It’s a bit long, 1 hour and 20 minutes to be exact, but this is the video you have all been waiting for. Full disclosure: it was provided by the Foundation for Community Empowerment, founded by Don Williams.

A week ago last Saturday morning, a lively panel discussion about the Fair Park proposal took place at Paul Quinn College. It was sponsored by the African American Leadership Institute and put together by state senator Royce West.

At the podium were Mayor Rawlings, Walt Humann, Don Williams, Royce West, John Wiley Price and Michael Phillips (author of White Metropolis).

Michael Phillips (who you see, above) was the first speaker, and he immediately launched into his concerns over the lack of public input, the lack of public communication, and his fears that the real estate around Fair park could become the latest victim of what he calls “domestic colonization.” I think a lot of people worry about that.

“I’m concerned by the fact that this valuable piece of Dallas real estate would be governed by a board that could meet without any public record. It’s a private corporation, right? A private foundation,” he said. Great points. Then he said this:

What’s really going on with “gentrification” is domestic colonization. And when you have a colonial relationship, that is designed to be unequal. That is not equal. You have an imperial power that extracts wealth out of a colony. That’s land, products and low wage labor, and that’s what goes on with gentrification. And then the colonial power then sells products at a grossly inflated rate and rips off the people who live in the colony. That’s what going on with gentrification. I want to make this clear.

I see Phillips’ point, particularly because of the history of this neighborhood, which is terrible. But it was really terrible in a lot of places in the world in the early part of the 20th century, NOT just in Fair Park. And it seems to me that “domestic colonization” has been going on around Fair Park for a long time. Few residents own their own homes, most are tenants. A cursory search on MLS shows few homes even for sale in this area.

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Which is why I think there is still a fighting chance for the people of this neighborhood with the right plan, a neighborhood park, and some help with home ownership. (more…)

Fair Park Ferris Wheel SM

Turning Fair Park over to a private nonprofit could be good for Dallas, if it is held accountable, Jon says.

[Editor’s Note: We’re hosting a robust conversation about the future of Fair Park here on CandysDirt.com ahead of the 8:30 a.m., Aug. 4 City of Dallas Park Board meeting that could help decide the iconic landmark’s fate. Earlier we had a post from Amanda Popken covering the Monday meeting at the Hall of State. Below, Jon Anderson puts the plan itself in his sights and shows why Mayor Mike Rawlings and Walt Humann are in a hurry to pass the Fair Park Texas Foundation 20-year contract. We join our brethren from D Magazine, Dallas Morning News, WFAA and Observer in voicing concern and skepticism.]

The City of Dallas is set to become Fair Park’s and the State Fair of Texas’ Sugar Daddy if Mayor Rawlings and Walt Humann have their way.  On Thursday, the Parks and Recreation Board is set to vote on the Humann plan for Fair Park, after five silenced board members walked out of the last meeting after Parks Board President Max Well sought to limit discussion on the plan, leaving the meeting without a quorum.  Those were five brave, and I think correct, souls.

To back up a few days, there was a flurry of activity on Monday.  First, Mayor Rawlings had a press conference to whine about a meeting later that day titled, “Our Fair Park: A Conversation About a Dallas Treasure” to which neither he nor District 7 representative Tiffinni Young were invited.  While not being invited to the stage, they certainly weren’t precluded from attending the meeting, which by all accounts they didn’t.

The meeting was a place to yet again voice concerns that have been unanswered by Humann and Rawlings.

The issue for opponents isn’t the setting up of a public-private partnership for the stewardship of Fair Park.  The issue is the shroud this plan has operated under and the fear that the management contract with the city has loosey-goosey language and blank timetables that enshrines continued opaqueness for the next 20 years (the term of the contract).

For example, requirements for public meetings and open records are apparently not in the most recently distributed management agreement. But both Rawlings and Humann claim this is a myth along with the contract’s lack of specific planning goals to reconnect the park to the neighborhood, install needed parklands and the like.

UPDATE: The updated agreement is now available as part of the Parks Board meeting agenda for Thursday. The new document does have language supporting open meetings but is unclear on public access to financial records beyond IRS Form 990.  The document is a HEAVILY edited work-in-progress with pages and pages of strike-throughs and edits visible along with a boatload of blank pages.  Hardly the sort of condition a document of this type needs to be in on the eve of a multi-million dollar vote on a multi-decade project.

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One of the architectural gems in Dallas is Fair Park, a 277-acre recreational and educational complex southeast of downtown Dallas. It is home to many George Dahl-designed Art Deco buildings constructed for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936, and is registered as a Dallas Landmark and National Historic Landmark.

Mark Lamster

Mark Lamster

But this park, home to the Texas State Fair each fall, is underperforming the rest of the year.

The next Dallas Architecture Forum event will address “Making Fair Park Work,” a panel discussion moderated by Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster, who is also a professor in the College of Architecture Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The main question will be, “how can Dallas transform Fair Park into a year-round destination and economic engine for its South Dallas area?” The city is now faced with several options for its redevelopment, and must choose the best path forward.

“The Dallas Architecture Forum is pleased to present this next panel in its 2015-16 series of thought-provoking panel discussions on topics impacting the citizens of Dallas both locally and globally,” said forum executive director Nate Eudaly. “Moderator Mark Lamster will be joined by a panel of well-respected community leaders to discuss this extremely important topic. The result will be engaging and thought-provoking discussions for our attendees.”

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4610 Wildwood openerYou can tell when someone hasn’t spent much time in Dallas when they refer to our summers. They use words like “scorching,” “oppressive,” or some other generic term. In Curbed‘s case, they say that “a long lap pool also features plenty of seating for guests beleaguered by the hot Dallas summer,” in their write up of J. McDonald “Don” Williams’ incredible Bluffview contemporary mansion.

4610 Wildwood pool

Anyone from Dallas knows that:

1) There is no way being in proximity to a lap pool during summer is going to do anything to cool you down. It will, at best, give you the extra incentive you need to just dive right in, Louboutins and all.

2) You aren’t “beleaguered” by the “hot Dallas summer.” If you’re lucky, you escape to Aspen, the Hamptons, or wherever your second home (or third!) may be. If you’re sticking around, though, you’re morally and physically aggrieved by the inconceivable high temperatures, becoming irrationally obsessed by how many days in a row we’ve seen 100-degree weather, and loathing the many crevices from which your body pours sweat.

But, I digress.

4610 Wildwood LR

What Dallas residents will appreciate in a home is the almost 7,000 square feet of sleek and light interiors in which you can retreat from the “hot Dallas summer.” This home is in Bluffview, one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Dallas, which boasts a stunning variety of architecture and huge lot sizes.

4610 Wildwood library

Williams, who was once the chairman of Trammel Crow Company and founded the Foundation for Community Empowerment and the J. McDonald Williams Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas, hired Bodron+Fruit Architecture, Mesa Landscape Design, and contractor Elite Homes by John and Stephen Hardy to construct 4610 Wildwood Road in 2009.

4610 Wildwood kitchen

This masterpiece of contemporary architecture was built in tune with the surrounding environment. Boasting Cottonwood limestone, mahogany, and copper exteriors, rift cut white oak and Gascoigne marble floors, custom cabinetry, an expansive library, a marble-clad Rumford fireplace, and 14-foot ceilings, the interiors are at least worth a good long gander. It’s marketed by the insanely talented Claire Dewar at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s for $9.75 million.

45610 Wildwood master

My favorite thing? The beautiful views offered by the surrounding 1.3 acre wooded lot, which you can appreciate in the comfort of air conditioning.

4610 Wildwood master bathWhat do you like best about this unbelievable contemporary home?