Development another nail in the coffin
The Lamar Middle School property on Hutchison Street is scheduled for a zoning change to “mixed use,” setting in motion the development of a five-story 120-room hotel and 160-unit single bedroom apartment complex. When the struggle over unbridled growth and development first reared its ugly head here — we used to say in a slow country drawl, “Well, if you wanna stay small, you gotta think small.” Most people didn’t understand what that really meant. We are way past that now and the pressures on the fabric and institutions of our hometown root their demise every day by continued encroachment into the peace and tranquility of our neighborhoods.
Imagine a new hotel and yet another apartment development on the corner of the University and at the very gateway to the Historic District – the obstruction of view, the overflow of traffic and parking, the elevated murmur of growth whistling through the trees as you lounge in your back yard on a sunny afternoon. The folks on Lindsey Street have already fashioned homemade signs in their yards trying to protect the limited space in front of their homes from the daily invasion of students parking close to, yet off of campus.
The worst promise is the promise that is broken. This proposition comes on the heels of the still unhappy ending of the Sessoms Canyon high-rise and the rapidly depreciating, twice flooded apartment complex on the Indian Campgrounds. People should be allowed to make their million bucks – but not without a plan in both design and integration that is in keeping with the history and heritage of this little cow town of cotton fields, Hill Country Springs and Mills.
A promise made is a debt unpaid and men with good intentions make promises. Only men with good character keep them. Something in this town deserves to earn its seniority and equity. If the preservation of our history and our heritage is among our priorities, development for development’s sake on the front doorstep of the Historic District is indeed another nail in the coffin of what we hold dear.
Carl H. Deal III