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Submitted By efo1999
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Neighborhood Project Report
The Town of Addison is located in an area once called Peters Colony. It was settled as early as 1846 when Preston Witt built a house on White Rock Creek. The area was not known as Addison until 1902. Addison was named after Addison Robertson, who served as the community's second postmaster from 1908-1916. With more than 170 restaurants, there is a restaurant for every 79 Addison residents. Addison is a popular location for many Dallas-area restaurants. Addison has 22 hotels, featuring a total of at least 4,000 hotel rooms and meeting facilities. Addison Airport consumes roughly half of the city's 4.4 sq mi and is the third-largest general aviation airport in the nation. Major corporate headquarters in Addison include Dresser and Mary Kay Cosmetics. Other major employers in Addison include Bank of America. Other companies based in Addison include Jani-King and Palm Harbor Homes. Martinaire has its headquarters on the property of Addison Airport. Compuware has offices in Addison. At one time CompUSA and Pizza Hut had their headquarters in Addison, Now located in Plano. Addison is located in close proximity to the headquarters of HP Enterprise Services, JC Penney, and Frito Lay in Plano. From the readings it can be assumed that Addison became incorporated as a city during the white flight phenomenon. White flight began on a large scale after the Second World War, when African-Americans began to try to establish homes in America's cities. Many of these men and women were starting to enter the middle class themselves, with good jobs, education, and community values. In many cases, however, racism led whites to attempt to force blacks out. When this proved unsuccessful, the white population moved to the suburbs, establishing new and primarily racially homogeneous communities. Even though that is how Addison got its start, Addison has grown into a diverse suburb meeting the nation average for minority populations but still it remains predominantly white. My topic is Natural Environment and Public Spaces in the city of Addison. The question I’m answering is essentially where people gather in Addison. Addison has eleven parks, three trails, one recreation center, one dog park and of course Addison Circle. Addison has an overwhelmingly commercial atmosphere; residents of Addison enjoy a unique lifestyle not common in many other suburbs. During the day Addison’s population swells to over 100,000 while its actual population is only 13,056 according to the 2010 census. So what does this mean for the parks of Addison? Addison has 118 acres of parkland comprising four percent of the cities area, which is not too bad compared to Dallas where parkland comprises seven percent of the cities area. Addison’s first park was constructed in 1978 and by 1980 an aggressive beautification program was under way. On the Addison parks page it states, “In Addison, our favorite color is green. All shades of green ... and red ... and yellow ... and orange. We are passionate about landscaping!” Addison is very passionate about landscaping, entrances to the town and all commercial properties are all landscaped. This is Addison’s way of drawing in commercial business and keeping the city beautiful. Every winter, the Addison landscaping crew plants 75,000 tulip bulbs. The bulbs come straight from Holland, world famous for tulips. Every spring, the Town of Addison is one of the most beautiful gardens in the entire Metroplex. Addison continues its city beautification project unlike Dallas that just recently started updating its parks. To focus on a few major green spaces, I will focus on the Kessler Park in Oak Cliff, Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Lakeside Park in Highland Park, North Hampton Park in West Dallas, and various green spaces in Addison. Kessler Park was named after George Kessler, a German American city planner and landscape architect. Over the course of his forty plus year career, Kessler completed over 200 projects. His most well known project in these parts is his Kessler Plan. Kessler had a vision for Dallas, he designed Fair Park but his biggest contribution was the Kessler Plan. Created in 1912 the Kessler Plan called for controlling the Trinity River which flooded frequently, fixing narrow, crooked downtown streets, fixing the railroad system that Dallas had paid a pretty penny for, and construction of a central expressway. At the time his plans were deemed impractical but years later the vision that Kessler had needed to happen. Kessler returned in 1918 to act as consulting engineer for the Dallas Property Owners' Association and in 1919 began working for the Metropolitan Development Association of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. He remained in Dallas until January 3, 1922, the Trinity River was improved and the levee system was completed in the 1930s. The Central Expressway was first opened to traffic in 1950, decades after the Kessler Plan called for its construction. Addison