The State Fair’s Land Purchases Around Fair Park Have Destroyed Real Estate Values And Its Operations Seriously Hinder Nearby Businesses.

Unlike seemingly every other media outlet in Dallas and, to a degree, the whole goddamn state, we here at Central Track aren’t exactly enamored with the State Fair of Texas. Why? Because, for starters, we’re not kids any more, and we’re no longer oblivious to the ways of the world. But also for a litany of other reasons, which we’ll happily run down for you here, one per day, over the entire course of the fair’s 2017 run.

For more than 20 years, the State Fair of Texas has been quietly growing outside of the boundaries of Fair Park itself.

Slowly but surely, excess revenues accrued by the nonprofit fair have been used to grab up lots outside of Fair Park. Throughout this real estate push, houses have been torn down, lots have been paved and fenced off with chain-link and floodlights have been installed to light these suddenly barren pieces of land.

In total, we’re talking about 50 lots spread across some 70 acres, all owned by the State Fair of Texas. Oh, and by the way, the State Fair pays no taxes on these land acquisitions, unlike most non-profits.

Of course, this is nothing new for the fair, which in 1966 used sweeping eminent domain powers to seize homes from “poor Negroes in their shacks.” But that, perhaps, is an issue for another post.

For now, know this: The State Fair of Texas has for decades been creating a land buffer around Fair Park, turning some of the most valuable land properties in Dallas’ urban core into dead zone and sweeping this problem under the rug by literally just paving over it!

“But more parking is good,” your car-dependent ass might reply. “Surely, the crowded State Fair needs all the parking it can get.”

On the contrary, some of this high-fenced parking on the periphery of the park is essentially used only the day of the Texas-OU game at the Cotton Bowl. What sense does that make?

Objectively, properties around urban parks need not be depressed and of low value. In fact, many urban parks feature a “park premium” — a proximal ring of higher value commercial and residential properties. But not Fair Park! As a study out of Baylor shows, properties close to Fair Park are not only lower in value, but tend to stay on the market longer. This is the opposite of the way it works almost everywhere else!

And this isn’t just a problem for residential properties. We’ve already cried foul about the fair’s false claims about its economic impact, but it’s worth acknowledging here too that Fair Park’s neighboring businesses do not necessarily see any benefit when people roll into their neighborhoods, park their cars and roll into the fair without giving their storefronts a second look — perhaps because they know damn well that they need to keep the budgets of their annual trips to the fair in line. Fact is, business drops by as much as 25 percent in Exposition Park each fair season, with some businesses just shutting down operations for the month altogether.

Charming and folksy as you may want to believe that the fair is, there’s no denying this much: The State Fair of Texas makes for a super shitty neighbor.

More Reasons Why The State Fair Of Texas Sucks:

  1. Its history is super racist!
  2. It’s a major drain on Dallas police!
  3. It’s bad for your health!
  4. It’s so damn expensive!
  5. It’s not the economic driver it says it is!
  6. It’s a super shitty neighbor!
  7. It’s an altar to false idols!
  8. It makes Fair Park useless!
  9. It wastes city funds on out-of-towners!
  10. It exploits cute animals!
  11. Its executives take home too much money!
  12. Everything on the midway is a ripoff.
  13. It has willfully ignored its obligations and allowed Fair Park to fall into disrepair!
  14. It refuses to be transparent about the way it spends public funds.
  15. It can’t handle Fair Park’s long-term needs.
  16. Its lauded scholarship program is a joke compared to those of other, similar events.
  17. It uses fear tactics in its negotiations with the city.
  18. It goes out of its way to shield its crowds from the poor black neighborhood that surrounds Fair Park.
  19. Its low-level employees get burned by its executives’ bad business decisions.
  20. Its ticket-based economy is designed to squeeze even more cash out of attendees.
  21. It cares way too much about parking lots that go unused most of the year.
  22. It’s petty as fuck.
  23. It celebrates humanity’s fucked up relationship with livestock.
  24. It refuses to change.
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