With a population hovering around 63,000 today, the city of Flower Mound is a vibrant and prosperous Dallas suburb. However, the city at one time hoped to harbor a population of 100,000 before the start of the 21st century. This lofty goal sprung from a 1968 decision, in which the town was chosen to take part in the New Communities Act under President Lyndon B. Johnson. The new communities chosen were expected to act as model cities in aspects of transportation, education, healthcare, environmental control, community safety, and cultural diversity.
Flower Mound was selected to take part in the New Communities Act for several reasons. The small agricultural town was in close proximity to both Dallas and Fort Worth, and it was expected to appeal to those that wanted to avoid the big cities. Developers even thought that the establishment of Flower Mound New Town would prevent the urban sprawl of other metropolitan areas. Population in the region was also expected to rise due to the construction of the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Airport, located only four miles southeast of town.
Partners in the development of Flower Mound New Town were Edward S. Marcus (chairman of the board of Neiman-Marcus) and Raymond D. Nasher (president of the Raymond D. Nasher Company). New Town would encompass 6,156 acres within the existing town limits of Flower Mound, which consisted of 17,588 acres. 48% of land was destined for residential use, which would be broken up into fourteen neighborhoods to be built within 20 years. Each neighborhood was expected to house approximately 5,000 people and contain 1,400 housing units, a shopping center, and an elementary school. Junior high and high schools, as well as other commercial establishments, would be developed within four village centers. Following housing, parks and open landscape were planned to take up the most space–an entire 24%.
By the mid 1970’s, however, the New Town project was let go. The recession in 1973-1975, changing federal policy, and slow land sales were all partially to blame. In 1974, partners Marcus and Nash left the venture. In 1976, Housing and Urban Development decided to foreclose on the project.
More information about Flower Mound New Town can be found in the Lester Strother collection, which contains a development proposal and plans for the community by the Raymond D. Nasher Company. The Model Cities collection also contains information about the project in Flower Mound, as well as the development of the program in the rest of America’s southwest region. The collection houses documents examining the sixteen communities chosen to take part in the program in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
-by Alexandra Traxinger Schütz
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