Nance Farm Master Plan Approved

Photo courtesy of the City of DeSoto

The Nance Farm Master Plan was approved during Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting with council member Raphiel making the move to approve and councilmember Hughes seconding. The motion then passed unanimously.

Many may not be familiar with the history of Nance Farm. The farmhouse is one of the last remaining examples of early Anglo-American settlement in the DeSoto community. The house has a high degree of integrity in location, design, materials, and workmanship. The house and barn were originally constructed around 1860.

Records show that Otway Nance acquired the land in 1856 with the construction of the house, barn, and other structures occurring thereafter. The second story of the home was not added until around the year 1900. The next major change was done in 1910 when the house was rotated 90 degrees so it would face east rather than getting too much sun in the summer and protect it from the winds in the winter.

Throughout its long history, it has been the site of many events, one of which was held by former DeSoto City Councilman Jeff Robnett, which I attended back when Mr. Robnett lived there and was on the council. I enjoyed the event and found the home and grounds very appealing as well as historic.

Graphic courtesy of the City of DeSoto

Fast forward to the current day, the FY 2023 DeSoto Business Plan includes a goal of converting Nance Farm into a high-value community asset, including as a home for the arts with one of the objectives being to update the Nance Farm Master Plan.

Deputy City Manager Kristoff Bauer presented the program to citizens and the council as follows:

The City of DeSoto combined efforts with the DeSoto Arts Commission to reimagine the historic Nance Farm. A master planning process embarked on in the summer of 2022 in collaboration with stakeholders and residents, proposes the restoration and creation of the Nance Farm Arts and Cultural Center. Public feedback directly shapes the repurposing of the historic site to serve the needs and desires of the art community and residents of DeSoto.

The City Council authorized a contract with Rogers Architects’ PLLC (dba Rogers Partners) on May 3, 2022. They completed the assessment of existing conditions at Nance Farm. They also collected input from the community through a meeting called by the Arts Commission held on location on July 14, 2022, a community survey, and direct conversations with individuals from the neighborhoods adjacent to Nance Farm. They have used this information to develop alternative development scenarios presented for City Council consideration on October 17, 2022.

The prior Nance Farm Master Plan was completed in April 2009. That plan was to be implemented in four phases to support a small-scale working farm reminiscent of the 1800s. The first phase has been partially implemented, but the remaining work has not been undertaken. In recent years, the facility has not been open to the public, and the City Council has been exploring opportunities to better promote the space to align with the interests of the community.

Graphic courtesy of the City of DeSoto.

The Council’s feedback was incorporated into the proposed master plan. The proposed master plan was presented to the Arts Commission and the public in November for further feedback which resulted in the Council reviewing the final proposals at the Tuesday night meeting.

Nance Farm Art Walk. Graphic courtesy of the City of DeSoto.

The construction estimate provided total costs of just under $6 million with that estimate to be refined as the design process progresses. Historic restoration is an eligible use of Hotel Occupancy Tax proceeds, which is anticipated to be the major funding source for this project.

The next steps after approval will be the following:

• RFQ for design services
• Develop initial design
• Coordination with the Texas Historical Commission
• Finalize design and complete construction documents
• Develop a financing plan
• Bid pr
• Project, award, and construction

The earliest that project is expected to be completed is in the second quarter of 2025.