Friday, December 26, 2008

What’s on Tap for 2009

Well, 2008 was certainly a year that’ll linger in my memory. Few would argue that the election signaled a turning point in America – and in Frisco, Texas as well. The process itself was certainly a spectacle. Start with the requisite discussions of qualifications. Mix in a few accusations of ethical conflicts. Then, toss in a hot-button “values” issue to stir up the grass-roots types. Yes folks, this year’s Mayoral election was all that and a bag of chips! (Oh, there was that other election in November. But hey, this is “The Frisco Line” not “The Beltway Blog”!)

Outside of politics, Frisco residents have some other highlights to remember from the year gone by. We’ve seen the first sections of the SH-121 tollway open. Centennial High School got its first win over the Raccoons, even if it did take overtime. And Babe’s Chicken House opened in the Heritage Center. Mmmm…

But let us not dwell on the past. Instead, let’s look into 2009 and see what the crystal ball has in store for our sleepy little suburb.

Another Election – Before we have a chance to catch our collective breath from last year’s contests, we’re faced with another pair of open City Council seats. Both Tony Felker and Joy West face the reality of term limits and will step down in June. That leaves wide-open races to replace them. We certainly had no shortage of candidates for the two positions claimed by Bart Crowder and Scott Johnson last year. Here’s hoping that an equally qualified slate registers for the next contest. In particular, I hope we’ll see a collection of minority and female candidates to provide some much-needed diversity to our government.

Another New High School – It just wouldn’t be Frisco if we didn’t have another new high school open its doors. Heritage High – located on Eldorado Parkway near Custer – will be the fifth high school in the Frisco Independent School district. Incoming principal Mark Mimms is already facing the most daunting task of his new administration: what’s the mascot going to be? Raccoons, Titans, Wolverines and Redhawks already have a place in Frisco lore. What’s next?

The state of Frisco high schools is more than an academic interest for me. The eldest of the Frisco Line offspring is set to enter ninth grade next year. Which makes me happy for…

The Renovated StarCenter Opening – For too many years, Frisco’s high school seniors and their families had to trek to Garland and other neighboring cities for their graduation ceremonies. That ends this year as the Dr Pepper StarCenter’s Deja Blue Ice Arena is being expanded to handle, among other things, commencement ceremonies for all our local schools. In addition, the center is poised to become a top notch venue for concerts, sporting events and other activities. This, along with Pizza Hut Park and Dr Pepper Ballpark (home of the Rough Riders), should help cement Frisco as a hub for these events in North Dallas. And that, of course, should help insulate us from…

The Impact of the Economic Downturn – Thus far, Frisco has been spared the brunt of the economic turmoil that rocked the nation – and the world – in 2008. We’ve seen a drop in the growth rate from a peak of 300 new homes per month, down to a current level just under 100. But we’re still growing, and that has helped soften the blow. To date, the city has been able to keep tax rates flat, while maintaining current service levels. If, as some expect, the worst is over and we see an uptick as 2009 progresses, then we should weather the storm well. If not, then we can hope that the City Council, including its two newest members, will continue the fiscal conservative policies that have gotten us this far.

Last year I wished for a “real” bagel shop in Frisco. My pleas were answers when The Bagel Factory opened on Preston Road. Sadly, my wish for an FC Dallas playoff victory was dashed. So, let’s toss that one out there again. C’mon Hoops… how ‘bout it?

And finally, as with last year – and all-too many before that – it is my fervent hope that all of Frisco’s sons, daughters, mothers and fathers serving our country overseas make it home safely. As the son of a career military man who served in Vietnam, I know only too well the burden borne by the families left behind.

Frisco continues to be a great place to call home. I’m sure the coming year will have its share of ups and downs. Here’s wishing you and yours a prosperous 2009 and beyond.

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