unlike Dallas did not have the luxury of a George Kessler but seeing that Addison was incorporated much later it did learn from Dallas and its surrounding cities. Addison is bordered by Farmers Branch and Carrollton which are self proclaimed “Tree Cities”. There are four standards to become a Tree City USA community. Those include having a department to oversee the care of trees, a tree-care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. Being so close to Tree cities is was only natural to follow suite and provide its residents with green spaces. A comparable park to the Kessler Park is the Celestial Park in Addison. Like the Kessler Park which is a quiet neighborhood park that one can sit and enjoy their natural surroundings the Celestial Park features trails and poetry engraved into the steps of the park. Kessler once said, “Planning must be relevant to a particular city; its geography, its economic character, all its local peculiarities….its object is to make cities decent places for masses of people to live Cities grow mostly by accident…but there comes a time when development must be subject to control…such that urbanization will no longer proceed at the expense of devastating nature.” Addison heeded Kessler’s advice and planned for their green spaces, unlike West Dallas. If you go to the Dallas parks and recreation website and search for parks in west Dallas only three appear. Of those one is a man made fishing reservoir and the other two are open fields. West Dallas did not get the Kessler memo apparently, but this cannot be entirely blamed on West Dallas. West Dallas has traditionally been one of the poorer areas of the city of Dallas, poor whites and minorities usually settled in West Dallas. Normally where the poor are there is under representation, no civic leaders, no visionaries to push for change from the normal pattern of urban sprawl. It can be said that what West Dallas lacks in parks and green spaces it makes up with riverfront views and land, there has been talk to transform this area to a premier green space for the city of Dallas. The problem is most residents of West Dallas will not find this space useful, even though West Dallas has the least amount of green space I feel that West Dallas used their space the most efficiently. The residents of West Dallas, mostly Hispanic, use the open fields to play soccer. Building amphitheaters and other structures in these open fields will make the green space almost useless to the residents that currently use it. What West Dallas lacks in flash it makes up with substance, visiting North Hampton Park any given weekend you will a park filled with people and noise. You will see the true definition of a park. On the other extreme there is Highland Park parks, there are six parks in Highland Park the biggest being Lakeside Park. Highland Park says that Lakeside Park sits on 14 acres; this may be a bit of stretch seeing that Lakeside Park is surrounded by multiple mansions that share the same land so the actual park may be smaller. Visiting Lakeside Park you notice one thing, the lack of people. You may see the occasional nanny with a child or a couple enjoying an afternoon tennis match but other than that the park lacks the same intensity of a North Hampton Park. The question was asked why these parks are so empty, I think with every home sitting on multiple acres of land Highland Park residents each enjoy their own parks in their own backyards. Which most of the time have amenities that actual parks have, like tennis courts and water features. With each house being its own “park” the need for public parks it’s as great as Addison where the houses have zero-lot lines meaning that Addison residents have little to no backyards. Dallas improved its green space by joining Uptown and Downtown with the Kylde Warren Park that spans over the top of Woodall Rogers Freeway. Kylde Warren Park is an example of the Dallas Way, a team of Dallas leaders had a clear vision. Klyde Warren Park creates green space “out of thin air” that connects the vibrant Uptown neighborhood with the Dallas Arts District and downtown. The increased pedestrian connectivity and natural landscape heals the urban fabric of the city. The park is envisioned as a catalyst for the ongoing transformation of downtown Dallas by bringing quality of life, foot traffic to the area and increasing demand for surrounding properties. Leaders envision a place where people can build new traditions, share experiences and have fun in the center of Dallas. Public parks strengthen our communities and benefit our health, environment, quality of life, and economy. These are benefits that Dallas will enjoy for generations to come. The concept of building a deck park may have originated back in the 1960’s when then Mayor Erik Jonsson decided to build the freeway below ground, this left the opportunity open for the future social and of course economic benefits a park could bring. Addison had the same idea but did not have to span a highway to achieve the same results of an urban hub that draws people and businesses to the city center.
