Plano, Texas

Plano, Texas
City of Plano

Granite Park in May 2011


Nickname(s): Gymnastics Capital of the World[1]

Location of Plano in Collin County, Texas
Map of USA

Location of Plano in the contiguous United States

Coordinates: 33°01′N 96°41′W / 33.017°N 96.683°W / 33.017; -96.683Coordinates: 33°01′N 96°41′W / 33.017°N 96.683°W / 33.017; -96.683
Country  United States of America
State  Texas
Counties Collin
Incorporated 1873
  Type Council-Manager
  City council Mayor Harry LaRosiliere
  City manager Bruce D. Glasscock
  City 71.6 sq mi (185.5 km2)
  Land 71.6 sq mi (185.5 km2)
  Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 675 ft (206 m)
Population (2012)
  City 269,776 (city proper)
  Density 3,820.2/sq mi (1,474.99/km2)
  Metro 7,102,796 (DFW Metroplex)
  Demonym Planoite
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 75023-26, 75074-75, 75086, 75093-94
Area code(s) 214, 469, 972
FIPS code 48-58016[2]
GNIS feature ID 1344166[3]

Plano (/ˈpln/ PLAY-noh) is a principal city in the U.S. state of Texas, located mostly within Collin County, but with a small portion that extends into Denton County, twenty miles northeast of downtown Dallas. The city of Plano is a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

The city's population was 269,776 at the 2010 census, making it the ninth most populous city in the state of Texas (Corpus Christi was ranked at #8 and Laredo #10), and the 70th most populous in the United States.[4] The city is an affluent hub for many corporate headquarters, such as Alliance Data, Cinemark Theatres, Dell Services, Denbury Resources, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Ericsson, Frito-Lay, HP Enterprise Services, Huawei, J. C. Penney, Pizza Hut, Rent-A-Center, Traxxas, Siemens PLM Software, and Toyota Motors USA.


Plano, Texas in 1891. Toned lithograph by A.E. Downs, Boston. Published by T. M. Fowler & James B. Moyer. Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

European settlers came to the area near present-day Plano in the early 1840s.[5] 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),[6] residents suggested the name Plano (from the Spanish word for "flat"), as a reference to the local terrain. The name was accepted by the post office.[6]

In 1872, the completion of the Houston and Central Texas Railway helped the city to grow, and it was incorporated in 1873.[6] By 1874, the population had grown to more than 500.[5] In 1881, a fire raged through the business district, destroying most of the buildings.[5][6] 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.[5]

At first, the population of Plano grew slowly, reaching 1,304 in 1900, and rising to 3,695 in 1960.[5] 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,[5] and by 1980, it had exploded to 72,000.[5] 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,[5] dwarfing the county seat of McKinney. In 1994, the city was recognized as an All-America City.[7] By 2000, the population grew to 222,030,[5] making it one of the largest suburbs of Dallas. 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 Rd and the George Bush Turnpike (bordered also by Shiloh Rd to the east). The development is expected to feature apartments, medical facilities, restaurants, a Race Trac gas station, and a hotel.

There was an epidemic of heroin abuse among young people in the 1990s.[8] The Plano authorities created an anti-drug campaign with the name "Operation Rockfest".[9]

In 2013, Plano received top-scoring nationally in a livability index according to an algorithm created by, a Toronto-based company specializing in such data. The chart can be found here Best Places to Live in America. AreaVibes ranked Plano at the top of the list of U.S. cities with populations between 100,000 and 10,000,000. Another chart, Best Places to Live in 2013, also has Plano ranked number 1. Follow this link to see the chart Top 10 Best Places to Live.


According to the United States Census Bureau, Plano has a total area of 71.6 square miles (185.5 km2).

Plano, Texas
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: NWS

Plano is about 17 miles (27 km) from Downtown Dallas.[10]


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.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015283,558[11]9.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the census[2] 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[13]), 7.6% Black, 0.36% Native American, 16.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.86% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.7% of the population.

As of 2009 western Plano has a higher concentration of Asians, while eastern Plano has a higher concentration of Hispanics and Latinos.[14]

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 is $101,616.[15] About 3.0% of families and 4.3% of the population live 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.[16] As of 2010, Plano has 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.[17]

Foreign-born residents

As of the 2000 U.S. Census, of the foreign-born residents, 17% were from China, 9% from India, and 4% from Vietnam;[18] a total of 31% of foreign-born residents came from these three countries. That year, 22% of Plano's foreign-born originated in Mexico.[14]

Chinese Americans

Plano, along with Houston, has one of the state's two major concentrations of Chinese Americans.[19] 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."[20]

Chinese professionals began to settle Plano by 1991.[21] As of 2011 the Chinese restaurants in DFW catering to ethnic Chinese are mainly in Plano and Richardson.[22] Most of the DFW-area Chinese cultural organizations are headquartered in Plano and Richardson. Plano has six Chinese churches.[20]


Rent-A-Center headquarters office building in Plano, Texas
The Shops at Willow Bend, Plano's upscale shopping mall[23]

