customers. I tremendously enjoy owning a restaurant in Piano. I meet good people every day.”

Arts and Entertainment

With the increasing opportunity for arts and entertainment in Piano, residents won’t need to travel past the city limits in search of something to do or see.

“More than 20 arts organizations exist in Piano now,” says Jim Wear, executive director of the ArtCentre in Piano. “So much creativity is located in just a radius of three or four blocks.”

Wear is refering to Piano’s downtown area, which includes the ArtCentre of Piano, the gazebo at Haggard Park for outdoor summer concerts, and the various art and music exhibits and fairs mat take place each year. ArtCentre features three exhibition galleries, which provide a venue for area artists and traveling exhibits year-round.

ArtCentre also houses a renovated 160-seai theater for programs from the Piano Repertory Theatre, the Piano Children’s Theatre, The Dance Consortium, the Piano Metropolitan Ballet, the Piano Chamber Orchestra, the Piano Community Band, the Town North Men of Note, the Rich-Tones, and the Younger Generation. Piano can also look forward to the construction a new performing arts hall, which will include a 1,500-seat auditorium.

Plano is also the place for action-packed entertainment. Roller skating rinks, a bowling alley, miniature golf courses, bumper boats, go-carts, and movies are just a few of the attractions. Piano attracts visitors from around the area to its Tinseltown movie theater, which is the largest multi-screen complex in North Texas. In fact, Cinemark USA, which owns Tinseltown, moved its world headquarters to Piano in December and plans to open another large theater this summer at Legacy Dr. and Central Expwy.

Those who crave a break from modern-day entertainment can step back in time at Piano’s Heritage Farmstead, a restored 1890s farm that offers a glimpse of early Piano farm life. Other Piano historical attractions include the Interurban Railway Station Museum at Haggard Park, Fairview Farms, and the JCPenney Museum.

Neighborhoods and Recreation

The city isn’t short on affordable-yet beautiful–neighborhoods and housing. Whether you’re interested in a historic Victorian home in the tree-lined East Piano or a new custom home in a luxurious gated community. Piano has it. Home prices range from the $80s to more than SI million, with the median cost of a home at about $153,200. Numerous townhomes and condominiums are also situated throughout the city. Community-oriented neighborhoods and a strong family atmosphere are major attractions to Piano, says Piano City Manager. Thomas Muehlenbeck.

“Piano is a community that puts a very high value on education, family, and family values,” he says. “A certain quality of life is apparent here, and I think people sense that when they visit.”

In an effort to foster a community atmosphere, most Piano neighborhoods were built around a neighborhood park and school.

“The one thing that everyone identifies Piano with is families, excellent schools, and beautiful parks,” says Frank Turner, executive director of the Business Development Center. “This is a community that is concerned with the rearing of children and family activities, so almost every neighborhood has a beautiful park that is perfect for strolling with the family, fishing, or walking the dog. I don’t think you’ll find such recreation opportunities anywhere else in the Metroplex.”

Piano is especially proud of its award-winning parks and recreation system which includes 33,000 acres of park land and an abundance of hike and bike trails. The 30-mile stretch cuts through a number of areas, creating a seamless fabric of residential neighborhoods, schools, recreational facilities, shopping centers, and nature.


One of the primary reasons for Piano’s rapid growth is the large number of major corporations that continue to move to the city. Legacy, a master-planned business community in Piano, houses major corporations and employs more than 32,000 people. Among these companies are EDS, JCPenney, Countrywide Home Loans, Frito-Lay Company, Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc., Fina Inc., Southwestern Legal Foundation, PageNet, Wellness International, Sterling Software, Denbury Resources, and Omnicom Group Inc.

Legacy’s presence extends far beyond its physical boundaries. Legacy employees are involved in charitable activities throughout Piano and the Dallas area. Legacy Community Partners is a volunteer organization that participates in service projects, such as community litter cleanups, several times a year. Projects such as these, as well as Legacy’s business dominance, have earned Legacy a strong national reputation.

“Legacy is now recognized nationally as one of the country’s top business communities,” says Marilyn Kasko, director of Legacy.

The strong presence of these companies is a plus for Piano as they attract both residents and more business.

“Naturally, people like to live near their work, and with so many people moving to Piano because of jobs, they choose Piano as their home,” Longstreet says. “Also, having these businesses here begets more business-Others will think that if Piano is good for JCPenney and EDS. then this should be a place we look at, too.”

One local family-owned business that feels Piano is a premier location for business is Weir’s Furniture Village. Always located in downtown Dallas, die store has been in business there for 51 years. However, a second location will open this fall off of Preston Rd. in Piano.

“We see this as a great opportunity to serve North Dallas,” says Dan Weir of Weir’s Furniture Village. “This is going to be quite a change for our customers and our family, but it is an exciting change.”

Smaller businesses, such as Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream and The Auto Shop, have also found Piano to be a great place to be in business. Henry Gentry likes that he can take a few liberties with his store because his is a small business and Piano is so supportive of his ideas. He names his ice cream flavors after Piano-“Piano Vanilla” and “Piano Passion” to name a few-and he supports the local Girl Scouts by buying cases of cookies from them to make the store’s signature flavor, “Girl Scout Mint.” He also hosts fun promotional events such as pajama party days where customers who come in wearing their pajamas receive a free pint of ice cream.

Jerry Kezhaya’s loyalty to Piano runs far beyond a commitment to his customers at The Auto Shop. After moving here, Kezhaya liked Piano so much that he became extensively involved in the community. He serves on the board or committee of more than five civic or school organizations and continually stays involved with city politics and projects.