Addison Circle is just that but better. Addison Circle was constructed in 2000 long before the Kylde Warren Park. Was the idea of business leaders and Council Members lead by former Mayor D. Lynn Spruill, this could be considered the Addison Way. The civic leaders knew that it had to keep people coming to Addison that they had to make it a special place and differentiate Addison from the surrounding suburbs. Ron Whitehead and the Development Services staff saw the opportunity to build a "special place" on 74 acres of raw land adjoining the Addison Conference and Theatre Centre. The tract is bordered by the Dallas Tollway on the east and Quorum Drive on the west. The land was owned by Gaylord Properties and was zoned in the 1980's for 13.5 million square feet of office space. Whitehead and the staff believed that the tract had the potential to be a new urban downtown for Addison. A place where people could live, work, shop, and dine, all within a rich and varied urban environment. Over the next two years, Addison's city staff worked diligently with Columbus, which was acquired by Post Properties in 1998, to develop a unique code of ordinances that would govern the new community. All aspects of design, from the width and brick for the sidewalks, to the facades on the parking garages, were detailed in the development guidelines for this new community. Since the model for this multi-use district was fashioned after European communities, as well as Boston's Back Bay and Chicago's Lincoln Park. Addison circle was a well planed urban hub before Dallas made urban hubs popular again. Addison Circle has brought more than just a green space to Addison it has brought along business and developments, the same goals the visionaries of Kylde Warren Park want. It is estimated that Addison Circle brings over 750,000 people to Addison and millions of dollars in revenue. Addison says in there parks page that green is the city’s favorite color and I agree, but I don’t think Addison is talking about the foliage. Addison is after your money. I spoke with Slade Strickland, the director of the parks department and I asked him, “Did he feel Addison has done a good job being a usual suburb, differentiating themselves from their neighboring cities like Farmers Branch and Carrollton?” His response was, “I feel Addison has done a great job fulfilling their goal. I also feel Addison is different from a Carrollton or a Farmers Branch we cherish that, but we don’t want to be too different that people are afraid of enjoying our city.” He also added a little bit later that now Addison is going green again. Through drip irrigation systems and the use of native drought resistant plants. Addison is saving precious resources. Now Addison is a Green, Green city continually improving the natural environment for the city’s residents. When it comes to green spaces I feel that Dallas and Addison have invested the most. Highland Park has nice green spaces but are never used, West Dallas has few green spaces but are always used, and Oak Cliff had a good starting point with the Kessler Plan. Where do these cities go from here? Highland Park I feel has reached its pinnacle for green spaces and with the lack of need there is no need for new parks. West Dallas has the most room for growth, with gentrification soon heading their way changes could soon take place but only after a battle with the residents. Addison and Dallas I feel are in the same position and could both improve their green spaces with what I call niche parks, small green spaces that are easy to maintain. Addison already has a number of these parks, like Spruill Park and White Rock Creek Park; Dallas could do the same, especially in downtown where it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the towering buildings. Where else do people gather outdoors in Addison? After Addison Circle and the various parks the next stop is the country club. When a city is as focused on business as Addison is country clubs are a necessity to close business deals. Addison does so much business that the city contains two country clubs, Bent Tree Country Club and Preston Wood Country Club. Both play a role in drawing not only businesses but residents to Addison. Addison never had the problems that the Dallas Country Club had of allowing Jews because of the time frame which the country clubs were used. It can be seen that Addison has learned from its neighboring cities and the results are clear. Addison prepared and carried out an urban center that has multiple uses, Addison has 14 parks and 4 trails and a dog park all easily assessable for all residents. Business may be the business of most American cities but Addison combined business and leisure making Addison the usual suburb. Like Kessler said, “There is not a single thing in this city that you cannot do if you make up your mind that you need it and will have it.” Addison made up its mind and is enjoying the benefits.

Works Citied

Eads, Andrew. Addison, Texas: a pictorial history. Virginia: Donnong Co. Publishers, 2001. Print. This text provides a pictorial history of Addison, from its beings as the Peter’s Colony, till now when Addison is a commercial hub. Eads lays out a chronological history of Addison through pictures. The work will be useful in providing me with an overview history of Addison and its growth over the years.
Hazel, Michael. Dallas: A History of “Big D”. Austin: Texas State Historical Assn., 1997. Print. This text provided a brief background history of Dallas and the surrounding suburbs. Hazel explores a half century controlled by an elite group of business and the role of ethnic groups. Information based on pioneer letters and recent research, useful for drawing conclusions on the city of Addison’s past and future.
City of Addison. Town of Addison Budget Book. Addison, 2012. Print. This text demonstrates the budget for the Town of Addison for the fiscal year 2012 - 2013. The text mentions the mission statement of the parks department, “To preserve and enhance Addison’s quantity of life through the landscaping and park amenities in the community’s public spaces.”

Parks Department Town of Addison. Addison 2012. Website The website told an account of the Parks and Public Works of the City of Addison. The website further told of the commitment Addison has to its environment and that of the surrounding cities.…...

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