The establishment of a visionary and provident Museum of Culture is our highest priority. With the potential to be among the largest visitor attractions and best educational resources in the United States, there are several strong possibilities for its location in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.|
Dallas is home to several prominent cultural and educational attractions, including the Perot Museum, Dallas Arts District, Deep Ellum and the historic Fair Park. With the potential to rank among the most visited attractions in the Metroplex, helping raise the level of support for cultural attractions in the city, a visionary Museum of Culture is the best fit to create continuity (in community vitality, appeal to visitors and financial success) between the Dallas Arts District and Fair Park area.
Visionary projects have been proposed to support this need, including the removal of the stretch of U.S. Highway 75 between Interstate 30 and Highway 366, and submersion of Interstate 30 between Deep Ellum and Fair Park in order to create another successful Deck Park (similar to Klyde Warren Park). These innovative ideas open the possibility to place a provident museum and educational resource in the position of a central hub to connect historic Dallas landmarks, provide continuity with the Dallas Arts District and Deep Ellum, achieve an exponential increase in visitors for Fair Park, and boost interest in a revitalized Fair Park as a museum campus, prominent activity site and significant park.
The added benefit of a major Museum of Culture in the industrial zone between Deep Ellum and Fair Park is support for the multitude of creative enterprises in the area, and implementation of strategic community improvement projects in the South Dallas, Cedars and Oak Cliff neighborhoods.
The Museum of Culture will not only exponentially increase visitor interest for the Dallas area, but will provide increased cultural tourism for other communities in the Metroplex, supporting the possibility to develop a multi-unit institution similar to the Smithsonian and the Museum of New Mexico.
Fort Worth is engaged in many revitalization projects - including Main, Berry and Race streets - and is interested to increase support for a variety of districts. The state's fifth-largest city (one of the top 20 nationally) preserves phenomenal examples of historic and elegant architecture.
While Fort Worth's history and strategic planning have created specific historic districts, cultural districts and expansive park areas, the concept of the Museum of Culture would serve many of them as a significant visitor hub.
The Fort Worth Cultural District may be an obvious match for a major new museum, which would increase interest and support for the existing museums as an added attraction of national and international prominence. The Southside industrial zone between Downtown and Fairmount, or even the vibrant Texas Christian University (TCU) area or historic Fort Worth Stockyards area, could also gain substantial visitors and economic boosts, while providing many reciprocal benefits.
Grapevine is in excellent strategic position to serve the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Located equidistant between Dallas and Fort Worth, just 22 miles to the center of each of them, it is also home to one of the world's busiest airports, the DFW International Airport, and fewer than 20 miles to the region's second busiest airport, Love Field. Grapevine is also relatively centered between Denton to the North and Mansfield to the South.
Grapevine has taken many proactive steps to be a major tourism destination, including preservation of its historic downtown, along with popular cultural events and arts activities. It has interested wineries, wine sellers and vineyards to locate in the area because of its visitor attractions and historic connection to wild grapes. The concept of the Museum of Culture may connect well with Grapevine's interests in history and culture, and increasing potential as a visitor destination. Resort hotels and commercial attractions are abundant due to Grapevine's central location in the Greater DFW area and proximity to the international airport.
Grapevine is connected by the Grapevine Vintage Railroad to Fort Worth's historic Stockyards along the old Cotton Belt tracks. The city's most significant advancement will occur in 2018, as TEX Rail will make major transportation connections between Fort Worth, Grapevine and DFW International Airport. The active commuter rail line will additionally connect Grapevine to DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit), the Trinity Railway Express and Amtrak.
Mid Cities: Irving
Irving is the most diverse community in the United States, outranking Queens, NY and Sugar Land, TX (a suburb of Houston). It is not the geographic center, as Arlington (the initial opportunity for the museum) is, but it is likely the center of population for the greater Metroplex.
