Friday, December 28, 2007

Growing with Frisco in 2008

The World Trade Center was still standing in 1999. Bill Clinton was in the White House. Osama bin Laden was just another middle-eastern name associated with Afghan rebels. And that year I moved from Salt Lake City to Frisco, Texas. At the time, Stonebriar Mall was just taking shape, you had to drive to Plano to buy beer and Coit Road ended at SH-121.

Fast forward to 2007. Things have changed a bit here and there. We’ve gone from around 30,000 residents to almost 100,000. One high school is now four, and more are on the way. We’ve got a brand-new city hall, central fire station, and police headquarters. This year alone, we’ve seen a few landmark events. The Dallas North Tollway opened, speeding access from North Frisco to the Metroplex. The SH-121 toll road project was finalized. The first city athletic center opened in the fall. Harold Bacchus Community Park was dedicated, adding multiple sports fields to the city’s inventory. It’s been a wild ride and (mostly) fun to be part of.

But I’m not one to look back. Instead, at this time of year, I prefer to cast my vision to the future. As we move from being a small time city into one of the key metropolitan entities in North Texas, we face some big challenges. Can we support this level of growth? What happens when things start to level off? Are we adequately planning for our future? Or are we writing checks now that future generations will have to cash?

The answers to these questions may not be apparent for some time to come. So I’ll crank my vision back to the short term. Here are a few things, in no particular order, that I’d like to see in Frisco in 2008.

A playoff win for FC Dallas. With a healthy Kenny Cooper back in the lineup, can the Hoops finally notch a playoff win, after 3 straight fruitless seasons?

A competitive game for Frisco vs. Centennial. Yes, there are two more high schools in town. But for the time being, this is the rivalry. And with an average victory margin of over 20 points – including a 41 point shelling this year – the Raccoons have owned the Titans.

A good turnout for the mayoral election in May. After the dismal display of apathy in last year’s city council race, I trust that city residents realize that their mayor has a far more immediate impact on their day-to-day lives than any of the officials in the upcoming national election. Don’t sit this one out, folks!

All of Frisco’s soldiers to return home safely. Anti-war. Pro-Bush. Left-wing. Right-wing. It just doesn’t matter. My desire is that all of Frisco’s sons and daughters serving in harm’s way can make it home to Frisco in one piece.

An east/west thoroughfare north of Main Street. Now that the whole 121 toll road controversy has been laid to rest, let’s hope that we can see some progress on expanding at least ONE of the major arteries –whether it’s El Dorado or Panther Creek.

New sections of 121 open. Speaking of the 121, I can’t wait for the new lanes on 121 to open from the DNT to Hillcrest. It’s maddening to see the pristine concrete on that stretch, but not drive on it.

The outdoor portion of the Athletic Center. The new athletic center is a great facility, and memberships have far outstripped expectations. If phase two – the outdoor water park – goes as smoothly, we’ll all enjoy a splashy summer.

A real bagel shop. Sorry, Corner Bakery, but your bagels seem to be a sideline. Whatever happened to the specialty bagel shop – with seventeen different flavored schmeers – on every other corner? Curse you, Dr. Atkins!

Rain spread throughout the year... We had record rainfalls in 2007. Sadly, most of it came in a short period last spring. Since then, in case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve slipped back into a dry pattern. Let’s see the moisture spread out more evenly in 2008.

… but people continue to conserve water anyway. And if the last wish doesn’t come true, let’s hope everyone remembers some of the conservation lessons we learned during the drought.

Tax rates take a dip, instead of just holding steady. We all love the great new facilities in town, and most would agree that we needed them. But perhaps next year we can curb the spending and focus on reducing the property tax rate instead, particularly for those citizens on a fixed income.

Certain land owners stop holding the city hostage and allow them to finish key roads. You know who you are.

If the past years are any indication, we’re in for a lot more twists and turns, ups and downs before this ride slows down. It’s an exciting time to live in Frisco. Here’s wishing you and yours a prosperous 2008 and beyond.

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