Plano Emphasizes Small Town Vibe In Urban Setting
Plano, a community of 274,000, lies 20 miles north of Dallas. Named the 11th best place to live in the United States by CNNs Money Magazine in 2006, Forbes chose Plano, Highland Park, and University Park as the Top Suburbs to Live Well in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in 2008.
Planos appeal lies not so much in its strategic location as a bedroom community of its larger neighbor, but rather on its emphasis as a small town in a major urban setting. The communitys focus on nature, trees, outdoor activities, and public amenities for all its citizens makes Plano a perfect choice for families and singles shopping for North Texas real estate.
** Natural Refuge in a Suburban Setting **
The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, a 200-acre park, lies on the west side of Plano and offers facilities for walking, hiking, jogging, orienteering, and a range of other outdoor activities including off-road cycling. There are both paved and unpaved trails, an observation tower and three pavilions. Portions of the preserve include examples of distinct eco-regions including Blackland Prairie, Riparian Forest, and Upland Forest. Additionally, a natural bio-filter cleans surface run-off from the parking lot before it re-enters the water table. The park is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and has both a playground and restroom facilities.
** An Emphasis on Trees **
Since 1989, Plano has carried the Tree City USA certification, with consecutive re-certification since 2004. Provided by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service, the recognition honors environmental improvement and assists city leaders in promoting community tree care. Plano has received the groups Growth Award six times since 1996. Among Planos many beautiful trees, Haggard Park includes an Overcup Oak, which has been designated a Metroplex Champion Tree. It has a circumference of 106 inches, stands 45 feet tall, and has a 55-foot crown spread.
** An Outing with Your Dog **
Conveniently located in central Plano, Jack Carter Park includes a fenced, double-gated, 2-acre dog park along Bluebonnet Trail near its intersects with Chisholm Trail. The area offers benches, picnic tables, water fountains for both humans and animals; and waste pick-up and disposal stations. This is the only off-leash area in Plano. Outside of the fenced region, dogs are to be on a six-foot leash at all times. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and is closed the first and third Tuesday of each month of maintenance. (Limit 3 dogs per person, license and vaccination tags required. No children under the age of 10 are allowed.)
** Friendly Cycling Environment **
Since 1985, Plano has actively developed a network of bicycle routes over multi-use recreational trails and through city streets. Bicycle routes have been designated on lower volume streets to encourage recreation, commuting, and the use of bikes for short errands. Two routes connect to Dallas, Mapleshade Lane and Ohio Drive (which also connects to Frisco.) The promotion of on-street biking as well encouraging the use of designated trails makes Plano a leader among cycle-friendly cities in North Texas. (Dedicated trails include Bluebonnet, Chisholm, Preston Ridge, and Santa Fe adjacent to park properties.)
** Recreation for All Ages **
The Plano Senior Recreation Center is accredited by the National Institute of Senior Centers and offers a fully equipped fitness room with treadmills, exercise bikes, and multi-station weight machines. There are two standard-sized pool tables in the billiards room, and a host of daily activities including bingo and bridge. Volunteers man a snack bar daily from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and there are ballroom dances with live music each Tuesday from 7-9:15 p.m. Classes, trips, and special events are offered year round with an online program available at plano.gov under the seniors link. (Off-site activities include golf and bowling.)
** East of Access to the Broader Metroplex **
The Plano community is served by major roadways giving its citizens premier access to the broader offerings of the DFW Metroplex. U.S. Highway 75 lies to the east, with the Dallas North Tollway on the west. To the south theres the President George Bush Turnpike, with the SH 121 toll road on the north. Preston Road (also known as State Highway 289) goes directly through Plano.
Looked at purely in terms of location, Plano is undeniably attractive as a relocation choice. The community, however, has also exhibited strong economic growth via targeted developments like the Shops at Legacy in Legacy Town Center. It is home to numerous corporate headquarters, including those of Dr. Pepper, Ericsson Inc., Siemens, Frito-Lay, and JCPenney.
The local climate is pleasant, with warm spring and fall weather, although August tends to include a string of 100-degree days and theres often ice in late January or early February. Overall, however, exceptional local parks make for an active outside lifestyle and there are ample indoor facilities (four full-time recreation centers), for those times when heat or air conditioning are much appreciated.
Thanks to a broader, resilient North Texas economy, Planos real estate values survived the recession well, opening up numerous opportunities in homes for sale and for rent. This is indeed a top suburb and one that should go to the top of any relocation shopping list.
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