Skip to main content

The Loop Dallas Co-Founder and Board Chairman and my good friend Jeff Ellerman has often said, “there is a huge difference between laying down concrete off the side of a road and placemaking. Placemaking is about building human connection points into urban planning. The Loop Dallas is doing that in our mission to connect Dallas to Dallas by trail.”

When Amy O’Harra, Jeff’s daughter, came to Philip Hiatt Haigh and I and said she and her brothers wanted to do something special to honor their dad’s work on The Loop Dallas, we were all in. We knew this opportunity would continue that placemaking. 

Knowing Jeff, who is an art collector and serves as Board Chairman for the Dallas Museum of Art, adding public art along The Loop Dallas seemed like the perfect idea. Jeff has an above average businessman’s eye for architecture and the aesthetics of trail design. He combines that with a passion for The Loop and for what it means for Dallas as a unique way that he can give back. But what makes it happen are his leadership and business acumen skills. He’s a great communicator and has a way of rallying the troops.

Amy and her brothers, Scott and John, and I worked with Philip to find the right way to get this done. We identified Nasher Public as the perfect partner and the next trail in The Loop Dallas to open – the Hi Line Connector – as the perfect location.

In working with Nasher Public, we quickly came to the conclusion that Jeff was the most knowledgeable among us about art. While we could surprise him with the news of our intention, we’d rely on his eye and knowledge to help us nail down the vision and details.

Now we just needed to tell Jeff and at a small, intimate gathering of donors and stakeholders in March, we surprised Jeff, and his wife Pam. We shared a brief video at the event expressing our sincere gratitude and appreciation for his vision, leadership and service. The response was a lot of excitement and applause and more than a few damp eyes. 

In our first completed trail, Trinity Forest Spine Trail north, we were able to work with the City of Dallas to add a 50-acre mountain bike park surrounding the 12-foot wide concrete walk, run and bike riding trail. 

Public art is the perfect amenity for the Hi Line Connector, which will celebrate a ribbon cutting in a couple of months. The one-mile trail expands the iconic placemaking of the Katy Trail through Victory Park and the Design District and on to the Trinity Strand Trail. The corridor is a ribbon of green space winding through two mixed-use developments with a safe, direct route under Interstate-35E and the DART/TRE rail line.

Please take a couple of minutes and enjoy this video Amy, John, Scott, Philip and I enjoyed recording along with Jeremy Strick, Director of Nasher Sculpture Center. 

 And please join me in congratulating Jeff on this recognition.

I’ll see you on the trails,

Larry Dale

Treasurer, Board of Directors
The Loop Dallas

About Nasher Public: Nasher Public is an ongoing, two-pronged public art initiative which aims to generate access to public art by North Texas artists at the Nasher and throughout the greater Dallas community. The project launched first at the Nasher in a newly formed gallery, presenting monthly exhibitions, followed by an ongoing series of offsite exhibitions in partnership with area businesses.