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European settlers came to the area near present-day Plano in the early 1840s. Facilities such as a sawmill, a gristmill, and a store soon brought more people to the area. A mail service was established, and after rejecting several names for the nascent town (including naming it in honor of then-President Millard Fillmore), residents suggested the name Plano (from the Spanish word for "flat"), as a reference to the local terrain, unvaried and devoid of any trees. The name was accepted by the post office.
In 1872, the completion of the Houston and Central Texas Railway helped the city to grow, and it was incorporated in 1873. By 1874, the population had grown to more than 500. In 1881, a fire raged through the business district, destroying most of the buildings. The town was rebuilt and business again flourished through the 1880s. Also in 1881, the city assumed responsibility for what would eventually become Plano Independent School District (PISD), ending the days of it being served only by private schools.
At first, the population of Plano grew slowly, reaching 1,304 in 1900, and rising to 3,695 in 1960. By 1970, Plano began to feel some of the boom its neighbors had experienced after World War II. A series of public works projects and a change in taxes that removed the farming community from the town helped increase the overall population. In 1970, the population reached 17,872, and by 1980, it had exploded to 72,000. Sewers, schools, and street development kept pace with this massive increase, largely because of Plano's flat topography, grid layout, and planning initiatives.
During the 1980s, many large corporations moved their headquarters to the city, including J. C. Penney and Frito-Lay, which encouraged further growth. By 1990, the population reached 128,713, dwarfing the county seat of McKinney. In 1994, the city was recognized as an All-America City. By 2000, the population grew to 222,030, making it one of Dallas' largest suburbs. Plano is surrounded by other municipalities and therefore cannot expand in area, and there is little undeveloped land remaining within the city limits. However, as of July 2012, one large tract of land was being developed: Turnpike Commons at the intersection of Renner Road and the George Bush Turnpike (bordered also by Shiloh Road to the east). The development is expected to feature apartments, medical facilities, restaurants, a Race Trac gas station, and a hotel.
In 2013, Plano received top-scoring nationally in a livability index according to an algorithm created by AreaVibes.com, a Toronto-based company specializing in such data. AreaVibes ranked Plano at the top of the list of U.S. cities with populations between 100,000 and 10 million. Another chart, "Best Places to Live in 2013", also has Plano ranked number 1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Plano has a total area of 71.6 square miles (185.5 km2).
Plano is about 17 miles (27 km) from Downtown Dallas.
Plano is in the humid subtropical climate zone. The highest recorded temperature was 118 °F (48 °C) in 1936. On average, the coolest month is January and the warmest is July. The lowest recorded temperature was -7 °F (-22 °C) in 1930. The maximum average precipitation occurs in May.
As of the census of 2010, Plano had 259,841 people, 99,131 households and 69,464 families, up from 80,875 households and 60,575 families in the 2000 census. The population density was 3,629.1 people per square mile (1,400.8/km2). There were 103,672 housing units at an average density of 1,448.6 per square mile (559.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 66.9% White (58.4% Non-Hispanic White ), 7.6% Black, 0.36% Native American, 16.9% Asian (6.5% Asian Indian, 5.2% Chinese, 1.2% Vietnamese, 1.2% Korean, 0.6% Filipino, 0.2% Japanese, 1.9% Other), 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.86% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino made up 14.7% of the population (10.6% Mexican, 0.5% Puerto Rican, 0.2% Cuban, 3.5% Other).
Plano is the 9th largest city in Texas and the 71st largest city in the United States. As of 2009 western Plano has a higher concentration of Asians, while eastern Plano has a higher concentration of Hispanics and Latinos.
Map of racial distribution in Plano, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)
Of the 99,131 households, 35.8% had children under the age of 18. Married couples accounted for 56.7%; 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% were non-families. Approximately 24.4% of all households were individuals, and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61, and the average family size was 3.15.
Data indicates that 28.7% of Plano's population was under the age of 18, 7.0% was 18 to 24, 36.5% was 25 to 44, 22.9% was 45 to 64, and 4.9% was 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.2 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $84,492, and the median income for a family was $101,616. About 3.0% of families and 4.3% of the population were living below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.
In 2007, Plano had the highest median income of a city with a population exceeding 250,000 in the nation, at $84,492. As of 2010, Plano had a median income of $103,913 annually. According to crime statistics, there were four homicides in Plano in 2006, the lowest homicide rate of all U.S. cities of 250,000 or more population.
