I asked our then City Manager if I could read the marketing report. I was on City Council then. I thought all I had to do was ask for it. Little did I know about the ways of local politics. It was like pulling wisdom teeth, but I finally got my hands on the report.
It was a good "in general" report about Rowlett. I don't recall exactly when the market study was done, but it was about 2009 or 2010, I think. The study addressed Rowlett's needs. What stood out in the report was the lack of housing for young professionals and senior citizens. Our Rowlett 2020 study said exactly the same thing.....except it cost a hell of a lot more.
I think Rowlett has come a long way toward helping the young professional needs with the development of The Villages, the downtown apartments. If the downtown develops as hoped, the new apartments can provide the living quarters for the young professionals, and the wished for development of restaurants and bistros will provide the needed evening entertainment. The DART station CAN provide transportation to employment centers, sports venues, air travel, and other city facilities that are not far away. If we could ever develop pocket parks along the shoreline of Lake Ray Hubbard, additional charm of the city, and entertainment and enthusiastic water sports could develop. That is all good. We gave too much money away for The Village, but it should help other development.
Altho there has been a start in providing Senior citizen's living, I think more could be done. The entire North Texas area is bursting at the seams. Real estate values are skyrocketing at about 10% per year. Developers are scurrying around trying to fill the housing needs.........except for Seniors, a growing population that will outpace younger populations because of the baby boom 60 years ago. Admittedly, some is being done, but retirement is changing. People have better health and living longer. That doesn't mean they truly love mowing grass. Some are beginning to decide to get away from taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and in many cases, loneliness. Many, perhaps most, are still very active socially and want to mix and socialize with their friends. This COULD create a demand for many to want some additional options in life style. The cottage with the white picket fence might get replaced with an apartment complex that has community meeting and recreation rooms, beauty shops, barber shops, drug stores, pools, and any number of other services that may be needed..........none further than 300 feet away.
There is a bit of an experiment going on with the Homestead of Liberty Grove subdivision. It is taking way too long to develop. We have all been told the lots are sold, but up until a couple of weeks ago, the lots had to be modified to fit the builder's houses. Doesn't sound very "sold" to me. And, also, the product has never been tested in the Rowlett market (close together houses). However, this style of living might present some appeal to seniors with smaller lots and close living. It might......but I never heard of..............any danger of one of these subdivisions ever being swamped by retirees. It's still too far from the barber shop.
Rowlett has a lot going for it, but we can't rest on our laurels. We have to keep tweaking the dials, and that includes paying attention to city hall.