All I am suggesting here is that some municipal originality could be used to create a very positive feature for the City of Rowlett. The beauty is that Rowlett already owns the land. No private land owners are involved. Therefore, if the city could conjure up a really neat development, they could approach any number of developers that know how to produce the desired neighborhood. The word we seem to be tripping over is the word "if." Do we have anyone in City Hall that has the creativity to conceptualize a super neighborhood or an exclusive area? I haven't seen anyone, yet.
Let's look at a couple of ideas. I happen to think the location lends itself to a great retirement village. Only one entrance leads to the site now, and that entrance goes under a train track, but it could add considerable charm. It is the only entrance, therefore another major (probably major four lane) must be constructed along the south deed line. This should give ample access to the site. Then, a commercial area could be built along the waterfront at the north end. There would be a boardwalk sufficient to have tables for coffee, friends meeting, small shops, etc. If done properly, this area could become a Rowlett sub-market on Rowlett's waterfront. Attached apartment like units could be built on about 10 acres and duplexes, and, say, patio homes could be built on the other 40 acres. Because of the ravines and drainage streams, a meandering park system could be built. I would design for golf carts. Golf carts could get you down to the boardwalk, over to the Community Centre, or even downtown, if you have a fully charged battery. It could be a great little retirement village.
You don't like retirement villages? How about an upscale patio home subdivision with wrought iron fencing and shrubbery surrounding the subdivision, with the same parks meandering thru the subdivision and a small boutique type series of appropriate shops suitable for lounging around? All would be within walking distance of the high school and the Community Centre. Perhaps golf carts should still be used.
These are just a couple of ideas. You're smart. What do you think? You have any ideas? Bet you do.
My question is, why hasn't anyone approached Rowlett for a development? Are we just sitting on our butts and waiting for someone to come along? Why aren't we aggressively pursuing developers with originality? Are we so arrogant that we feel we have the only game in the Metroplex? I still remember all the rhetoric about the toll way and DART coming to town and all the great things it would bring. I knew when I heard that "stuff" that somebody was getting lazy. In extremely rare occurrences do inanimate objects ever create any real development opportunities. It requires that someone, a real person, go get it. I certainly don't know all the background talks and machinations. However, I am quite capable of recognizing performance in the world of real estate performance.....and the absence thereof.
Rowlett has some tremendous opportunities. Overwhelmingly, it has really good people. Something is stopping us from our destiny. I know many developers have a bad taste in their mouth about Rowlett. It is not the people or the city's attributes that harm Rowlett in their eyes. It is, in their opinion, the unbelievable difficulties getting anything accomplished out of city hall. I know very reputable civil engineering firms that absolutely hate Rowlett. They actually advise their clients away from Rowlett. I have been told this story face to face by an owner of a major engineering firm. There is a major area developer that is still trying to get their apartment project underway. They have had their zoning for well over a year, yet they can't seem to get started because of difficulties with Rowlett's engineering department. Other times it's zoning problems. Other times it's signage problems. There are plenty of departments that can raise the hue and cry of bad business people.
So, is Rowlett "officialdom" business friendly? Do Rowlett leaders seek out good business citizens? Or, do you think they even know what they're looking for. There are some in "officialdom" that should know. Where are they? It all has a direct bearing on your (not their) tax base. I feel Rowlett is going to be completely bypassed by the current housing market. In spite of what our consultants told us, commercial development follows rooftops. Not the other way around.