As of the 2000 U.S. Census, of the foreign-born residents, 17% were from China, 9% from India, and 4% from Vietnam; a total of 30% of foreign-born residents came from these three countries. That year, 22% of Plano's foreign-born originated in Mexico.
See also: History of Chinese Americans in Dallas-Fort Worth
Plano, along with Houston, has one of the state's two major concentrations of Chinese Americans. The 2010 U.S. Census stated that there were 14,500 ethnic Chinese in Plano. Out of the cities with 250,000 and more residents, Plano has the sixth largest percentage of ethnic Chinese, making up 5.2% of the city's population. Charlie Yue, the executive vice president of the Association of Chinese Professionals, stated that he estimated that about 30,000 Plano residents are Chinese and that many "don't participate in government activities, like the census."
Chinese professionals began to settle Plano by 1991. As of 2011 the Chinese restaurants in DFW catering to ethnic Chinese are mainly in Plano and Richardson. Most of the DFW-area Chinese cultural organizations are headquartered in Plano and Richardson. Plano has six Chinese churches and supermarkets including 99 Ranch Market and zTao Marketplace.
Rent-A-Center headquarters office building in Plano, Texas
The Shops at Willow Bend, Plano's upscale shopping mall
According to the Plano Economic Development 2017 Leading Employers Report, the top 10 employers in Plano are:
# Employer # of Employees
1 Capital One Finance 5,500
2 DXC Technology 4,000
3 Bank of America Home Loans 3,400
4 Red Bee Media (fka Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services) 3,200
5 Toyota Motor North America, Inc. 2,900
6 Frito-Lay 2,500
7 J.C. Penney Company, Inc. 2,420
8 NTT Data Services (fka Dell Services) 2,250
9 Texas Health Plano (fka Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano) 1,680
10 Medical City Plano (fka Medical Center of Plano) 1,600
Approximately 80% of Plano's visitors are business travelers, due to its close proximity to Dallas and the many corporations headquartered in Plano. The city also has a convention center that is owned and operated by the city. Plano has made a concerted effort to draw retail to its downtown area and the Legacy West in an effort to boost sales tax returns. There are two malls in the city: The Shops at Willow Bend, and The Shops at Legacy. Collin Creek Mall closed in 2019. There is an area that has apartments, shops, and restaurants constructed with the New Urbanism philosophy. An experimental luxury Walmart Supercenter is at Park Boulevard and the Dallas North Tollway.
Headquarters of major corporations
Some of the country's largest and most recognized companies have their headquarters in Plano. Tree-lined Legacy Drive in the 75024 ZIP Code, between Preston Road and Dallas North Tollway, has many corporate campuses. The following companies have corporate headquarters (Fortune 1000 headquarters) or major regional offices in Plano:
Cookies by Design
Fogo de Ch?o
Hilti North America
Huawei Device USA
J. C. Penney
Keurig Dr Pepper
Main Event Entertainment
NTT Data Services
Pizza Hut / WingStreet
Pressman Toy Corporation
Siemens PLM Software
Toyota Motor North America
Yum China Holdings
In 2014 Toyota Motor North America announced its U.S. headquarters will move from Torrance, California in the Los Angeles metropolitan area to Plano. In 2015, Liberty Mutual also announced their plans to build a new corporate campus just a few blocks east of Toyota, bringing an estimated 5,000 jobs to the community. In January 2016, JP Morgan Chase and mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced they would be moving regional operations to Plano, bringing a combined 7,000 new jobs to the community.
Parks and recreation
Haggard Park in October 2015
Dickens in Downtown Plano 2014 Lighting of the Tree
Although Plano is named for the flat plains of the area, large trees abound in the city's many parks. One such tree, estimated to be over 200 years old, resides in Bob Woodruff park near Rowlett Creek on the city's east side.
There are two main open space preserves: Arbor Hills Nature Preserve (200 acres) and Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve (800 acres). Bob Woodruff Park and Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve are connected by biking trails, making the green space one large uninterrupted park space that is larger than Central Park in New York City (840 acres). Go Ape, a family-friendly place with outdoor activities like zip lining and Tarzan swings, is at Oak Point Park and Preserve. The yearly Plano Balloon Festival that happens every September is also in Oak Point Park and Preserve. Total acreage of all spaces managed by the Parks department totals 3,830.81. The Plano Master Plan has the acreage growing to 4,092.63 when complete.
