Thursday, October 3, 2013

Say Goodbye to Spring Creek Farm

Spring Creek Farm
Imagine finding a peaceful farm with rolling green grounds, beautiful horses, animals, and a museum in the middle of busy Richardson, Texas. This lovely spot is Owens® Spring Creek Farm and it's available to you and your family.
Source: Bob Evans.
Or rather, it *was* available. Owens Spring Creek Farm is closing. Owens Spring Creek Farm, a Richardson institution for over 80 years, was increasingly an anachronism in the city. The land on which it sat is too valuable to sustain hay rides and pumpkin patches, so Owens Spring Creek Farm is soon to disappear forever, to be replaced by... that is the question.

After the jump, some speculation.

In June, I commented on a secret agenda item in the Richardson City Council budget regarding "deliberations regarding real property ... in the Glenville Rd/Plano Rd/Renner Rd area." I worried about more development encroaching on the Spring Creek Nature Area. We still haven't found out what that development might turn out to be. But now we have another threat on the border of the nature area. Spring Creek Farm is directly across the creek from Foxboro Park which is adjacent to the Spring Creek Nature Area, connected by hike/bike trail.

The land that the farm sits on will be put up for sale. You can bet it won't be purchased by someone who has always wanted to farm the land. Or host kids' birthday parties. Or enhance the Spring Creek Nature Area. A little farther away is another property that is more likely to be on developers' minds as they envision redevelopment of Spring Creek Farm.
The farmland, which will be put up for sale, is a stone's throw from the massive State Farm Insurance complex being built less than 2 miles due north.
The Dallas Morning News doesn't tell us why State Farm's "massive" office complex is relevant in this discussion. Would it be too much to hope that The Dallas Morning News might also have noticed the proximity of the Spring Creek Nature Area? Or maybe that there are single family homes much closer also?

I don't know what will go into the property being vacated by the farm -- an office building or two, maybe an apartment building, mostly likely nothing that enhances the park or nature area, certainly not an expansion of city parks. Whoever develops there is probably going to want access to Owens Blvd as a shortcut to Campbell Rd. Until a few years ago, the city's planning maps showed Owens Blvd getting extended north to Lookout Dr. The city erased that extension to placate neighborhood homeowners' objections to more traffic. It'll be interesting to see how the politics play out on this new case.

In a analogous situation west of Plano Rd, when Blue Cross wanted a shortcut north to Renner Rd, the city cut down the trees in Spring Creek Nature Area to put in Routh Creek Parkway. In this new situation, determined homeowners are likely to put up a bigger fight than a few nature lovers did for the Spring Creek Nature Area. But then, if the prospective developer is anything as big as Blue Cross or State Farm, the city council members are bound to be conflicted between giving developers what they want and appeasing homeowners. Council members hate conflict. It's way too early to say this conflict is going to arise, but if the Richardson economic development movers and shakers work overtime, they could turn up a sufficiently important corporate relocation to this site to heat things up in the neighborhood.

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