I grew up in perfect small town America. More importantly, I knew it at the time. It was great formative years. We had bobbysoxers, lowered Mercury cars, baseball, the swimming pool, and sox hops. What a lucky break in participating in history. We created unions so strong, that even today, I communicate with five people I went to kindergarten with. Dear old Frankfort, Indiana, was my official "hometown" until well past my move to Rowlett. All the other places we lived were only temporary domiciles. My hometown was still in Indiana.
Why the above story? To give background to what follows.
Slowly, unperceptively, completely without special notice, we began to build memories while living in Rowlett. We watched the road sign announcing entry into Rowlett, with pop. 1527, disappear. It is now 58,000. We watched the first stop light being installed in Rowlett, sadly because of a child's death. Lakeview Pkwy was Highway #66 and there was only two lanes.......with no shoulders. We watched hot air balloons fly from Plano to Rockwall. We watched planes spay cotton across the street from our house. We had horses, a pool, a 23,000 acre lake, and great things for kids to do, like swing across a stream behind our house on a rope, fishing, riding horses, swimming in a great pool. We had great neighbors. Unbeknownst to me, Rowlett was slowly replacing Frankfort, Indiana, as my hometown. Rowlett's very slow capture of my loyalty and dedication was completely unnoticed until about 10 years ago.
One Sunday morning I had finished with my paper, and was finishing my coffee. There was a quiet moment in which I could reflect. At somewhat of a surprise, I realized that I had many more fond memories about Rowlett than I did of Indiana, and I loved Indiana. I began to think deeper, when the light bulb of realization came on. Totally unnoticed, Rowlett had become my hometown.......a real hometown. I realized I was totally loyal to Rowlett. I felt guilty because I had done nothing to support my new hometown. I simply didn't know I had a hometown, at least one that I could get to.
I decided to do something.....anything. I wanted to give something back. I didn't know anyone at city hall. I didn't know how city politics and government worked in Rowlett. At the urging of friends, I sent an example of my writing to Dallas Morning News and won a spot in the first Community Voices launch. It was fun. I wrote about smoking ordinances in Rowlett, Lake Ray Hubbard, and Robertson Park. I was an early supporter of what is now known as Bayview, the 257 acre area formally known as Robertson Park. After many columns about Rowlett and the Lake Ray Hubbard area, the writing assignment at DMN ran it's course, and I decided to do something else. I volunteered for committee work and served on Rowlett's Park Board, and several other committees. Then, ultimately I ran for City Council and won a seat. During those years, I began to really study Rowlett. I performed real estate market analysis and project underwriting for a living. Researching my own hometown was interesting and I began to really see what was forming up. I realized Rowlett had a long overdue and exciting series of opportunities approaching. Some stars were beginning to line up. I began to write about them in this blog.
I offer the above stories to give support to some claims I make. First, I have no political ambitions......zero. Second, I need absolutely no aggrandizement. I am happy in my skin. Strutting round like a king does not interest me. Third, I'm not a self-centered, arrogant blowhard. I usually know what I'm talking about. If what I offer is an opinion, I will tell you so, but check the facts because nearly every opinion I have is based on facts. This blog is filled with them.
It is the above love of Rowlett, and nothing else, that prompts me to discuss Rowlett's growth, prosperity, and life style. We have an enormous list of amenities that we can draw upon to give us an almost unique opportunity to become the "best little hometown in Texas." However, these opportunities can be at risk. If these opportunities are not handled professionally, there is an additional excellent opportunity to screw it up.
What I write in my next post will be motivated by my love of Rowlett......absolutely nothing else. It will be my thoughts about the current opportunities of our town and the people managing Rowlett's future. It's not all good, but it ain't all bad. Rowlett has received some positive notoriety, but far better is possible. Rowlett is poised for greatness, but we won't get there with a variety of "mutual admiration committees" or blind "follow the leader" mentalities. I am not simply talking about Rowlett's elected officials. Staff shares some responsibility in exercising common sense. If votes are cast just because the person sitting next to you voted a certain way, that is a recipe for disaster. These "leaders" would be counter productive. We need people who know what they're doing, or know how to find out what to do. Blind bravado (el torro poo poo) is part of a formula which can only lead to incompetent performance; thus damaging Rowlett's future. Folks, that would be screwing up my hometown. I would probably take exception to that behavior.
My next post will be to discuss what Rowlett has, and how well I think we are addressing the opportunities. We have been dealt a hand. We are in process of calling for other cards. How well we play this hand will decide Rowlett's fate........and your pocketbook, lifestyle, and our hometown.