In a recent story, we published Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere’s vision for the future of downtown Plano. “In the next 10-20 years, I would like to see downtown Plano become a bustling downtown area like you would go to in any major city,” Mayor Harry LaRosiliere told us.
And, while the city is optimistic, not everyone is pleased. In fact, via email and Facebook we were contacted by a number of concerned citizens.
So, we decided to look to Plano’s former deputy city manager, Frank Turner, for his opinion. During his 32 years of service, one of his greatest accomplishments in Plano was the redevelopment of downtown Plano. So, who better to weigh in on the debate?
Frank Turner: The future of downtown Plano
“Plano is becoming more urban, diverse and vibrant. Legacy and downtown Plano are the most obvious examples of change, but urban opportunities exist throughout Plano and no two are alike. Mayor LaRosiliere, and many others, see the potential redevelopment of Collin Creek Mall being a great a catalyst for change. I agree. Collin Creek Mall will be linked to, but distinctively different from downtown Plano. Collin Creek may well be the site of master-planned corporate office, retail, shopping, entertainment and housing uses integrated with open space and other amenities. Whereas, downtown Plano will continue to organically evolve through smaller-scale individual investments and public-private partnerships. Downtown’s expansion will be primarily centered along the commercial corridors leading to downtown, especially Avenue K with its ties to the Bush/CityLine, 12th Street and Parker Road DART stations. The downtown Plano expansion will not encroach on the surrounding neighborhoods.
“The urbanization of Plano should be embraced and not feared.”
The urbanization of Plano should be embraced and not feared as some suggest. If Plano is to remain the acknowledged dominant center of the region’s northern sector. Plano must grow, and it must create urban places that expand community interaction and celebrate its diversity. Plano has very little undeveloped property and there should be no rush to develop it without careful thought and planning. Plano has many aging commercial properties that are prime for redevelopment. Some of these properties offer potential for urban, mixed-use development. “Urban” does not mean massive or towering. “Urban” means diverse, integrated and walkable.
“’Urban’ means diverse, integrated and walkable.”
The majority of Plano is developed as low-density residential neighborhoods. Plano’s neighborhoods must be protected and strengthened. Complete with schools, parks and trails, our neighborhoods are the backbone of the city’s quality of life. The future vibrancy of our neighborhoods requires ongoing reinvestment by individual property owners and the city. Of equal importance are the social interaction and community involvement of Plano’s residents. Without neighboring, there are no neighborhoods. Without civic engagement, there is no city.
Plano’s future is bright and full of opportunity. Change is inevitable, but continuing community reinvestment and vibrancy are not. Growth must be encouraged and planned to ensure the best possible outcomes for tomorrow and for generations to come.”