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Moving forward: Preserving Plano's history

In 2023, the City of Plano will celebrate its 150th anniversary.
Downtown Plano Interurban Railway Museum

In 2023, the City of Plano will celebrate its 150th anniversary. While Plano has been making headlines with announcements of futuristic developments, such as Legacy West and Legacy Central, it is important that we make a continuous effort to preserve the city’s history. Preservation 150 by the City of Plano is a detailed plan containing a set of goals, policies and actions the community needs to take in order for the city to achieve its goals of preserving its history as Plano approaches its 150th anniversary. Also in Preservation 150 is a list of buildings and districts eligible for designation as historical properties.

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“There’s a minimum threshold of 50 years for a property to be designated as historical,” says City of Plano Senior Planner Michael Bell. “These properties must have some sort of architectural significance or there must have been a historical event that took place in these properties.”

Some of these properties include the Briarwood District, Old City Cemetery, and the Texas Pool. Further research is being conducted into Lavon Farms and Hall Propery and others in order to determine their eligibility as historical districts.

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“A lot of people outside the core of downtown don’t really know much about the history of Plano,” Bell says, noting that while Heritage Farmstead and Historical Downtown are popular historical districts, there is so much more to Plano’s history.

A glance at Plano’s Preservation 150 | Courtesy of City of Plano

As Plano’s 150th birthday is approaching, developments are underway for many districts, including downtown.

“These developments can work in tandem with the preservation of Plano’s history,” Bell says, “but they can also be counterproductive.”

Historic Preservation Officer Bhavesh Mittal believes that when the developments are complete, they will complement downtown’s historical portions, rather than obstruct.

“You definitely see a lot of development opportunities around the Cotton Belt Station,” Mittal says. “We will have a lot of people wanting to develop these areas for mixed-use purposes. As you see, downtown is mostly commercial, so there is opportunity for these property owners to expand. But at the same time, they are proud to be part of a historic set up.”

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Both Mittal and Bell believe getting the community involved with preservation efforts shouldn’t be much of a challenge, as Plano residents have always been resilient and have been vocal about causes and projects important to them.

“Plano has always been a forward-thinking city,” Bell says. “Downtown burnt a few times, but they rebuilt. People pushed to have a railroad here and they got it. They pushed for the Cotton Belt Station, and they got it.” 

For a closer look at City of Plano’s Preservation 150 plan, click here.