Garland’s Plan for Redevelopment 1937-2019

In the May 2012 issue of the Garland Messenger we published the following:


Garland’s 1st Urban Plan, 1937 by Jerry Flook

The City Council recently adopted a new comprehensive plan for Garland. This so-called “Envision Garland” plan identifies general goals and suggests priorities for future urban development. Garland is also currently finishing plans for the “redevelopment” of downtown. Both plans have prompted public controversy, but “Envision Garland” because it is conceptual, flexible and amendable as circumstances demand. The “Downtown Redevelopment Plan”, on the other hand, has presumably progressed beyond the flexible stage. Local historic preservationists are now crossing their fingers pending the City’s unveiling of the adopted plan since several of the plan options call for demolition of the 106 year-old buildings (currently occupied by Garland Civic Theater) making up the east side of the square.


It is interesting to note that, historically speaking, urban planning is not a new concept to Garland, its first such plan being produced in 1937 by the Garland Chamber of Commerce and the Kessler Plan Association of Dallas. (Dallas’ first comprehensive plan was drawn up by George E. Flood of 1908). The Garland News of 2 April 1937 reported that the local Chamber of Commerce and the Kessler Association of Dallas had produced a plan for Garland. It was drawn up in only one week by Kessler Association secretary John E. Surratt and lacked the graphic design detail of the Dallas plan. Despite the fact that it offered many useful suggestions for improving Garland, it apparently quickly found its place on a dusty shelf at City Hall.


That dusty shelf in the City Hall that Dr. Flook made reference to must be quite overloaded by now. There must have been countless proposals for redevelopment since 1937. We can recall 2 plans for the redevelopment of Downtown Garland presented in the past 10 years. A new plan was presented by consultants in a work session of the City Council this past December. Perhaps the currently considered plan will result in execution, since it involves the much needed improvements in infrastructure. Back in 1937 the redevelopment plan for downtown included the allocation of space on sidewalks for the planting of trees. That idea is 81 years old, but the need still exists, and is included in the current plan. The 106 year old building that Dr. Flook made reference to, has been demolished since that writing. After so many decades of wasted time and money, let’s hope that this city administration will be bold enough to implement the much needed improvements presented in redevelopment plans. It’s 2019 and time for action!


Nancy Ghirla