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Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 09 Dec 2017 23:11
by R1070
Yep! There was a re-do in the works, but that just disappeared. It needs to be completely gutted and rebuilt.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 00:55
by dfwcre8tive
R1070 wrote:Yep! There was a re-do in the works, but that just disappeared. It needs to be completely gutted and rebuilt.


The rejuvenation is still planned, but can't proceed until funds are raised (apart from operating funds). The first step is finalizing the construction documents with the City of Dallas. In the mean time infrastructure fixes that can move forward separate from those plans (like restoring fountains, etc) are being worked on incrementally. In addition to the fountain work the exhibit area in the Hall is being cleaned and refreshed so it can reopen to the public starting in January. By showcasing the original vision alongside renderings and plans for the rejuvenation it may help add value for potential donors.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 01:08
by dfwcre8tive
Hannibal Lecter wrote:I visited Thanksgiving Square today for probably the first time in almost 40 years. Absolutely disgusting and embarrassing. They need to just lock the gates.


Primarily from the dog waste and surrounding dog owners, or more? The main fountain was cleaned a few weeks ago and the giant sediment tank emptied for the first time in about 15 years, so the water is cleaner than it has been in a long time (cost: about $20k in deferred maintenance). Several of the smaller fountains will not be operational until their pumps are upgraded. Additional landscape lighting was added in November thanks to a donor. And the sprinklers are regularly repaired so the grass is much healthier. If your last visit was 40 years ago when it first opened and the trees much smaller, then I'm sure it looks quite different as it has aged! There is a long list of infrastructure issues that need to be fixed. If there are specific things that stood out to you as easy fixes, I'm happy to pass along feedback so they can be addressed.

Below: photo showing one section of the pump room from a few weeks ago (there are 7 pumps; 2 fully upgraded and the others awaiting repair).

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Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 01:24
by dfwcre8tive
Sharing a few Philip Johnson photos and sketches I found in the archive recently. Many pieces will be digitized and placed on the Portal to Texas History in coming months (funded through a grant).

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Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 01:58
by CTroyMathis
There are actually very many current forum member names displayed on a wall at Thanks-Giving Square near the office entrance thanks to Noah's initiatives. People who have donated. This is a place that is particularly special to so many, and, it is well-known that there are issues. It has been worse, yet, much improvement yet to come. I will do anything to make or help it improve. I'm not the only one in my family, or, on this forum that has or will put it all down on this Square. (Triangle) Let's get the UN Flag up where it's supposed to be when we're really cleaned up and flowing properly. And, green.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 04:17
by willyk
Raising money from a lot of small donors has a low chance of success without a lead donor. The park needs to find an invidual or corporation to lead the renovation, and even grant naming rights if necessary. Kelcy Warren for KWP, Robert Decherd for the Belo Gardens and the recently approved parks, AT&T for the PAC. These are examples of how these projects get done.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 14:09
by Hannibal Lecter
dfwcre8tive wrote:Primarily from the dog waste and surrounding dog owners, or more?


The first thing you see walking in the west entrance is the gravel area covered in dog waste. Not one of the water features was working. What are supposed to be grassy areas are as much mud as grass. Lots of dead vegetation. The waterway coming down the hill from the west was full of mud where it is crosses under a sidewalk -- it obviously hadn't worked in a long time. The large gold sculpture at the west entrance looks badly scratched up. The entire park has a feeling like something from a 10-years-after-the-zombie-apocalypse movie. We didn't see one other person the entire time we were there -- on a very nice afternoon with lots of folks around downtown. I guess that's a good thing, because it would be embarrassing for tourists to see it. Hell, I was embarrassed for my son to see it.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 15:26
by Tivo_Kenevil
I wish we at least put some fresh white paint on the chapel. It's a faded white color.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 16:47
by jrd1964
When I worked downtown, Thanks-Giving Square was an automatic go-to for dog-walkers. They didn't try to go anywhere else.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 16:49
by jrd1964
CTroy, I'll have to find the pic, but the donor list sign has a typo. I don't remember what it was off-hand.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 16:52
by jrd1964
willyk wrote:Raising money from a lot of small donors has a low chance of success without a lead donor. The park needs to find an invidual or corporation to lead the renovation, and even grant naming rights if necessary. Kelcy Warren for KWP, Robert Decherd for the Belo Gardens and the recently approved parks, AT&T for the PAC. These are examples of how these projects get done.


Well, Toyota seems to be helping and naming quite a bit around here (one of the food banks, the Music Factory, the downtown Christmas Parade) of late...

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 10 Dec 2017 17:54
by f4shionablecha0s
Phillip Johnson was such a hack. I don't think Thanksgiving Square can be saved from the incredibly stupid design choices. Why not bulldoze it and start over? Hell, with so many other parks going in why not just sell it to someone so they can put a new tower on the site?

