The scheduled August 26th meeting of the Open Space Alliance is being canceled due to the County Commissioners being out of town. Our next monthly meeting will be September 23, 2015.
At our recent Community Workshop, one of the graphics showed the option of a lakefront trail in Rockwall. This was included based on responses to a survey of county residents.
Since the lake and take line area around the lake are owned by the City of Dallas, there are legal and contractual issues that make such a trail impossible. The leadership of the Rockwall County Open Space Alliance takes the position that this impossible option should not have been shown, regardless of the survey.
We apologize for any confusion this action has caused and wish to assure residents along the take line that there is absolutely no intention to pursue this course.
Rockwall County Open Space Alliance
OPEN SPACE ALLIANCE
Rockwall County Historic Courthouse
4:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2015
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Bob DeJean, presiding – 4:00 p.m.
New members and visitors – 4:02 p.m.
Act on minutes of June 24, 2015 – 4:05 p.m.
Status of OSMP – 4:05-4:30 p.m.
Summary of Community Workshop
Green infrastructure opportunities/funding strategies
Mikel Wilkins, Verdunity Team
Questions/Answers from Advisory Board – 4:30-4:40 p.m.
Any additional new business – All cities
Next meeting, August 26, 2015
ADJOURN – 4:50 p.m.
Each of our RCOSA Executive Board has a passion and many reasons for being so heavily involved and invested in the development and protection of open space in Rockwall County. Here are the thoughts of board member Becky Eason Burkett.
I’ve always said, as a builder & developer’s daughter, I have seen the good and bad in suburban growth. There are examples of bad growth all over the Metroplex. I have always strived, as my parents did, to work to ensure that there is good growth in Rockwall County, where I have lived since 1968 when my parents, sister and I moved to Rockwall County. I believe we are at that threshold of growth that determines if it becomes good or bad growth. That’s why the Open Space Master Plan is important to me and to my family.
Good, strategic planning is important in order to provide the framework needed by city management, planners and councils to be more certain that the vision they have for their communities is the best one possible and takes into account all the constituencies that live there. Different people, in different stages of life, require and request different amenities in their communities. Whether it be playground space, golf courses, bike/hike trails, lakefront parks, watershed protection, abandoned railroad tracks-to-trails, multi-use athletic fields, or simply undeveloped agriculture or open space, having a master plan in place to inform and guide development helps put all the pieces together county-wide.
My family appreciates the efforts of the Open Space Alliance, the county and member cities, to Keep the Green Space in Our Growth!
Each of our RCOSA Executive Board has a passion and many reasons for being so heavily involved and invested in the development and protection of open space in Rockwall County. Here are the thoughts of board member Charlie Pratt.
I have lived in this beautiful area with my family for 36 years. My three
children all went through our wonderful Rockwall ISD schools and
are college graduates. My wife Patsy was very involved in the early days
as President of Women’s League. Newcomers, Amica and is still very active
in the community. Since my years as Mayor of Heath, in the late 80’s and
early 90’s, we have seen quality growth in our County, but we have never
been faced with the fast growing development that is now happening in our
very small county. It is important that we all have a sense of urgency
toward our preservation of Open Space for Rockwall County. It will make an
important difference in the quality of life for all of our citizens in the
future. I am extremely proud to be part of the Open Space Alliance for
Each of our RCOSA Executive Board has a passion and many reasons for being so heavily involved and invested in the development and protection of open space in Rockwall County. Here are the thoughts of board member Dale S. Morgan.
My wife Kay was born and raised in Rockwall County and so after college,
the Air Force, and a few years living back in the Metroplex, we returned to
Rockwall in 1974 … a time when open space was almost all one would see
traveling about the county. Now we find that open space is one of those
things that can be easily taken for granted … like clean air, plenty of
wildlife habitat, and clean abundant water, … until very little of it
remains, and living the “good life” becomes more difficult.
A recent Dallas News story might help illustrate these points. During
September, I noticed a report about the City of Plano preparing to purchase
the 194 acre Los Rios golf course for $3.5 million with long-term plans to
return this land to a more natural state to help make up serious open space
deficits in that city’s older eastern sector. Plano is well known for its
impressive and robust growth over the past 40+ years or so …and it
appears some of that dynamic growth came so fast that preservation of
essential open space was somehow overlooked. I hope the Rockwall area will
“keep green space in our growth” and avoid big open space deficits in the
future … and such difficult and costly corrective actions.
Citizens of Rockwall County are fortunate that even with all the rapid
growth and development happening throughout the county, we still have a
limited time of wonderful opportunities to try and work to get our open
space planning right! This is why RCOSA was formed and why it’s important
Each of our RCOSA Executive Board has a passion and many reasons for being so heavily involved and invested in the development and protection of open space in Rockwall County. Here are the thoughts of our Vice-Chairman, Nell Welborn.
In 2011 when citizens were challenged by Rockwall County Judge Jerry Hogan to tell the Commissioners Court what we wanted Rockwall County to look like in the future, in my mind there was one clear answer:
What Rockwall County will look like in the future depends on how we use the land today.
In this small county, it is important that the cities talk with each other and coordinate open space plans to maximize the economic value and minimize the environmental impact of growth. We must be smarter about how we treat our natural watersheds and flood plains. Patterned after the Traffic Consortium, the RCOSA provides the venue for collaborative decision making, as
evidenced by the Open Space Master Plan getting under way. People who are concerned about the kind of place we’re leaving for our children are encouraged to take an active part in this Plan.
