Decisions we make now pave way for future
Published 10:18 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016
The long Labor Day holiday weekend provided a unique opportunity to go back in time. It provided an opportunity to head back to a part of the country, part of my career that I had not seen in more than 15 years.
And, it was a chance to cheer on my favorite team.
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Over the weekend, Stephanie and I headed west on I-20 to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for the primary reason of taking in the Alabama-Southern California football game; well, it was a game for the first quarter any way.
But while in the Metroplex, we took a little day trip to Frisco, Texas; by DFW standards a small suburb of Dallas.
In August 2000, I was named editor of four newspapers in that area; The Frisco Enterprise, The Celina Record, The Colony Record and The Little Elm Journal.
At the time, Frisco was among the top 10 fastest growing cities in the nation with a population of a little more than 30,000 people. The huge Stonebriar Centre Mall had just opened and the city was going through significant road construction to meet and prepare for the growth that was ahead.
Fifteen years later, Frisco now has a population of more than 150,000. In 2009 it was the fastest growing city in the nation and today is home to the new headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys, the Frisco Roughriders AAA baseball team and an indoor skydiving facility.
In 2000, the Frisco Independent School District had just announced the name of the second high school in the city. Now, they are preparing for their ninth high school.
It is amazing to have seen this city so many years later, but I knew it was coming. I had no idea of what I would find, but I knew the planning and foresight that had gone in to the Frisco of today.
During my time in Frisco, I was responsible for covering the Frisco City Council. Every week the council would meet and would go over the normal city-related items and discretionary spending requests. But, most of their time was vetting plans for developments, plats and zoning requests.
One of the largest products, of which I saw the fruits of over the weekend, was what was known as the Preston Road Overlay.
Preston Road is a main thoroughfare through Frisco and is where much of the city’s retail development was and has been centered.
The overplan was by many standards a strict zoning plan, detailing new sidewalks, green spaces, highway and lighting improvements, and provided guidelines with what kind of signs could be placed in front of businesses. The sign portion allowed for signs to be of a certain size and height and there was no variance.
Today, Preston Road is impressive and provides an attractive entryway in and through Frisco.
In many ways, zoning is a cuss word when it comes to many government leaders and developers, especially in the South. We don’t like people telling us what to do sometimes.
But, while we in Vicksburg and Warren County do not have the ubran sprawl of Dallas and Fort Worth to fuel our growth, we have the same opportunity and same responsibility Frisco faced 15 years ago.
The decisions we make now, the guidelines we put in place now will and can bear fruit years from now. If we put together a full-scale, in-depth development plan, much like the Preston Road Overlay in Frisco, just imagine what we could see of Halls Ferry Road, Pemberton Boulevard or downtown.
This weekend was a nice opportunity to look back and see what has become of a former hometown. But it also provided a spark and incentive to see what we could do in Vicksburg, my hometown now.
Tim Reeves is publisher of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.