There are five recreation centers: Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center, Carpenter Park Recreation Center, Oak Point Recreation Center, Liberty Recreation Center, and Douglass Community Center. Carpenter Park Recreation Center, Oak Point Recreation Center, and Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center have an indoor pool, while Liberty Recreation Center has an outdoor pool. Plano Senior Recreation Center is a recreation center dedicated to seniors. There are three swimming pools owned by Plano Parks & Recreation: Harry Rowlinson Community Natatorium, Jack Carter Pool, and Plano Aquatic Center. All of the pools are indoor except for Jack Carter Pool. Douglass Community Center houses the Boys & Girls Club of Collin County. For pet owners, there is The Dog Park at Jack Carter Park.
The City of Plano also owns and operates four performing arts venues and one conference center under the auspices of the Parks and Recreation Department. These venues include the Courtyard Theater, the Cox Playhouse, the Amphitheater at Oak Point Park, McCall Plaza, and the Oak Point Park Nature and Retreat Center.
Neighborhood Parks: 249.13 acres
Linear Parks: 629.27 acres
Community Parks: 1,120.65 acres
Open Space Preserves: 1,324.13 acres
Special Use Areas: 46.57 acres
Golf Courses: 461.06 acres
Law and government
See also: List of mayors of Plano, Texas
The Municipal Center in October 2015
Plano is governed by the council-manager form of government, with a part-time city council that sets city policy and a city manager who is responsible for city operations. The Plano City Council consists of eight members elected by popular on a nonpartisan basis in staggered odd-year elections every other May. Council members and the mayor are elected by and serve the city at large. However, the council members serving in places one, two, three, and four must reside in that district, and the mayor always serves in place six. The mayor receives a yearly stipend of $8,400, and each council member receives $6,000.
All council members, including the mayor, serve a maximum of two consecutive four-year terms. The mayor and city council members could serve for a maximum of three consecutive three-year terms until voters approved changes to the city charter in 2011.
The 38th and current Mayor of Plano is businessman Harry LaRosiliere, who was elected as the first African-American mayor of Plano in May 2013. Plano elected its first African-American city council member, David Perry, in 1990.
On December 8, 2014, the city council passed an amendment to its civil rights act to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected. The amendment has not yet taken effect.
In the 2008 fiscal year Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city reported $194 million in revenue, $212 million in expenditures, $278 million in total assets, $31.4 million in total liabilities, and $337 million in cash and investments.
The city of Plano is a voluntary member of the North Central Texas Council of Governments association, the purpose of which is to coordinate individual and collective local governments and facilitate regional solutions, eliminate unnecessary duplication, and enable joint decisions.
Plano is part of the North Texas Municipal Water District, headquartered in Wylie, Texas. Lake Lavon is the principal source of raw water for the district.
Plano's Water Distribution System:
10 Elevated Towers
12 Ground Storage Tanks
54.5 Million Gallon Water Storage Capacity
5 Pump Stations
225 Million Gallon Daily Pumping Capacity
1,080 Miles of Water Mains
65,965 Metered Service Connections
Fire and EMS services are provided by the Plano Fire-Rescue.
Dallas' wealthy northern suburbs are solidly Republican and Plano, the largest of these suburbs, was ranked as the fifth most conservative city in the United States by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research in 2005. However, the city has become more competitive in statewide elections as its population has diversified, culminating in 2016, when Republican Donald Trump received 49.4% of the city's vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton's 44.4%.
In 2014, Plano's City Council passed an expansion of the city's Equal Rights Policy that included anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals. The ordinance drew the ire of conservative groups such as the Liberty Institute, which argued that the ordinance infringed on the religious rights of business owners. Many civil rights organizations were not supportive either, such as the Human Rights Campaign. The Human Rights Campaign argued that the policy's exclusion of transgender individuals rendered the ordinance not worth defending.
Plano is split between the 66th and 67th Districts in the Texas House of Representatives, and is wholly contained in Texas Senate District 8.
Republican Matt Shaheen represents Texas House District 66, and Republican Jeff Leach has represented Texas House District 67 since 2013. Republican Angela Paxton represents Texas Senate District 8.
Republican Congressman Van Taylor has represented Texas's 3rd congressional district since 2019. Plano is represented in the United States Senate by Republicans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
The United States Postal Service has several post offices in the area. There are full service offices on 18th St., Jupiter Rd., Coit Rd., Parker Rd., and Hedgcoxe Rd.
