Saturday, January 15, 2005

Frisco (the REAL One) Highs and Lows

Today's Dallas Morning News brings us a story of the recent meeting between land-use consultants and the City of Frisco, Texas to discuss the use of several hundred acres of prime land within the city to potentially create a "grand park" that would encompass multiple uses, from recreation to housing developments, and would connect with the new Frisco Square development (or, as I call it, the "new downtown") and the historic Frisco downtown area.

First, a bit of background. Frisco was (and is) one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States -- between 1990 and 2000, the population went from just under 3,000 to over 50,000 people, and it is projected to hit 250,000 by 2020. It has perhaps the largest retail area in the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex, as well as the most land of any city in Collin County.

It's also been highly progressive in several respects. The city was the first in the country whose green building ordinance mandated that all houses built within its borders be Energy Star compliant, as well as instituting several other programs designed to increase recycling and reduce waste. The city has purchased seven Toyota Prius hybrids for its city fleet and is planning to replace as many gasoline-only models as possible with hybrids. The local glbt association, Frisco Pride, is heavily-involved in community affairs and is one of the most highly-regarded groups in the city.

Unfortunately, one of Frisco's other hallmarks -- public art in prominent places in public spaces -- took a horrible hit this week, when bronze statues (pictures here, here, and here) at Frisco's Central Park were defaced by two young punks, with the damage severe enough that restoration is required.

Let me phrase it this way.....Mayor Simpson and Sgt. McFarlin are, if anything, understating how PISSED people in and around Frisco are about this. That park is my favorite place to take friends on a nice warm evening, enjoy a nice Steak n' Shake chocolate malt, and show them the artwork, the beautiful care that went into landscaping the park, and how it all ties into Frisco's history as a trail and railroad stop.

My advice to those two kids is this....don't post bail. You're safer where you are now than you will be on the streets -- and despite my opposition to vigilantism and mob justice, I'm going to have a hell of a time convincing myself to step in and try to stop them.

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