Irving is connected to Dallas and Fort Worth by communter train, the Trinity Railway Express, and it is served by DART buses. It is developing an extensive hike and bike trail system, the Campion Trail, along the Trinity River greenbelt, which connects with Dallas. Irving is strategically positioned between the two major airports - DFW International Airport and Love Field.
Irving shares borders with Grapevine (an ambitious tourism-oriented city, soon to be connected with Fort Worth by the TEX Rail commuter line), Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Dallas, Grand Prairie and Fort Worth. It has many cultural attractions, as do surrounding communities. Irving has several small and mid-sized cultural attractions and significant religious sites of importance to its diverse communities, with several more projects in development.
A major Museum of Culture would provide a valuable interpretive hub for the region's diverse interests and area universities, and increase support for cultural and educational resources in all of its surrounding communities.
Mid Cities: Arlington
The first prospectus was developed for Arlington. The imminent vacancy in the Texas Rangers stadium presented a tremendous opportunity to attract 2-5 million annual visitors and utilize its position as the geographic center of the Metroplex to become a prominent international city.
LATEST NEWS - In Arlington, the Texas Rangers stadium will be preserved. But the big question we have wondered about for a while is, who will own the stadium in the future? The Rangers have the option to buy it when the bonds are paid. We sort of got an answer recently. The Rangers sent out a flier indicating they will work with a developer to bring retail into the building. But it isn't a good plan for many reasons. So, they may continue to seek the best ideas.
View the Initial Prospectus.
Without a major year-round attraction, the district will likely continue to serve only seasonal visitors. The City wants to increase convention business, but again, it is very difficult to compete with the dozens of cities that have better attractions and are known as cultural tourism destinations. And many retail operations in Arlington and across the U.S. are struggling. One commented, "If the stadium will be used for retail, to be successful it might as well be an Amazon distribution center." We can point to numerous retail operations that are working, but they are the exact opposite of high-rent tenants; they are unique and small, and often serve niche audiences.
There is, of course, the reality that the owners would not want to do something with even greater potential for success in visitor numbers and broad benefits for Arlington than the baseball team. That is the reason we hoped the City would negotiate with the Rangers to retain ownership of the current stadium after building them a new one; building a larger attraction is in the City's interest and would require the City to diversify its support by working with philanthropists and educational institutions.
Several journalists told us that proponents for the new stadium urgently want to disseminate an idea about possible future uses of the current one before the November election so that the voters feel they won't lose the existing stadium. Voters probably don't much care and polling indicates they will likely approve the new stadium, but preservation of the current stadium prevents critics from saying that Arlington will have to pay for its demolition, but rather that the Rangers will pay (a nominal amount) to the City to buy it. So there is still lots of time for things to change (several months to a few years, depending on how you look at it).
But we have to be realistic and aware that Arlington has not had the experience of cities that do visionary things, so the concept we are advocating for is well beyond the City's abilities. While it would bring international fame and enormous benefits, most of the great visionary projects going on around the nation fit in with a long lineage of thinking that originates in those communities more than a century ago.
In talking with many key people in Arlington and DFW (a few civic leaders in Arlington, two focus groups and some journalists), it seems unlikely that we can convince Arlington to consider a major museum. There are two main reasons: Arlington doesn't know how non-commercial activities function and has no philanthropic support for much of anything; and Arlington may have missed its opportunity to ever have any transportation connections with DFW (no rail, no high speed rail [which would be a massive strategic mistake given that rail may one day serve Dallas to Houston and Fort Worth to Austin, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley], and perhaps no buses or even trolleys). Those connections are necessary to serve larger numbers of visitors that will come from beyond the immediate region for an international museum.
Lack of vision or understanding of the benefits of cultural and educational attractions for prominent cities costs Arlington substantial respect from surrounding cities and media, but more importantly, it costs many of its residents in terms of quality of life, education, creative opportunity and economic potential.
The links below represent the Initial Prospectus based on the imminent vacancy in the Texas Rangers stadium in Arlington. The potential for an internationally prominent Museum of Culture can be explored through information included on each page.