Fire Department (Plano Fire-Rescue)
The Plano Fire-Rescue has 386 full-time firefighters who operate out of 13 stations.
Police Department (Plano Police Department)
The Plano Police Department is an accredited agency and is the principal law enforcement agency serving Plano. The department is led by Police Chief Ed Drain. The Plano Police Department has authorized staff of 414 sworn Officers, 178 full-time civilian employees, and 79 civilian part-time employees. The department is a member of the North Texas Crime Commission and uses the Crime Stoppers program.
In 2010 and 2011, Forbes.com ranked Plano the "Safest City in America" for cities with populations over 250,000. Plano is consistently recognized and awarded by the National Association of Town Watch (National Night Out Awards), the National Sheriff's Association, and the U.S. Department of Justice for "Excellence in Neighborhood Watch".
There are 70 public schools, 16 private schools, two campuses of the Collin County Community College District (Collin College), and six libraries in Plano.
Primary and secondary schools
Plano West Senior High School
The Plano Independent School District serves most of the city. Student enrollment has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Plano has a unique high school system, in which grades 9-10 attend a high school and grades 11-12 attend a senior high. There are three senior high schools (grades 11-12) in PISD; Plano East, Plano, and Plano West. In Newsweek's 2012 list of best national high schools, Plano West was ranked as 22nd (#1 in Texas), Plano Senior as 108th, and Plano East as 243rd. Small portions of Plano are served by the Lewisville Independent School District, Frisco Independent School District, and Allen Independent School District.
Plano schools graduate more of their students than comparable districts. In 2010, 93% of Plano Independent Student District students graduated from high school, 18 percentage points higher than Dallas ISD's rate. In 2012, Plano Independent School District announced that 128 seniors were selected as National Merit Semifinalists.
Plano has given $1.2 billion in property tax revenue to other school districts through the Texas "Robin Hood" law, which requires school districts that are designated as affluent to give a percentage of their property tax revenue to other districts outside of the county. In 2008, PISD gave $86 million. Controversy erupted when the salaries of teachers in less affluent districts—such as Garland ISD—exceeded the salaries of teachers in districts that had to pay into "Robin Hood".
In the 2013–14 school year, Plano ISD has opened two 4-year high school Academies, one focusing on STEAM (STEM education plus Media Arts) called Plano ISD Academy High School, and the other on health science. Additionally, the district has modified its existing International Baccalaureate program to allow freshman and sophomores in the program to be housed at Plano East Senior High School.
In addition to Catholic primary and middle schools, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas operates John Paul II High School in Plano. Non-Catholic private schools in Plano include Great Lakes Academy, Spring Creek Academy, Yorktown Education, and Prestonwood Christian Academy. In addition, the Collin County campus of Coram Deo Academy is in the One Church (previously Four Corners Church) facility in Plano.
Colleges and universities
Entrance to the Spring Creek campus of Collin College in Plano, Texas
Plano is the home to two campuses of Collin College, one at the Courtyard Center on Preston Park Boulevard and the larger Spring Creek Campus on Spring Creek Parkway at Jupiter. SMU-in-Plano, formerly SMU-in-Legacy, a branch of Southern Methodist University, is a graduate university serving the needs of 3,000 working professionals. Its academic programs include business, engineering and computer training, education, and continuing education. It also features The Guildhall at SMU, which offers a masters program in video game development. DBU North, a satellite campus of Dallas Baptist University, is in west Plano, and offers undergraduate and graduate courses and houses the admissions and academic counseling offices.
The Plano Public Library System (PPLS) consists of the W.O. Haggard, Jr. Library, the Maribelle M. Davis Library, the Gladys Harrington Library, the Christopher A. Parr Library, the L.E.R. Schimelpfenig Library, and the Municipal Reference Library. The Haggard Library houses the system's administrative offices.
Many Chinese parents in Plano enroll their children in supplementary schools, where they get additional mathematics education and/or Chinese language education.
A DART Red Line train at the Downtown Plano station
Plano is one of 12 suburbs of Dallas that opt into the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) public transportation system. During most of its membership in DART, Plano was lightly served by bus lines, but in 2002, the Red Line of the DART Light Rail project opened stations in Downtown Plano and at Parker Road, which provide access to commuters traveling to work elsewhere in the Dallas area. The Orange Line traverses the same route for selected weekday/peak hour trips. The Silver Line is also planned to run through Southern Plano. Approximately 1% of the city's population uses DART. The Parker Road station charged for parking for non-member city residents from April 2, 2012 – April 3, 2014 as a part of the Fair Share Parking initiative. Two DART park-and-ride bus facilities, separate from the rail lines, are within Plano: Jack Hatchell Transit Center and Northwest Plano Park & Ride.