The time is now and we are the people to make a difference in what the county is like for future generations.
In 1992, Texas A&M University completed a Rockwall County Growth Management Plan, a study with the goal “to preserve and enhance the quality of life.”
In 2008, an Open Space Goals and Finance Assessment was completed by North Central Texas Council of Governments and The Trust for Public Lands resulting in the adoption of three Open Space Planning/Conservation Visioning Objectives:
1. To preserve quality storm water corridors,
2. To secure a major central park, and
3. To protect/establish corridors essential for open space connectivity countywide.
In 2011, a countywide Strategic Planning Exercise reaffirmed that the findings of the 2008 study were still valid concerns.
Now, in 2015, we are at a point where all the critical elements have converged. For the first time in almost 25 years, all the pieces are in place.
· We have leadership and interested citizens,
· We have supportive city and county governments,
· We have funding.
There may never be another window of opportunity this strong. We cannot afford to waste it. Join this effort and help us Keep the Green Space in our Growth.
Each of our RCOSA Executive Board has a passion and many reasons for being so heavily involved and invested in the development and protection of open space in Rockwall County. Here are the thoughts of our Chairman, Robert DeJean.
“The residents of Rockwall County living in the cities of Rockwall County and out in the countryside have at hand the greatest opportunity to influence how the next generations will experience Open Space here at home. Smart, well planned, sustainable growth with Open Spaces is our generation’s responsibility to future generations. By acting wisely, we will provide for maximum property values, great employment opportunities, lower future tax
cost and quality environments in which to live, work and play.
Working Together has become a new great tradition for all in Rockwall County.”
Rockwall County – Open Space Master Plan & Implementation Guidelines
PRESS RELEASE / WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENT
June 19, 2015
Community Workshop for County Open Space Plan to be Held on July 15th
Earlier this year, Rockwall County began the process of developing its first county-wide open space master plan. A previous study completed in 2008 outlined three primary goals that the master plan effort is addressing:
- Preserve quality storm water corridors (including creeks, channels, flood plains, tributaries and easements).
- Protect/establish corridors essential for county-wide open space connectivity for non-motorized mobility modes.
- Investigate the need for a major preserve/public amenity in the County that could potentially be developed in the future.
For the past five months, the consultant team of VERDUNITY and WRT has been consolidating data and plans from each of the cities, conducting citizen surveys and interviewing stakeholder groups, and meeting with representatives from the county, cities, and various state and federal agencies to get input on anticipated future needs and potential funding programs. Efforts and findings have been discussed along the way with citizen volunteers on the project’s steering committee and the Open Space Alliance Executive Committee.
A community workshop to present the work completed to date and get additional input for the Plan is going to be held on Wed. July 15th from 6-8pm at the County Courthouse on Yellowjacket Ln. For those new to the county, this will be a great opportunity to learn more about the existing parks, trails and cultural/historic facilities and programs available across the county, and the role planning played in getting those facilities built. The results of the recent community survey will be shared, and then participants will provide input on potential future opportunities to preserve natural areas and open space, enhance outdoor education for both school districts, expand off-street trail systems and provide more areas for passive recreation in the county as other areas develop over time.
The OSMP will consolidate the existing and proposed plans from each of the cities into a countywide master plan that can be utilized as a guide by the County and individual cities to preserve and protect natural systems and designate open spaces and corridors for future recreational considerations and trail connections throughout the county. For additional information about the project or to volunteer for a committee or stakeholder group, please contact RCOSA Vice Chair Nell Wellborn at firstname.lastname@example.org or the consultant’s project manager, Kevin Shepherd at email@example.com. Additional information about the project can be found at www.rockwallosa.org and www.facebook.com/rockwallopenspace
Please join us Wednesday, May 27th, at 4pm in Courtroom of the Historic Rockwall County Courthouse for the next meeting of the RCOSA Advisory Board. The agenda follows:
OPEN SPACE ALLIANCE
Rockwall County Historic Courthouse
4:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, 2015
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Bob DeJean, presiding 4:00 p.m.
New members, visitors 4:02 p.m.
Act on minutes of March 25, 2015 4:05 p.m.
Status of OSMP 4:05 -4:30 p.m.
Report on May 19th Workshop
Kevin Shepherd, Project Manager, Verdunity Team
Questions/Answers from Advisory Board 4:30-4:40 p.m.
Any additional new business
Next meeting, June 24, 2015
ADJOURNMENT 4:50 p.m.
In a recent article in the Business section of the Dallas Morning News, the reporter notes many examples of new uses of open space in master planned communities – uses such as community gardens, space for a neighborhood farmers market, and many trails and other open space amenities. Read the article here if you haven’t already read it through other means, and give us your feedback.
What do you think? Should the developers that are coming into Rockwall County consider these new types of amenities in their concept plans?
Nell Welborn, Vice Chair of our OSA Executive Committee, Becky Burkett, Executive Committee Member, Commissioner Cliff Sevier, and our consultant from Verdunity, Kevin Shepherd, attended a highly informative meeting with many members of the area and state water and resources boards and commissions to gain insights into how we might incorporate stormwater management, stream water quality, regional detention systems, and more in our master planning process. Representatives from NCTCOG, US Army Corps of Engineers, Texas Water Development Board, NTMWD, Natural Resources Conservation Service, TCEQ, and TP&W were in attendance and gave great insights into our county’s watersheds. Did you know that we have three distinct watersheds running through Rockwall County? ,