According to the Plano 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[24] the top employers in Plano are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Bank of America Home Loans 5,400
2 HP Enterprise Services 4,800
3 Capital One 3,175
4 JCPenney 3,100
5 Ericsson 2,650
6 Alcatel-Lucent 2,500
7 Frito-Lay 2,400
8 Dell 2,200
9 Medical Center of Plano 1,750
10 Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano 1,670

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 Shops at Legacy in an effort to boost sales tax returns. The Shops at Legacy area has apartments, shops, and restaurants constructed with the New Urbanism philosophy.[25] An experimental luxury Walmart Supercenter is located at Park Boulevard and the Dallas North Tollway.[26]

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 the Dallas North Tollway, has many corporate campuses. The following companies have headquarters or major regional offices in Plano:

In 2014 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. announced its U.S. headquarters will move from Torrance, California in the Los Angeles metropolitan area to Plano.[31] 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.[32] 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.[33]

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.[34] One such tree, estimated to be over 500 years old, resides in Bob Woodruff park near Rowlett Creek on the city's east side[35]

The two main Open Space Preserves, Bob Woodruff Park (321 acres) and Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve (801 acres), 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). Total acreage of all spaces managed by the Parks department currently totals 3,830.81. The Plano Master Plan has the acreage growing to 4,092.63 when complete.[36]

There are five recreation centers. They are Tom Muehlenbeck Center, Carpenter Park Recreation Center, Oak Point Recreation Center, Liberty Recreation Center, and Douglass Community Center. For pet owners, there is The Dog Park at Jack Carter Park.

The City of Plano also owns and operates three performing arts venues under the auspices of the Parks and Recreation Department. These venues include the Courtyard Theater, the Cox Playhouse, and the Amphitheater at Oak Point Park. A fourth performance venue, McCall Plaza, is currently under construction in the historic Downtown Plano neighborhood.[37]

Law and government

Local government

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.[38] 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.[39]

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.[40] Plano elected its first African-American city council member, David Perry, in 1990.[41]

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 taken effect yet.[42]

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.[43]

The city of Plano ais 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:

Fire and EMS services are provided by the Plano Fire Department.


Dallas' wealthy northern suburbs are overwhelmingly conservative and Plano, the largest of these suburbs, was ranked as the fifth most conservative city in America by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research in 2005.[44]

Cathie Adams, a long-time conservative activist and past chairwoman of the Republican Party of Texas is from Plano.

In 2014, Plano's City Council passed an expansion of the city's Equal Rights Policy that included anti-discrimination for gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals.[45] 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.[46] Many civil rights organizations also were not supportive, such as the Human Rights Campaign, which argued that the policy's exclusion of transgender individuals rendered the ordinance not worth defending.[47]

State representation

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 Van Taylor has represents Texas Senate District 8.

Federal representation

Republican Congressman Sam Johnson has represented Texas's 3rd congressional district since 1991 (although Plano has only been in the district since 2003). 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 located on 18th St., Jupiter Rd., Coit Rd., Parker Rd., and Hedgcoxe Rd.

Fire Department (Plano Fire Department)

The Plano Fire Department consists of 326 full-time firefighters[48] who operate out of 13 stations.

Police Department (Plano Police Department)

The Plano Police Department is an accredited agency[49] and is the principal law enforcement agency serving the City of Plano, Texas. The department is led by Chief of Police Gregory W. Rushin, a former FBI agent, with over 34 years of law enforcement experience.[50] The Plano Police Department has about 600 sworn officers and civilian employees.[50] The department is a member of the North Texas Crime Commission and utilizes the Crime Stoppers program

In 2010 and 2011, ranked Plano the "Safest City in America" for cities with populations over 250,000.[51] Plano is consistently recognized and awarded by the National Association of Town Watch (National Night Out Awards),[52] 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

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.[53] There are three senior high schools (grades 11-12) in PISD; Plano East, Plano, and Plano West.[53] In Newsweek's 2012 list of best national high schools, Plano West was ranked as 63rd, Plano Senior as 108th, and Plano East as 243rd.[54] 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 more than Dallas ISD's rate.[55] In 2012, Plano Independent School District announced that 128 seniors were selected as National Merit Semifinalists.[56]

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.[57] In 2008, PISD gave $86 million. Controversy erupted when the salaries of teachers in less affluent districts, like Garland ISD, exceeded the salaries of teachers in districts that had to pay into "Robin Hood".[58]

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) 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.[59]

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 located in the One Church (previously Four Corners Church) facility in Plano.[60]

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.[61] 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.[62] 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.[63] DBU North, a satellite campus of Dallas Baptist University, is located in West Plano, and offers undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as houses admissions and academic counseling offices.[64]

Public libraries

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.[65]

Miscellaneous education

Many Chinese parents in Plano enroll their children in supplementary schools, where they get additional mathematics education and/or Chinese language education.[20]


A DART Red Line train at the Downtown Plano station
The tracks and adjacent platforms at the Parker Road DART 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 Cotton Belt Rail 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 located roughly 30 miles northeast of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; it is the primary airport serving Plano residents and visitors.

Notable people

Sister cities

Plano has five 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.

Historic sites

For a more thorough list of Plano's history see this link Plano Conservancy's Historic Plano Tour


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