Plano was the first city in Collin County to adopt a master plan for its road system. The use of multi-lane, divided highways for all major roads allows for higher speed limits, generally 40 mph (64 km/h), but sometimes up to 55 mph (89 km/h) on the northern section of Preston Road. Plano is served directly by several major roadways and freeways. Central Plano is bordered to the east by U.S. Highway 75, the west by Dallas North Tollway, the south by President George Bush Turnpike, and the north by Texas State Highway 121. Preston Road (Texas State Highway 289) is a major thoroughfare that runs through the city. Plano is the largest city in Texas without an Interstate Highway.
Plano opened a new interchange at Parker Rd. and U.S. 75 in December 2010. The single-point interchange is the first of its kind in Texas. The design is intended to reduce severe congestion at this interchange. According to reports traffic congestion has been reduced 50-75%.
Plano is roughly 30 miles northeast of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; it is the primary airport serving Plano residents and visitors.
Stephen J. Anderson, animated film director
Anousheh Ansari, engineer and co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems
Bryn Apprill, voice actress affiliated with Funimation
Lance Armstrong, former professional cyclist
Jake Arrieta, Cy Young Award-winning pitcher for 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs, Plano East alumnus
Justin Blalock, offensive tackle for Atlanta Falcons
Spencer Boldman, actor, played Adam (a bionic superhero with super strength) on Disney XD original series Lab Rats
Kyle Bosworth, NFL player, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jake Brendel, NFL player, Miami Dolphins
Rex Burkhead, NFL player, New England Patriots
Fred Couples, professional golfer, formerly lived in Plano
Chace Crawford, actor
Kenton Duty, actor; played Gunther Hessenheffer on Disney Channel original series Shake It Up!
C. H. Greenblatt, creator of the TV animated series Chowder (TV series); writer for the TV animated show SpongeBob SquarePants.
Bob Guccione, publisher of Penthouse
Brad Hawkins, actor who starred on VR Troopers; country singer and martial artist.
Michael Irvin, player for Dallas Cowboys, inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame
Jimmy King, basketball player, University of Michigan and NBA
John Leake, NFL player, Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers
Nastia Liukin, gymnastics, 5-time Olympic medalist including all-around gold and nine-time world medalist
Hunter Mahan, professional golfer
Kevin McCarthy, famed Texas radio broadcaster
Kevin McHale, actor on TV series Glee, singer
Billy McKinney, Major League Baseball outfielder
Stefan Noesen, NHL player
Hunter Parrish, actor
Candice Patton, actress, played Iris West on CW's The Flash
Charlie Peprah, NFL safety, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers
Julius Randle, NBA Basketball Player, New York Knicks
Boz Scaggs, musician and recording artist
Meenakshi Seshadri, former Bollywood actress
Florence Shapiro, Republican member of Texas Senate, known for sponsoring "Ashley's Laws"
Billy Ray Smith Jr., NFL Player, San Diego Chargers
Lyon Sprague de Camp, fantasy writer
Matt Shaheen, Republican member of Texas House of Representatives from Plano; former Collin County precinct commissioner
Barbara Staff, co-chairman of 1976 Ronald Reagan Texas presidential primary campaign.
Russell A. Steindam, Medal of Honor Recipient
Jonathan Stickland, member of Texas House of Representatives from Tarrant County; born in Plano in 1983
Van Taylor, Republican state senator from Plano; former state representative; Iraq War officer
T.J. Thyne, actor, played Dr. Jack Hodgins, an entomologist, in TV series Bones
Travis Tope, actor
Alan Tudyk, actor
Michael Urie, actor, played Marc St. James in TV series Ugly Betty
Jeffery Xiong, chess grandmaster
Zig Ziglar, Motivational Speaker, Businessman
Plano has six sister cities designated by Sister Cities International. This program's presence is seen in Plano ISD schools, where representatives from sister cities often meet and tour.
Ivanovo, Ivanovo Oblast, Russia
Brampton, Ontario, Canada (2000)
Gumi, North Gyeongsang, South Korea
San Pedro Garza Garc?a, Nuevo Le?n, Mexico (1995)
Hsinchu, Taiwan (2003)
City of Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia, Australia
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