Okay, we've had our tornado now. What's next? Well, clearly, we have to build back. We have to build back buildings and bodies. We have to build back spirits and restore self esteem. We have learned some things over the years. We can build the second time better than the first time because we learned some things, perhaps the hard way, over the years. Mistakes can be corrected. It's time to start thinking about them..........so, I've started.
I know one can't fix everything overnight. It will take years. Some of those house slabs won't have houses on them for years. There will be legal issues and sadness. However, there will be joy in the resurrection. In my opinion, the first place to start, after initial clean up, is the refreshing of the mind. A rekindling of the "can do" attitude. We received a certain amount of notoriety from the tornado. Notoriety turned into some fame from the rebuilding spirit of the citizens and business owners in Rowlett. Especially rewarding was the time contributed and money donated from surrounding communities. Our friends and neighbors know about us. I think we should not let anyone forget that we're still digging out and rebuilding.
I have a thought. I would like to have a weekend long festivity centering around sailboat racing, general boating activity, and Rowlett's acknowledgement that we are a community of the lake. I want people to think of 23 miles of lake shoreline when they think of Rowlett. I would like for it to be a charity event with all net proceeds donated to a tax exempt Rowlett fund that is helping uninsured and under insured victims of tornado. It would be a noble cause. And........a lot of people win.
We could call the event, "The Rowlett Charity Regatta" or some other title that identified Rowlett, Charity, Boating, and Tax exempt participation. We have always underplayed the association of Rowlett with Lake Ray Hubbard. It is time to start some new branding.
I have met with the mayor, Todd Gottel, on the subject. He liked the idea. I have also visited with a friend who is very involved in statewide sailing. He thinks it's a great idea. We are meeting again on Feb 4th or 5th. We belong to a Facebook group with 383 sailors. He also knows sailors all over the state. Sailors are a funny lot. If their sailboat is trailerable, they will drive two weeks to race two days.
I think Rowlett's Chamber of Commerce should get involved. Their group of merchants should promote Rowlett for obvious business opportunities. They could donate objects to a quiet auction to generate revenue.......and everything donated is tax deductible. Sailors could donate funds thru entrance fees. A "First Monday" atmosphere could be created by merchants with booths for product sales. The Bayview Marina should get involved to promote the marina and operate as a staging area for the boats and race committee activity. Trent Donahue, the new owner of the old Robertson Park, could contribute land for the booths and announce to the entire world where his new development is located, and the development's participation in a charity event benefiting many. And, of course, sailors get to race.
And, Rowlett gets a new brand and, with the tornado rebuild, the new Bayview developments, and other projects sprouting up, a new "freshened up" image.