Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
The latest plans for a bigger and better Big Tex, which includes a fancy new base, won praise Wednesday at a review with the Dallas Historic Preservation panel.
Plans for Big Tex's base have garnered praise in city of Dallas reviews.
The new and improved model will replace the State Fair of Texas icon that burned to the ground in October.
The Dallas Landmark Commission's Fair Park Task Force was briefed on Tuesday on plans for an improved base that will officially be called Big Tex Circle.
Fair Park is a historic landmark, and permanent improvements must be in keeping with the original 1936 appearance of the park.
"What we're concerned about in terms of preservation are the things that stay year round," said Nigel Brown, task force chairman.
Big Tex is only in place during the fall run of the fair, but the new model, which will have new mechanical and electrical components, will be bigger and heavier than the old one.
Because of that, the State Fair of Texas is proposing a permanent Big Tex Circle base with an underground vault for many of the controls. It would include a higher concrete pad to which Big Tex would be bolted.
The plans also call for a seating wall around the base made of limestone to match other Fair Park buildings.
"It would essentially be a place for kids and adults to sit during the fair and, then, during nonfair times it would serve the same function for festivals and that sort of thing," said Tary Arterburn, a landscape architect who prepared the design.
During the fair, storyboards describing Big Tex's history would be posted around the wall.
"I like it a lot," said task force member Craig Holcomb, who is also the executive director of The Friends of Fair Park.
Holcomb said plans for improved landscaping inside the seating wall will improve the appearance of the location outside the Fair Park Tower Building.
"To the average eye, it's just a big concrete parking lot now, so anything we can do to make it more attractive, we need to do," he said.
The Dallas Landmark Commission will vote on Big Tex Circle at a later date based on a recommendation from the Task Force. Other city approvals will be needed to complete the Big Tex on time for this year's fair.
Fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said the new Big Tex would look much like the old one, but many details are being kept under wraps until a grand unveiling on opening day, Sept 27.
"We heard loudly and clearly that people wanted to see Big Tex return looking like he did when he left," she said.