Members of The Dallas 40 believe it is imperative to learn more about important community issues by “drilling down” into a subject … listening to, learning from and interacting with those who are leading the way. Our speakers, all prominent in their own spheres of influence, address our meetings to educate our members on these issues and to enable them to influence the direction of our community based upon informed choice. By providing entree to circles of business, professional and community leaders, The Dallas 40 affords its members and invited guests the opportunity to engage the community’s best and brightest in a dialogue that makes a difference. The Dallas 40 is a nonpartisan organization, with membership open to men and women of all ages.
Monday, May 9th | RSVP
5:30 – 7:00 p.m. | Maggiano’s
5:30 Appetizers and Cash Bar
“Fair Park: Diamond in the Rough”
Walt Humann, Former Hunt Consolidated Executive and Longtime Public Servant
Nothing is more iconically representative of Dallas and The State of Texas than Fair Park, with its 277 acres of historic Art Deco buildings and facades, museums, Music Hall, Texas Star Ferris wheel, the Cotton Bowl, and of course, Big Tex. In its years of continuous operation since 1886 it has been praised, prized, but not preserved. Years of deferred maintenance threaten its continued existence. But physical deterioration of the structures at Fair Park is only one part of the controversy swirling around the future of the park. Some say the State Fair itself has wielded too much control for too many years. Neighborhoods surrounding the park have deteriorated and residents feel little pride of ownership in the park since the property is guarded by fences and gates and has an earlier history of racial discrimination. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, recognizing the challenges and the need to alter the slow decline of the park, commissioned a blue ribbon task force charged with making recommendations. In September 2014 the task force submitted a report calling for the creation of a public private partnership led by a nonprofit organization to rejuvenate the park and revitalize the area. Seems logical, correct? But no – the recommendation has generated intense opposition in some quarters, with a lack of trust, competing visions, and differing interests.
The individual charged with leading the effort to establish the non-profit, secure neighborhood buy-in, convince the city to cede control while providing more monies, secure donations/grants from private entities, and deal with the State Fair itself is Walt Humann. Walt, a former Hunt Oil executive with years of unselfish dedication to public service and a record of success, has the thankless job of pulling this all together. Can he accomplish that? My money is on Walt. So join us on Monday, May 9, for an honest and informed presentation on the future of Fair Park.
Following the presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions.
About the Speaker
Walt Humann has had two successful careers – conducted simultaneously – one in business and the other in public service. To list his awards one needs paragraphs. To list his business successes is equally daunting, so just take our word for it. But some things (many) uniquely qualify him for this most recent challenge. Walt was the founding chairman of the Jubilee Project, which adopted an entire 62 block area next to Fair Park. The results were astounding and give one hope that earnest efforts dedicated to declining neighborhoods can be successful. To wit: it has built an award winning 5 acre park; a community center; a resource center with police sub-station; affordable housing; senior housing; a head start and an early head start school; restoration of a landmark church; and most importantly helped take “the worst performing elementary school in DISD” to Exemplary Status.
Walt also chaired the Science Place Museum at Fair Park and led the effort to expand the facilities and add an IMAX Theatre. He was unsuccessful but active in efforts to convince the then Dallas Mayor and Dallas County Judge to bring the Dallas Cowboys to Fair Park.
In short, Walt Humann is a renaissance man with a dedication to community and particular knowledge of Fair Park. Is he really the Most Interesting Man in the World?
Guests are always welcome. We request a per-guest fee of $15. If a guest joins as a member on the day he/she attends a meeting, the $15 fee is credited against the dues fee. Annual Memberships are $75 per person or $130 per couple. Please RSVP Here
Maggiano’s, Northpark, 8687 N Central Expy, Suite 205, Dallas, TX 75225-4499 / Phone: 214-360-0707
Meeting is on the 2nd floor; a receptionist will direct you to the room. Surface, garage and valet parking are available. Maggiano’s entrance is on the south side of the mall. You can also enter from inside the mall.