New Master Plan In the works for DeSoto’s Historical Nance Farm

Nance Farm
Photo courtesy City of DeSoto

Planning The Future Of Nance Farm

DESOTO – Earlier this week a public community meeting was held in DeSoto about the future uses of the city’s historical Nance Farm.

Nance Farm is located on Greenbrook Drive and offers exhibits and art displays as well as being a historical farmhouse that has been a landmark in the city for years.

Designated as a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark in 1976, the property was owned and occupied by the Nance Family until the 1950’s. According to the city’s website “Over the next two decades the surrounding land was subdivided into residential lots. In 1975 the City of DeSoto purchased the property and utilized it as a community center. The property was sold back into private ownership in 1981 but was later in jeopardy of foreclosure. By the time the City of DeSoto again purchased Nance Farm in 2007, the size of the property had been reduced to just over two acres.

Though the main house was originally built as a two-story home with a Greek Revival façade, it now reflects a Victorian style with a full-length front porch. The transformation from Greek Revival to Victorian occurred sometime prior to 1883.The kitchen and dining room were added to the home as an attached wing; however, it was common practice in the 1850’s to have a detached kitchen and this may have been the case with the Nance Farmhouse when it was first constructed. Accessory structures include a windmill, windmill well, bucket well, curing shed, milking barn, and tank house.”

Now the City of DeSoto is in the process of updating the Master Plan that was initiated in 2009.

Community feedback has been important, and this week’s meeting was to discuss an updated plan. Input from residents will help shape the evolution of the historical landmark into what the city hopes will be a “thriving community arts and cultural center.”

At Tuesday night’s meeting the items discussed at the October 17 City Council meeting were outlined with four alternatives for the master plan. It was noted the Arts Commission will manage Nance Farm with the day-to-day operations executed by other City departments (primarily Parks), coordinating with on-site staff. The farm will have two full-time positions with one position focused on sales, marketing, and external relations and the second position focused on client management, vendor logistics, and operations coordination. The overall financial sustainability will be driven by successful sales and will be open to the public when it’s not booked for events.

Private Events Primary Revenue Stream

In fact, private events will be Nance Farms’ primary revenue stream including large social events such as weddings, nonprofit galas and high-budget milestone events or small events. Caterer commissions and vendor fees will also play an important part in the venue’s revenue stream with programming ultimately driving its long-term revenue.

The downside was considered in regard to parking, which could present a challenge and could create an on-street parking problem in the adjacent neighborhood as visitors avoid paying for parking on site.

Depending on the alternative for the master plan chosen, cost estimates range from $4,430,438 up to $6,204,868 as noted on the master plan presented to council in October.

Overall, the operating costs relating to the outcome of the master plan decisions are intended to offset the costs to keep the facility operational.

The community meeting lasted about 45 minutes with a little over a dozen in attendance, all dedicated to the history and continued functionality of the city’s historic landmark.

One person in attendance at the meeting said “I am excited about this concept. In DeSoto, we need more places to have different types of activities.”