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 09:18
by cowboyeagle05
I am glad to hear the Thanksgiving organization is working towards a brighter future. As a commercial property neighbor who looks out on the park it is improving and I know they are working with nearby property owners on promotion and improvements to address complaints. I used to manage the coffee shop at the Mosaic years ago and watched dog owners send Thanksgiving Square into further disrepair more than previous lack of maintenance. The thing about dog owners is they follow where their dog goes as soon as they walk out the door. No matter what signs, walls are erected and that's not going to change unless you station a permanent security guard at the Mosaic/Republic Tower sides of the space.

New signage was erected, new furniture has been put in place and they have a long-term plan for cleaning all the systems that had gotten well past their expiration date. Also, lots of improvements inside the chapel have been made since it is a rather important landmark that keeps people coming back. I do see lots of people use the park day to day so I am not worried about its future any longer.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 09:46
by lakewoodhobo
I'm not a fan of Philip Johnson's public spaces, but this place is worth saving. Thank you Noah for all your hard work and dedication to Thanks-Giving Square.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 10:16
by Matt777
cowboyeagle05 wrote:I used to manage the coffee shop at the Mosaic years ago and watched dog owners send Thanksgiving Square into further disrepair more than previous lack of maintenance.


Mosaic has a huge empty terrace area near the pool terrace that could be converted into a dog park. They could build it to where it can be easily cleaned by power hose and then drained. They should be forced to do it.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 11:22
by cowboyeagle05
Matt777 wrote:
cowboyeagle05 wrote:I used to manage the coffee shop at the Mosaic years ago and watched dog owners send Thanksgiving Square into further disrepair more than previous lack of maintenance.


Mosaic has a huge empty terrace area near the pool terrace that could be converted into a dog park. They could build it to where it can be easily cleaned by power hose and then drained. They should be forced to do it.


They had a dog park/run when I worked in the building but it was rarely used cause humans tend to do what they want and take their dogs out to the street.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 15:46
by dfwcre8tive
jrd1964 wrote:CTroy, I'll have to find the pic, but the donor list sign has a typo. I don't remember what it was off-hand.


If you remember, let me know. I will take a closer look as well.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 15:55
by dfwcre8tive
willyk wrote:Raising money from a lot of small donors has a low chance of success without a lead donor. The park needs to find an invidual or corporation to lead the renovation, and even grant naming rights if necessary. Kelcy Warren for KWP, Robert Decherd for the Belo Gardens and the recently approved parks, AT&T for the PAC. These are examples of how these projects get done.


Agree, and that's why the larger campaign hasn't yet been announced. Private individuals are being approached to help kickstart the program with large donations/matches. Naming rights would be a challenge since it's a private facility. The initial donors included a list of nearly every major downtown company in the 1970s, and every feature was named in honor of those donors. Can you "re-sell" something after a certain amount of time (perhaps)? Many (but not all) of the original supporting families have moved on or now want to give to larger, flashier projects in the region.

Individual donations from members in the community have helped with many small improvement projects.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 16:02
by dfwcre8tive
jrd1964 wrote:When I worked downtown, Thanks-Giving Square was an automatic go-to for dog-walkers. They didn't try to go anywhere else.


A few years ago there was a survey/count and it was estimated that there are about 800 dog visits to the space per day. The three residential properties (LTV, Mosaic, Republic) have a loose agreement to provide minimal cleaning support since they don't provide a space for their residents. Until a new dog relief area is built on city ROW along Bryan it's either: try to concentrate/limit landscape damage and allow dogs in one area only (hard to enforce, but most owners are respectful), or ban dogs completely, which requires hiring a patrol person 24/7. There's not really a winning solution.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 16:14
by dfwcre8tive
f4shionablecha0s wrote:Phillip Johnson was such a hack. I don't think Thanksgiving Square can be saved from the incredibly stupid design choices. Why not bulldoze it and start over? Hell, with so many other parks going in why not just sell it to someone so they can put a new tower on the site?


You have to remember that the visible portion is the top of a multi-level facility. The garden is basically a deck park on top of a parking garage. The City of Dallas owns the underground structures but pays a lease to the private foundation for usage, and the surface structures are privately owned. It's a complicated arrangement. Any rejuvenation is at the private owner's expense and can't alter the underlying structure, but things like lowering the walls, adding access points, decreasing the grade of the landscape, etc would make it more connected to the surrounding streets. Johnson designed it as a formal garden space with gated entries, processional walkways, etc but most people just want it to be a park.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 16:37
by dfwcre8tive
Hannibal Lecter wrote:
dfwcre8tive wrote:Primarily from the dog waste and surrounding dog owners, or more?


The first thing you see walking in the west entrance is the gravel area covered in dog waste. Not one of the water features was working. What are supposed to be grassy areas are as much mud as grass. Lots of dead vegetation. The waterway coming down the hill from the west was full of mud where it is crosses under a sidewalk -- it obviously hadn't worked in a long time. The large gold sculpture at the west entrance looks badly scratched up. The entire park has a feeling like something from a 10-years-after-the-zombie-apocalypse movie. We didn't see one other person the entire time we were there -- on a very nice afternoon with lots of folks around downtown. I guess that's a good thing, because it would be embarrassing for tourists to see it. Hell, I was embarrassed for my son to see it.


