City Approves Fair Park Tower Restoration

Fair Park Tower and Big Tex | Image by elrod

Dallas City Council voted to spend $4.2 million of taxpayer money during its Wednesday meeting to restore and rehabilitate the Fair Park Tower.

Originally built for the 1936 Texas Centennial celebrations at Fair Park, the historic edifice will receive extensive exterior, roof, and foundation restoration.

Phoenix I Restoration and Construction, the only company to submit a proposal to the City during the bidding process, will be doing the work.

Phoenix I, based in Farmers Branch, is a specialized historical restoration firm that has “participated in dozens of Texas Historic Courthouse restorations, and hundreds of other historically significant projects,” according to the company’s website.

“Historic restoration accurately depicts a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by removing features from other periods in its history and reconstructing damaged or missing features from the restoration period,” Phoenix I further explained.

“We follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as applied by the Texas Historical Commission,” the company said. “We consider it a fundamental imperative to explore and fully understand the various techniques, ways, means, and materials to be utilized on every project we do.”

Phoenix I previously worked on the Fair Park Tower, completing a project in 2005 that earned the organization the Preservation Achievement Award from Preservation Dallas.

The construction company was also previously contracted for work on the JFK Monument, Dealey Plaza restoration, the Dallas Municipal Building, the Hall of State museum, the Children’s Aquarium, and the Top o’ Texas Tower at Fair Park.

Outside of Dallas, Phoenix I has also worked on the Texas Capital in Austin, the Presidio County Courthouse in Marfa, and the Levi Jordan Plantation in Brazoria.

This newest project on the Fair Park Tower will include “stabilization and repair of the building envelope at Fair Park Tower, investigate and repair areas of significant differential foundation settlement, and update portions of the MEP infrastructure to comply with current codes.”

Phoenix I will restore the stucco and reapply a mineral-based paint on the exterior. Additionally, the capstone will be repaired, and they will “[replace] all existing roof coverings.”

The Fair Park Tower project will cost Dallas taxpayers roughly $4.2 million, and the City will “issue one or more commercial paper notes as part of its General Commercial Paper Notes Series A, and B, and use the proceeds thereof to reimburse the disbursements described herein.”

While the issued notes will ultimately cover the financing, the City Council resolution approved Dallas’ chief financial officer, Jack Ireland, to disburse the $2.4 million from the Fair Park Capital Reserve Fund and the Fair Park Improvement Fund that was a part of the 2017 General Obligation Fund.

Fair Park is one of Dallas’ most significant historical and cultural landmarks. As the longtime home to the Texas State Fair, it is recognized as “the most visited attraction in Texas.” The site’s history stretches back to 1886, when the Dallas State Fair Association chose a cotton field as the future home of the fair.

The future of Fair Park will include hosting events during the 2026 World Cup, which will be partially held in Dallas. To help prepare the park, Dallas voters passed Proposition A during the November elections, which will allocate a portion of increased hotel tax collections to various construction and restoration projects, as reported by The Dallas Express.

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