As I often do, around sunrise a few Sundays ago I took a motorcycle ride through Williamson County. I went out on the county roads south and east of Hutto, and saw the corn, sorghum, and cotton growing. It is one of my favorite things, to ride throughout the county away from the traffic and take in the sights, smells, and the warm morning air.
Going west, especially on 1431 past Cedar Park, the ride is more hilly and winding. It’s beautiful country, but requires concentration. The most dangerous part of the ride is picking up speed down hill with a tight bend at the bottom. That’s not the time to open the throttle. It’s not always necessary to put on the brakes, either. More importantly, it is the time in the ride to plan ahead, watch for traffic and wandering critters, and proceed with caution.
WilCo is booming – we’re racing downhill.
The rapid growth we are experiencing is the number one issue facing our county today, and the single issue encompassing every other issue in our county. We’re growing fast, but we need to be smart. We need to watch out for our neighbors, and we need to make sure we don’t run roughshod over the best aspects of our communities. Whether it is public safety, transportation infrastructure, public health, or our judicial system, we need to look at our population boom as an opportunity to take stock and make sure we are not leaving anyone or anything behind.
From the introduction of the railroad, to the damming of the San Gabriel, to the construction of Interstate 35, change has been the only constant in Williamson County for the past 150 years. But if change is inevitable, how can we preserve what is distinctive and good about WilCo? How can we keep it from becoming a massive, plain vanilla suburb, indistinguishable from any other suburb in the nation? How can we ensure that we are keeping the best aspects of our county intact?
These are questions that matter deeply to me. This is why I am a supporter of our WilCo parks and nature preserves. It’s why I am saddened to have attended the last rodeo in Georgetown. It’s why I was thrilled to see the Old Stagecoach Inn find a new home where Brushy Creek crosses the Chisholm Trail. It’s why I identify with the 5th generation family farmers south and east of Hutto, who fear their livelihoods are being threatened. And it is why I have made my home in the historic downtown area of Round Rock.
I have never served on anyone’s economic development board, but I do serve on Round Rock’s Historic Preservation Commission. In that role, I have had to make difficult decisions to balance the development taking place in the downtown RR area with the concern for preserving the distinctive, historic character of Round Rock. I am in favor of growth and development. But I am for smart development that respects property rights, provides opportunities for all, preserves the beauty and character of our county, while making sure we can still get from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time.
Join me in moving Williamson County forward, together.