I'm very much in favor of annexing Robertson Park, and agree it's a really big deal for Rowlett. However, do you know what the impact will be as far as access to the lake? Lake Ray Hubbard is supposed to be this great amenity, but so much of it is inaccessible to the average Rowlett citizen. It would be a shame if even more of the lake was taken away by private interests. My hope is that there would be some kind of balance.
Of course, I don't know the exact plans of the development. Probably Donahue doesn't know all that he's planning, yet. Too early. However, this is the fun part of having such a potential development in our midst. We get to speculate and think about what will be nice. We get to dream, too. However, you must remember we are not constrained by budgets, costs, market acceptance, maximizing profits, returns on investment, and all those other capitalist ideals. We have the freedom to dream without a pencil. As usual, I have some thoughts.
I agree that we need a park(s). I think we need a park type atmosphere on part of the land. However, at $2.84 per square foot of cost, how much should be dedicated to park-like atmosphere with no income? I can't give you an exact answer, but for discussion, let's say 10 acres were dedicated to a "super park" facility, whereby it would become a very popular place to visit. Two things happen here: one is art, and the other is science.
On the science side, 10 acres of land costing $123,767.20 per acre ($1,237,672.00) must be allocated to the other 247 acres as costs. Therefore, the 247 acres will have to pay for the 10 acres, plus return a profit. Secondly, a considerable development cost will be incurred to create the "super park." This cost, too, will have to be transferred to the other 247 acres to have the investment recaptured. A total of $2 million for improvements would not be hard to do. So........in our little discussion, a total of $3,237,672.00 million would be expensed to give Jared and me our park......not just some benches, but a "super park" with water sports, building a beach, maybe some rides, docks in which to tie up, and places to park. Perhaps a dock side snack shop or bar would be appropriate. The "super park" would have to be good enough to satisfy Rowlett's needs, plus entice others in the DFW area to come play. Most of this activity would not directly provide revenue to the investors. However, this is where the "art" comes in.
With the traffic that a "super park" would bring in, certain other businesses in the development would surely benefit. How many of you are familiar with the "restaurant row" down in Kemah where the channel enters Galveston Bay from Clear Lake. Landry's Seafood Restaurant purchased the entire strip along the channel. It has been turned into a eating entertainment center. It is a destination center. I think there are five or six restaurants there, plus some rides and a little riding train shuttling people around the area. It's cool. It's a fun place to be. I would sell my favorite pet rock to have a Landry's in Robertson Park. This is just one thing to think about. Let your imagination go.
What about a hotel that has it's own beach?.......a hotel set up for conventions?.......all of which brings in people.......who spend money. Of course, if one can do that, it's not much of a stretch to engage in the arithmetic that would support a population of offices. Then, while you dreaming juices are flowing, what about some high dollar condos or townhouses on the north part of the land with fingers cut back into the land for waterfront living units.
The art comes from making the "super park" contribute to the success of all else.
The sad note is that if we get 300 linear feet of water front in the "super park," that is 300 feet more than we have now. That is the sad realization. I agree with Jared completely about not have the use of the lake that all Rowlett residents should have.
I am saddened, and often have been in the past, with such little lakeside development that has been done. Several generations of leadership have contributed to this. Have you been to Granbury? They have built a terrific water front park in their city.......complete with a sandy beach and a boardwalk. Granbury is about the same size as Rowlett, but we have the better lake. Granbury has become a noted retirement area. A few years ago, it wasn't much more than a traffic stop.
I get excited when I think about what Robertson Park can become. As far as park development goes, if the City of Rowlett gets enough tax revenue from the proposed development, we should be able to develop several water front parks in several places around key areas of the lake. Robertson Park can pay for it. Grapevine got it's great infusion of revenue from 5% of the drinks sold in D/FW Airport's bars. Hey, any port in a storm.
Obviously, I wish the developer the best of luck and anything I can do to help, I will. Because, if the developer is successful, the City of Rowlett should also.............assuming we have leadership that can keep us out of the weeds. I can't stress enough the importance of informed leadership in this endeavor. It take skill to play in land development.
Thanks for the question, Jared. It was fun to respond to.