Friday, January 28, 2011

My Dog Murphy


I know that this has nothing to do with the Dallas-Fort Worth, but I put this video together just for fun and I thought I would post it. 



Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Ruins of the Metroplex - Super Bowl Edition



   I decided to take a drive around Cowboys Stadium this morning and see the preparations for the upcoming Super Bowl. Some say the facility resembles a futuristic spaceship that landed in the middle of Arlington. A space age building that replaced an aging suburban neighborhood.

  I took a few moments to appraise the other development that has sprung up in the area since the ribbon was cut at the stadium. To be frank, more has closed than has opened. Other than a new wing restaurant in an old strip center, I can't see anything new that has opened since the Cowboys moved to Arlington.

   Instead of sparking development, one could easily argue that the exact opposite has happened. A drive along Division Street just south of the Stadium is a stark reminder that the millions of people who stream into Cowboys Stadium aren't sticking around long after the games. An abandoned Putt Putt, deserted businesses, seedy motels and vacant lots tell a sad story. If these properties weren't redeveloped in time for the world's biggest sporting event, they probably have a very grim future.

  Nothing illustrates this point as well as the Eastern Star Home. The once majestic facility which was built in the country in 1924, now sits in the shadow of the stadium. The 30 acre property, which was once home to widows and retirees in the female masonic-like order, is empty behind chain link and barbed wire at the end of a crumbling driveway.
The home in its heyday and how it looks today. 
   

   At one time, investors envisioned redeveloping the home into a hotel and conference center. But as I said before, if it hasn't happened by Super Bowl Sunday, will it ever happen?
    The Eastern Star Home, which is on Preservation Texas' Most Endangered Building List, serves a sobering lesson on the promise of redevelopment that is promised with new stadiums. Though one could argue that the Super Bowl would have never come to Arlington with out Cowboys Stadium, a drive around the area adds another chapter to the story.



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fort Worth's Forgotten Park

Note: This Story was originally published in 2011. This past week, the Fort Worth announced that they are taking bids to restore and reopen the park, Hopefully by 2016.


   Can you have a city park designed by a prominent landscape architect and have nobody notice when it closes?  The answer is yes, which is easy to understand when you consider that few people have ever noticed that the park even existed. What makes this story so unbelievable is that the park is on a busy downtown corner across the street from the Tarrant County Courthouse.



   Heritage Park was opened on the corner of Belknap and Main in downtown Fort Worth to commemorate the founding of the original military post in 1849. The park, designed by noted architect Lawrence Halprin, opened in 1976. It featured numerous water features intermingled with shaded paths and a cantilevered walkway built over the bluff overlooking the Trinity River.

  But even though the park was located on a busy intersection, it was one with little foot traffic. Few people noticed Heritage Park. And even fewer noticed in 2007 when the park fell into disrepair and was closed.


   It's been three years since the park has closed. But there is little public uproar to reopen the grounds. I contacted the city of Fort Worth and received a reply from Fernando Costa, the Assistant City Manager.  He wrote that the city is working with Downtown Fort Worth Inc. to raise funds to repair and upgrade the park. But in the past three years, little has been done. Meanwhile, the park is slowly being taking over by nature.

The cantilevered walkway can still be seen on the bluff above the Trinity, even though the trees  have begun to block the view. 

The Water Wall behind chain link.

An ironic caption 'The Vision Endures" on the sign outside the park

A Water Wall that includes the map of the original settlement sits behind chain link.

An urban oasis on the other side of the fence.

A diminished view of the park from the Main Street Street Bridge.


Heritage Park on North Main Street at the top of the Trinity River Bridge
Click Here for Directions

Sunday, January 9, 2011

An Update - Fort Worth Finds a Waterfall

  
    Last year I wrote about the city of Fort Worth finding a waterfall on a piece of land it was given from the old Carswell Air Force Base. The fact that this waterfall existed and nobody in the city knew about it, is itself quite a story.

  As you may remember, the city built a trail complete with bridges to the site. Unfortunately, finding the trailhead proved to be a bit of a challenge. There was no sign marking the trail and no parking lot either. Though I gave directions to the unmarked trail, it was still a difficult to find. The city promised to finish the trailhead by the summer of 2010

   Recently I visited the waterfall to see the finished area. I was disappointed to find that little has changed. This temporary sign does mark the site but the parking lot has yet to be constructed.

  
   Still, it's worth a visit to this recently discovered natural wonder. It's a short 5 minute walk from the proposed parking area and the trail continues on and connects to the Trinity Trails.  It's been a rather dry winter and the falls and somewhat low, but it's still a spectacular find for the people of Fort Worth.


Directions to the Fort Worth Waterfall trailhead, just outside the main gate to Carswell JRB Naval Air Station.

Read to original post, on how the city discovered this waterfall.