Friday, June 25, 2004

Harvard’s Strategic Master Plan for Wise County and Lake Bridgeport!

Will Wise County ever take on the challenge of how to handle growth from the Metroplex? According to the Wise County Messenger article “Road map for Wise future” published yesterday, The Harvard School of Design developed a plan for strategic growth in 2001 with recommendations, but the plan “was presented in a public forum and then placed on a shelf to gather dust. Their No. 1 suggestion for the county, to establish a planning commission, is nothing more than conversation three years later.

Last year, by an invitation extended by developers J.K. Miller and Jerome Frank (Aurora Vista) and the South Wise County Chamber of Commerce, more Harvard graduate students developed another growth plan, which “was published last month and will be presented publicly in Wise County as soon as the students’ schedules permit.”

"The gist of the report is to preserve natural resources like the LBJ National Grasslands and Lake Bridgeport, develop areas near those resources with respect to sensitivity of the areas and create trails to tie valuable lands with residential areas. . . . The key to attracting businesses is creating desirable areas for their employees, Miller added. The recreational areas, like Lake Bridgeport and the grasslands, help create a desirable atmosphere.”

Here are some of the highlights of their recommendations for Lake Bridgeport.

“The county should work with municipalities near Lake Bridgeport to attract new homes and businesses. New development should take place in areas where an argument cannot be made to protect the land.

Flooding and erosion areas along the lake and the Trinity River banks should be designed as an open space corridor, capable of accommodating an extensive trail system as well as sport facilities and open space. The open space network should connect the lake with the river and the grasslands. New retail development is encouraged in Runaway Bay.

Abandoned quarries in the Lake Bridgeport area could be transformed into tourist attractions, converted to recreational or extreme sports facilities.”

To read the entire article, go to Wise County Messenger, Road map for Wise future at

Learning from Eagle Mountain Lake

Last week I had another opportunity to speak with David R. Hooper, President of Save Eagle Mountain Lake, Inc., which was formed in 1985 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization by a group of concerned Eagle Mountain Lake residents. Its primary mission is to “preserve and protect the ecological environment and quality of Eagle Mountain Lake and its watershed by promoting community awareness and advocating lake issues.”

Not only has Save Eagle Mountain Lake, Inc., been able to push through several important projects, it has developed a strong and supportive relationship with the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD), local Chambers of Commerce and businesses.

According to Hooper, Lake Bridgeport is our vital resource and if we don’t protect its ecology and develop smart growth initiatives that keep the lake attractive for recreation and tourism, it will have a negative impact on businesses and positive future growth for all of Wise County.

Although Lake Bridgeport and Eagle Mountain Lake have several differences (most notably the fact that Eagle Mountain Lake is within Tarrant County), we share much in common – especially the watershed.

Mr. Hooper has kindly offered to come out to speak to Lake Bridgeport Residents later this summer. If you are interested in meeting with Mr. Hooper, please Email me!

Visit Eagle Mountain Lake, Inc., at

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