It's All About Money
It appears that the city of Rowlett will finalize it's plan to purchase Elgin B. Robertson park on the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard from Dallas. This has been in the works for several years and will become final sometime in April of this year... and what do they want to do with those 257 acres of land costing $31.8 million that butt up to I-30 and Dalrock Road? They want to develop it, of course! You know... high end residential and retail! Just what we need... more stores and more people (she says sarcastically!). This will be the "gateway" to our non-descript bedroom community.
Rowlett is nothing more than strip malls, traffic, housing developments and a main street where nothing happens and no one goes except for the occasional parade. And why is that, you ask? Quite simply because it is nothing more than a street. If it weren't for city hall, the library, and maybe one restaurant, there would be no reason to go there.
Someone got the brilliant idea to put a tiny circle in the roadway of Main Street with a clock tower in the middle. A terrible waste of money, imo, when the basic upkeep to roads and alleys is not being done in a timely manner. Oh well, at least I can go "downtown" and see what time it is and to tell myself it is a great time to be in Rowlett! And they thought when the DART transit train came to Rowlett and the George Bush tollway came through that business would be booming. Well, guess what... didn't happen! All of the commerce takes place in the strip malls.
And scenic? Hardly! But wait... there are big plans to turn the center of Rowlett into a bustling community with apartment buildings and a park. I say... go for it, and leave the lake property alone! Let SOMETHING in this community be green!!! But that's not how big business works. You must build and people must buy! This is the Texas way. That's exactly why no place here has any character. It is just one bedroom community sprawling to the next with the usual strip malls, fast food joints, and chain stores. Every corner looks the same with a glut of gas stations to fuel the glut of cars, a drug store or two at nearly every intersection, grocery stores, McDonalds, Taco Bueno, Wendy's, Jack-in-the-Box... you get the idea!
Some housing developments are high-end gated communities but most consist of brick cookie-cutter houses that are put up in no time at all, thanks to the cheap Mexican laborers who work their butts off for little wages so the rich can get richer. The houses are crowded together on small lots. Yes, the builder makes more money that way! After 15 or 20 years, your housing investment will start to crack apart thanks to the black gumbo/clay soil as the land dries rock hard in the drought of summer. Water is a big deal in the southwest and the more people who move in, the more water that is required and all of those people want to grow green grass and plants that require incredible amounts of water, not to mention all the private pools that need to be filled. And then they drench the properties with pesticides to keep their grass green and fend off critters. We need less grass, more native plants and more prairies. We need a balance... we need nature!
My one escape from all of this mayhem was to go to the lake... Lake Ray Hubbard, a huge reservoir where I could find some open land and green space at Robertson Park.
Just across the highway where the park continues, in the spring you can find an abundance of wildflowers in bloom as well as a gravel road that goes into a "hidden" woodland area where you will often times see hawks in the trees. But... only a few of us appreciate this as everyone is out whizzing past the area in their quest for anything but solitude in nature. And what a great place it would be for biking and walking trails.
The lake area is used for picnics, boating, fishing, walking, jogging, biking, flying kites, flying remote-controlled planes, kiteboarding, and some of us like doing photography there. Nature abounds. I have photographed herons, egrets, cormorants, geese, gulls, sandpipers, butterflies, songbirds, snakes and even a mink with a big fish in it's mouth. There are also feral cats that call this area home. But none of these things bring in money so as a result they will be taken over by big business and big development.
There is big business across the lake where Bass Pro Shop is located. There are restaurants too and all of it is ugly and the lakefront is a second thought, for sure. Just more stores and parking lots. Is that really what we want here?
Rockwall built "The Harbor" with it's faux lighthouse. How appropriate! The Hilton Hotel moved in and upscale shops and restaurants set up business. A huge fountain was erected as well as a spray park for the kids. A lot of work went into building this and was beautifully done but now, several years later, most of the stores are empty and the restaurants have closed their doors except for a few. Unfortunately the whole area was developed with no green space left! Gone! And now there is little reason to go there except for the movie theater which still draws people and maybe a bite to eat.
We need open space. We need a place in nature where children can run free and let their imaginations soar as they climb amongst the rocks by the edge of the lake rather than on man-made contraptions or explore the wildflowers in search of butterflies or ride their bikes. We need to maintain the park for the activities that it is already used for and we need to tout the fact that Rowlett is looking to the future by maintaining a green area for both the humans and the creatures that inhabit this area. For once... let's "err" on the side of simplicity. This is indeed unique in our over-built world in the metroplex. Let it speak loud and clear that Rowlett supports balance and respects nature.
But sadly, the powers that be, have other ideas, and the natural beauty that we have at the gateway to our city will be destroyed in the name of "progress" in order to make a few movers and shakers a little richer.
Thank goodness I can still escape to White Rock Lake in Dallas... a jewel of an oasis maintained for the wildlife... pelicans, coots, cormorants, ducks, geese, gulls, pigeons, monk parakeets, hawks, eagles, egrets, herons, song birds, snakes, coyotes, bobcats, possums, raccoons and the like. This beautiful area is shared with boaters, fishermen, birders, runners, bikers, walkers, dog walkers, rollerbladers and photographers. The fields of wildflowers all around the lake are incredibly beautiful and attract more wildlife. And as much as I love the Dallas Arboretum, the people of White Rock Lake stood up to the arboretum and refused to have a parking garage built on the prairie at Winfrey Pointe and also refused to have restaurants built as they wanted to keep the area as natural as possible. There are picnic areas, benches and biking trails around the entire lake. Too bad Rowlett cannot have the foresight to do the same.
This is the latest that I have read about the plans to "de-park" Robertson Park: "Development plans for the area include high-end residential single-family and multifamily properties as well as commercial properties including restaurants and hotels."
Before long, the bulldozers will come in, the concrete will be poured, houses will go up, restaurants will be built, and parking lots will abound, and shops selling things that no one really needs will take up precious space. The rich will get richer and those with the big bucks might have a view of the lake. It is all about money! Nature will be an after-thought.
While you are at it, you might as well put up another clock so we can see the precious time ticking away as we lose more and more open green space in the name of progress. This is far from progress, in my mind. As for me, I say... KEEP ROBERTSON PARK GREEN!
Keywords: Keep Robertson Park Green, Kiteboarding, Lake Ray Hubbard, Recreation, Robertson Park, Rowlett, White Rock Lake
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