“Piano is such an open community,” Kezhaya says. “If you want to be involved in anything-whether you are a businessman or not-all you have to do is ask. The great thing about being in business here is that when people in Piano find a business they like, they support it by passing it on.”

One Piano business that has succeeded due to sheer loyalty is A.R. Schell and Son Agency in downtown Piano. In operation since the early 1900s, the insurance agency has had the unique opportunity to witness the phenomenal growth in Piano for almost a century and has kepi up with !he pace every step of the way.

“The changes have been fun to watch,” says Jamie Schell, co-owner of the agency. “Piano has come a long way from being a small bedroom community to a city with a major workforce and business presence.”

Downtown Piano

Despite Piano’s strong community feel, not everyone is aware of a tiny historic jewel located in the heart of the city. Piano’s downtown area is actually a thriving business community, featuring brick-paved streets with many restored buildings housing more than 40 specialty shops, antique malls, galleries, craft shops, and tearooms. Surrounding the area are a host of beautiful historic homes that can be toured or viewed on a short walking tour.

“Downtown was Piano’s bustling city in the 1800s when it was a farmland and railroad community,” says Kate Singleton, downtown and neighborhood development consultant with the City of Piano. “Downtown has a great mix of people and really does have a lot of exciting things going on.”

Singleton says she has enjoyed watching downtown Piano blossom in the past three years. Part of this expansion is due to Amicus Partners, a partnership between Roger Staubach and Robert Shaw, who are heading revitalization efforts in downtown Piano. A full block in downtown will soon become a mixed-use project including lofts for live/work space, small offices, and retail stores. Another future downtown development is the DART Rail Line, coming through downtown Piano in 2003.

“Hopefully, these projects will help prove that Piano is a true city,” Singleton says. “It has a downtown, a sense of community, and its own identity that Piano-as well as the surrounding areas-should recognize.”

Piano residents enjoy spending time in the city’s many award-winning parks that offer miles hike and bike trails.

Piano was once a sprawling farming community. Today, it houses major corporations and excellent schools, such as Piano East Senior High School.


“I’ve lived in Piano for 18 years, and all four of my children graduated from Piano Senior High School. I feel they were well-prepared for adulthood and college because of the experiences they had in Piano. I can’t imagine a better place to live and raise a family.”

– Marilyn Kasko,

Piano resident and

Director of Legacy

“Plano has such a diverse peo-ple living here, which makes it such a great community and a nice place to live and work.”

– Tim Bliss,

Owner, Shooters

Photography, Plano

“I think the family atmosphere and the excellent education system is what attract people to Piano. The key here is partnership. Everybody works with everybody to make Piano a great place to live and do business.”

– Ron Harris,

Collin County Judge

“The people I A have met in Piano have been very gracious and very hospitable. I know Piano is a rather large city, but it reminds me somewhat of a smaller community with great community spirit and involvement.”

-David Stephens,

Owner, Millinneum Motor Cars, Plano


■ Recognition by the Texas Education Agency as one of eight state districts with students who demonstrate mastery of higher-level cognitive skills

■ Recognition (twice) by Expansion Management Magazine as one of the top school districts in the nati

■ Piano East Senior High School was selected as an outstanding school by Redbook Magazine in its 1993-94 and 1995-96″America’s Best Schools” project

■ PISD was selected by SchoolMatch, a national educational research firm, as a 1998 Seventh Annual Award-Winning System for a “What Parents Want” survey

■ PISD’s average test scores on the SAT are well above state and national averag

■ 19 Piano schools named Blue Ribbon schools by the U.S. Department of Educati

Medical Center of Piano boasts an 18-bed, state-of-the-art neonatal intensive care unit.


●Named U.S.’s “10th Safest Cit

●Best city in U.S. for starting and growing a home-based busine

●Fourth “Most Kid-Friendly City” in U.

●Three-time winner, National Gold Medal for Excellence in Parks and Recreati

●Named one of “Best Places in Metroplex” to li

●Named one of “50 Fabulous Places to Raise a Famil

●Nationally accredited police departme

●One of the lowest crime rates for Texas cities over 100,0

●One of 29 fire departments in U.S. with Class I ISO rati

●Named 1994 “All-America Cit

Piano offers only the latest in health care services. Presbyterian Hospital of Piano is particularly proud of its pediatric serices. It isn’t uncommon to seethe staff take breaks to play with young patients.

Piano’s Preston Park Village offers shoppers a variety of upscale shopping choices.

Piano’s Heritage Farmstead (right) offers a glimpse of early Piano life. The ArtCentre of Piano features artwork from local, national, and international artists such as the piece below by Dallas artist Mike Hill.

The Southwestern Bell Piano Balloon Festival drew 300,000 spectators last year. This favorite Piano event is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall. The festival is slated for Sept 17-19 at Oak Point Park in Piano.



While Piano continues to grow, the responsibility to adequately keep up with the progress and ensure continued-yet organized-growth is left in the hands of the city government. So that street, police, fire, and water services are kept well-planned and accessible for Piano residents, keeping a watch on the growth is a full-time job for city officials. Piano Mayor John Longstreet says the city’s biggest job is to make sure that as the growth occurs, it goes well. Another task at hand is to continue to improve existing aspects of Piano, such as downtown, neighborhoods, and streets and highways, to eliminate deterioration.

“I think one of the greatest things about Piano is its elected body,” says Piano City Manager, Thomas Muehlenbeck. “They are very responsive to the citizens’ needs and requests. I think everyone understands what needs to be done and looks forward to working together. Very soon we will have to shift our focus from growth to how to maintain what we have and improve it, and that’s not a bad job to have.”



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Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream is open daily at It a.m. We manufacture our own ice cream daily. Stop in tor a free sample!


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