By 1970, all but a very few of the lots in Greenway Parks had been developed, and the neighborhood was maturing, and houses in the subdivision continued to maintain their value. Generally there was some updating - dens added, pools built, etc., and the neighborhood could be described as "comfortable". Then came the inflation years of the mid 1970's into the mid '80's . Housing values all over the city appreciated rapidly. In the early '80's, speculators began to buy the older homes with the intention of renovating them in order to turn a nice profit.
As the city boundaries moved farther and farther north, the proximity of Greenway Parks to downtown and the North Dallas Toll Road along with the now dense mature trees and lovely parkways made the neighborhood highly desirable. As the neighborhood aged, younger families moved in. Residents updated, remodeled, and expanded existing homes until the prosperity of the late 1980s fostered a new trend.
Builders, with an eye on potentially profitable, increasingly desirable close-in new residences, began to buy smaller, less-desirable old houses for their lot value. They tore down the existing structures and built large lavish new ones in their place. The homes near these new "McMansions" were overwhelmed and immediately lost value. By the mid '90's the practice had spread throughout Highland Park, University Park, Preston Hollow, Bluff View.
|5532 Wateka is a 1999 adaptation of the Arts and Crafts style|
In the summer of 2000, a group of concerned neighbors formed a committee to address the "massing" problem to see if Greenway Parks could do anything to prevent it from happening. The idea for a Conservation District zoning overlay was born. in order to protect and maintain the beauty and original concept of Greenway Parks, the group worked on the project tirelessly for three years; and in May of 2003, the City of Dallas made Greenway Parks a Conservation District.
The Greenway Parks Conservation District ordinance specifies setbacks, height specifications, and building to lot ratios that will prevent the kind of massing taking over other neighborhoods.
To date, Greenway Parks has been fortunate. In 1985 the first house demolished was 5349 Drane. It was the classic case of replacing a poorly maintained house by a much grander home. Over the past 18 years, 9 or so others have been torn down and rebuilt. In one case the original house was badly damaged by fire, another was built on a previously vacant lot; but in most cases an earlier home has been torn down to provide space for a new one.
Today, the neighborhood is one of the most desirable in Dallas. In 2002, the Texas Society of Architects named Greenway Parks one of Texas' 25 Best Places, an honor bestowed on only 3 locations in Dallas and on only 4 residential developments in the entire state.
Neighbors often move within the neighborhood - either to size-up or size-down - and many homes are being renovated. The greenways are beautifully maintained by the HOA, and families utilize the open spaces to play and socialize with each other.
F. N. Drane, J. P. Stevenson, and David Williams would marvel at the changes in Greenway Parks but would be proud that Greenway residents have taken painstaking efforts to preserve their original vision.
Many thanks to Lorraine Goodman and her original history of the neighborhood, Greenway Park, A Special Place, who had the good fortune to interview people like Porter Lindsley; and to Muriel Quest McCarthy for her book David R.Williams, Pioneer Architect.