All very real observations; thank you. You also forgot to mention the lack of accessibility (typical for its age), uneven pavement, and worn interiors. The downturn in garden maintenance started about 10 years ago when metal thieves stripped away copper electrical wiring (lighting), bronze drain grates (preventing lightweight sandy soil from clogging and breaking fountain pumps), and dedication plaques (identifying the place). Excessive dog usage combined with shade (Thanksgiving Tower blocks all sunlight in winter) results in regular mud runoff. Skateboarders use the gold ring as a ramp. While many of the causes have been identified and are now being funded/addressed (sprinklers, fountain pump replacement, lighting, signage, security) the major issues like adjusting the landscape slope and improving accessibility require a larger redevelopment plan.

Thanks-Giving Square does receive a lot of visitors and people leave rave reviews, despite the obvious issues that are present. The space is frequently being used for rallies, prayer vigils, worship services, and community gatherings, so more people are seeing the value in the place.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 16:51
by dfwcre8tive
CTroyMathis wrote:There are actually very many current forum member names displayed on a wall at Thanks-Giving Square near the office entrance thanks to Noah's initiatives. People who have donated. This is a place that is particularly special to so many, and, it is well-known that there are issues. It has been worse, yet, much improvement yet to come. I will do anything to make or help it improve. I'm not the only one in my family, or, on this forum that has or will put it all down on this Square. (Triangle) Let's get the UN Flag up where it's supposed to be when we're really cleaned up and flowing properly. And, green.


Thanks for the reminder about the UN Flag. Should we start a forum collection and purchase a new one to be displayed?

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 18:31
by Austin55
Hannibal Lecter wrote:I visited Thanksgiving Square today for probably the first time in almost 40 years. Absolutely disgusting and embarrassing. They need to just lock the gates.


I take it the chair and lights initiative success hasn't lived on?

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 19:11
by dfwcre8tive
Austin55 wrote:
Hannibal Lecter wrote:I visited Thanksgiving Square today for probably the first time in almost 40 years. Absolutely disgusting and embarrassing. They need to just lock the gates.


I take it the chair and lights initiative success hasn't lived on?


The chairs/tables are still in place, though someone broke all the "dedication tags" off and these will be replaced with a more durable solution (a lesson in which materials survive vandals). Additional landscape lights were donated and installed high in the trees a few weeks ago, too.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 11 Dec 2017 20:55
by Hannibal Lecter
dfwcre8tive wrote:All very real observations; thank you. You also forgot to mention the lack of accessibility (typical for its age), uneven pavement, and worn interiors. The downturn in garden maintenance started about 10 years ago when metal thieves stripped away copper electrical wiring (lighting), bronze drain grates (preventing lightweight sandy soil from clogging and breaking fountain pumps), and dedication plaques (identifying the place). Excessive dog usage combined with shade (Thanksgiving Tower blocks all sunlight in winter) results in regular mud runoff. Skateboarders use the gold ring as a ramp. While many of the causes have been identified and are now being funded/addressed (sprinklers, fountain pump replacement, lighting, signage, security) the major issues like adjusting the landscape slope and improving accessibility require a larger redevelopment plan.

Thanks-Giving Square does receive a lot of visitors and people leave rave reviews, despite the obvious issues that are present. The space is frequently being used for rallies, prayer vigils, worship services, and community gatherings, so more people are seeing the value in the place.


Thanks for the detailed response. It's good to know that someone really is working on the issues!

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 12 Dec 2017 06:35
by jrd1964
dfwcre8tive wrote:
jrd1964 wrote:CTroy, I'll have to find the pic, but the donor list sign has a typo. I don't remember what it was off-hand.


If you remember, let me know. I will take a closer look as well.


Found it. I'd taken pix of all the new signage one day and meant to post it to the forum but didn't get to it. Anyway, toward the bottom of the original donors list:

"John & Jode Johnson / Johson & Gibbs, P.C."

Shouldn't it be Johnson & Gibbs?

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 12 Dec 2017 11:48
by dfwcre8tive
jrd1964 wrote:
dfwcre8tive wrote:
jrd1964 wrote:CTroy, I'll have to find the pic, but the donor list sign has a typo. I don't remember what it was off-hand.


If you remember, let me know. I will take a closer look as well.


Found it. I'd taken pix of all the new signage one day and meant to post it to the forum but didn't get to it. Anyway, toward the bottom of the original donors list:

"John & Jode Johnson / Johson & Gibbs, P.C."

Shouldn't it be Johnson & Gibbs?


It should be. Thanks for passing that along and I'll make sure it gets corrected in the next printing.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 12 Dec 2017 13:33
by lakewoodhobo
My favorite typo is DALLLAS on a plaque at Pioneer Plaza.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 17:32
by jrd1964
https://www.dallasnews.com/obituaries/o ... re-dies-97

The man who conceived the idea and early work of Thanks-Giving Square, Peter Pauls Stewart, has died. He was 97.

Re: Downtown Dallas: Thanks-Giving Square

Posted: 12 Jan 2018 17:45
by Tnexster
lakewoodhobo wrote:My favorite typo is DALLLAS on a plaque at Pioneer Plaza.


They couldn't fix that?