Tag Archives: Princeton

Princeton’s evolution continues

My wife and I moved into a city that appeared to be a place without definition, without an identity.

Princeton, Texas, though, was — and is — a city in transition. It is transitioning from a tiny burg that straddles a major U.S. highway into something that is, well, considerably more significant.

The city council’s decision this past week to rezone a 91-acre parcel on the north side of that highway, U.S. 380, to make room for a major shopping complex signals how the city has decided to identify itself.

As a new resident, having lived here for five years, I welcome the change. It provides us with a variety of choices to spend disposable income and to boost the revenue stream for a city that is growing — rapidly, I must say — into municipal adulthood.

The retail complex will comprise 36 outlets. Some of ’em are huge, man. About the only thing missing that would satisfy my taste is a movie theater; but perhaps that also will be on the way … maybe even soon!

I have mentioned already that I do have a concern about the traffic that is bound to be affected dramatically along the aforementioned highway. It’s already become a proverbial “parking lot” during rush-hour in the morning and late evening; westbound traffic comes to a halt in the morning, while eastbound traffic does the same thing in in the evening.

The state wants to divert much of that traffic to bypass lanes that would skirt around the highway. Princeton is one of many communities facing the same traffic woes along 380.

I am going to welcome the new business that is headed our way. It helps turn Princeton into something much more than a community full of new houses with occupants who at this moment have to go somewhere else to invigorate other cities’ economy.

I certainly am hoping Princeton can join the municipal “big leagues” in pretty short order.

County calls out TxDOT

Texas transportation planners apparently believe that what they giveth they can taketh away without being challenged.

Not so fast, according to Collin County’s Commissioners Court.

Commissioners have sent the Texas Transportation Commission a letter requesting the state return $490 million it had set aside for highway improvements that run through the heart of one of Texas’s fastest-growing counties.

Full disclosure: I live in the area affected by this still-growing dispute between the county and the state.

The letter references work planned for U.S. Highway 380 and Texas Spur 399 in McKinney. The 380 project includes a freeway bypass that TxDOT is considering for Princeton, as well as several other communities within the Collin County boundary. TxDOT wants to divert the money for high-occupancy vehicle lanes in Harris County.

Collin County commissioners are having none of it. Nor should they.

TxDOT has gone through a number of public hearings, taking hours upon hours of public comment on the impact of the highway improvements planned for cities such as Princeton, Farmersville, McKinney, Prosper, and Little Elm.

Now it wants to yank a sizable portion of the money it had set aside for that work to build HOV lanes in Houston?

I want to stand with Collin County’s Commissioners Court on this matter. I likely won’t live long enough to see the completion of the massive project being planned for Highway 380, but I damn sure want the state to listen to this elected governing board, which has stated in unambiguous language that it wants the money restored.

“Mobility is part of what drives the strong economic engine of North Texas and specifically Collin County,” commissioners wrote to the Transportation Commission. “A delay on such critical projects can have an impact on state revenues” and would have a negative impact on air pollution associated with traffic congestion in the region, they wrote.

Those of us who live here and who have to tolerate the stand-still traffic patterns along Highway 380 shouldn’t tolerate this takeaway of public money.


Time of My Life, Part 45: Back to where it began

I am positive you’ve heard it said that there are some things you always remember knowing how to do.

Riding a bicycle comes to mind.

Well, I spent the bulk of my journalism career writing opinion pieces for newspapers in Oregon and Texas. However, like most ink-stained wretches, I got started covering news events, or writing features, chronicling the events that made our community tick.

I am now retired from the daily grind. However, I have been given a chance to return to where it began for me. I am a freelance reporter for a weekly newspaper near where my wife and now reside.

I asked for this gig when we took out a subscription to the Princeton Herald, a weekly publication that is delivered via mail every Thursday. The publisher of the Herald, C&S Media, also publishes papers in other communities nearby. Farmersville is one of them.

The “S” in C&S Media is Sonia Duggan. She asked me recently if I would be interested in covering Farmersville, which is about seven miles east of Princeton. I said yes. So I am back in the game.

I attend Farmersville City Council meetings twice a month, reporting on what transpires at City Hall. I get to write the occasional feature story about Farmersville, a growing community in Collin County, Texas.

The most rewarding part of it, though, is getting to know the people who make the city. I am developing sources, becoming familiar with the community’s unique qualities. I am making my presence known at council meeting.

Man, it’s just like it’s always been.

Moreover, I get to cover these stories straight up, without injecting my own opinion into any of the text I write for the newspaper.

My boss knows, too, that my wife and I might not be available all the time to cover every story that comes along. Given that we’re retired, we have the luxury of traveling in our recreational vehicle, which we do during peak driving season in North Texas. That’s OK, she says, expressing her keen understanding that a freelance gig enables us to operate without too many burdensome requirements.

I just have to say, though, that learning about a new community fills me with great joy and, yes, even a bit of anxiousness. I expect the joy to remain even as I grow less anxious over what I discover about Farmersville.