You should by now have begun to see advertisements on a Bayside Regatta, to be held on Lake Ray Hubbard. A regatta usually means a sailboat race. It does in this case.
Folks, there's a lot going on here besides a sailboat race. Rowlett's future is also significantly effected by this cosmic event. A little history is in order.
Three events substantially effecting Rowlett have happened over the past three years. One is the arrival of DART. Another is the arrival of Bush Tollway. More recently, the old Robertson Park became Bayside, and was annexed into Rowlett. Bayside could develop into
$1 BILLION of real estate development, thus adding considerably to Rowlett' tax base. These are critical stars in the above mentioned constellation. All are good for Rowlett.
On the negative side, Rowlett and parts of Garland suffered a disastrous tornado. In Rowlett, 1100 homes were damaged and nearly 400 were totally destroyed. The tornado caused untold amounts of grief, hardship, and loss. However, the tornado revealed a heretofore hidden asset of North Texas. The character of our people was already at work while the sound of the funnel was still being heard. The funnel missed our house by 300 feet. I could hear the sirens of the first respondents while I could still hear the awful noise of the tornado moving off to the northeast. Not only did our police and firemen respond spectacularly, neighboring towns and cities sent help immediately. There didn't seem to be any meetings. Things just started happening. This event also became a star in the above constellation. It demonstrated the will and character of not only Rowlett residents, but all nearby towns of North Texas. Rowlett received national attention stemming from the tornado event. We are proud to be from Rowlett, Texas.
So, the stage is now set.
A couple of months ago, a sailing friend approached me. His name is Ron Surley and he is a consummate sailor. I'm a pretty good sailor, but I believe Ron is a little better. Anyhow, Ron asked me if the City of Rowlett would be interested in sponsoring a Regatta. I didn't know, but I thought it would be a great idea. I used to compete in a Regatta called "The Cancer Regatta" whereby all net proceeds were donated to the Cancer Society. I knew a lot of funding was needed for tornado victims. It was an easy decision to propose donating all net proceeds to tornado victims. Ron didn't know Rowlett "officialdom," but I did. I set up the meeting with the mayor, Todd, and the City Manager, Brian. They loved the idea and quickly supported taking the next step. The Rowlett Chamber of Commerce was a very important part of our equation. It was important they were aboard. They are experienced in conducting bazaars, gatherings, events, etc. So........if Ron Surley was to organize the "on the water" sailing event, and the Chamber was to organize the "solid ground" events, we could have the beginnings of a happening. The Chamber didn't even think. They joined up immediately. To energize everyone's plans, Kent Donahue, developer of Bayside, leaped into the efforts and donated use of land at Bayside and $10,000 for start up funding. Those funds will go toward the advertising and general organizing of the event. Kent's signing up for the program put fuel into Bayside's entry into Rowlett. Kent has been to the meetings and has already become a great corporate citizen of Rowlett.
I knew things were coming together, but it came home when I went to a meeting about the Regatta on Wednesday afternoon, August 24. The people present were downright impressive. Kent Donahue and a couple of associates were there. Rowlett's Police Chief, Fire Chief and Fire Marshall were all there, along with other members of their staff. Diane Lemmons, President of the Chamber of Commerce, and some of her staff were present. I can not emphasize enough the help that Diane and her Chamber is contributing to this endeavor. It is outstanding. The sailing community was represented by Ron Surley, Bob Barnes, and myself. There were 12-14 people standing in the middle of the road at the south end of Bayside in the hot sun hashing out details of the proposed Regatta and shore side events. I was struck by the "can do" attitude and the complete cooperation of the various entities. One amusing thought came to mind. There was not one politician present. Everyone there was someone who make things work. No pomp and circumstance. Everyone there was good at what they do, and they know how to do it. Politicians just get in the way. I am now confident this will be a grand event.
All the above is about a sailboat race. However, my opening comments said a lot more than a sailboat race was going on.
If all goes as planned, this event will become an annual event, with perhaps different charities over the years receiving the benefits. This will become an introduction of Bayside to North Texas. The importance of Bayside to Rowlett is enormous. Rowlett will, once again, leap into the news. People all over North Texas will investigate what all the hubbub is about. Rowlett will be seen as a waterfront community, a most desirable real estate feature, and that is special in the North Texas area. Visitors will learn that, from Rowlett, you can take a train to athletic events, the airport, and employment centers all over the DFW area. Also, there is an Interstate Highway going right thru Bayside and a Tollway going right thru the middle of Rowlett. We have 23 miles of shoreline on Lake Ray Hubbard, a 23,000 acre lake.
You need to know all this because your personal net worth will benefit from increased value of your home if this event meets, or exceeds expectations. Rowlett will become a most desirable place to live. Real estate taxes should go down, and you will be proud of Rowlett. In the course of events, you might become a sailor, and there are worse things than that.
When taken in total, all the above is a complete re-branding of Rowlett. Rowlett will no longer be a little known backwater suburb of Dallas. Rowlett will become truly one of the great places to live in the Metroplex.
This is a win-win event. You must support the Regatta. Tell all your friends about it. Especially tell your friends that live outside Rowlett. The members of the Chamber deserve your support. Let people discover what we have in Rowlett. Business leaders are not exempt. They need to see what Rowlett and Bayside have to offer.
The Regatta is October 1. Be there. A lot of good things happen if you are.