Lindale leaders’ proactive moves still paying off

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Recently, the city of Tyler’s Planning and Zoning board gave its approval to annex a section of land at the southeast corner of Interstate 20 and U.S. Highway 69.

So why should Lindale residents care?

Because this is part of the long range plan Lindale city leaders were preparing for years ago.

Say what?

Let Lindale Mayor Jeff Daugherty explain.

“This (annexation) wasn’t unexpected by us at all,’’ the mayor said. “They have run sewer and water lines all over the place and it really doesn’t affect Lindale.’’

The “wasn’t unexpected’’ part is the key thought in this scenario. Lindale city leaders, past and present, have worked for years to make sure their city wasn’t surrounded by Tyler, efforts which included meetings with Tyler officials to hash out agreements on Extra Territorial Jurisdiction boundaries.

These ETJ boundaries favor Lindale and provide a good deal of room where annexation is concerned.

So thanks to the work from folks such as Daugherty, former mayors Robert Nelson, Jim Mallory, Bobby McClenny as well as former city manager Owen Scott, Lindale won’t become part of Tyler.

“It’s clear Tyler has more resources than (Lindale),’’ Daugherty said. “We had to play it smart when we were in discussions. There was a lot of money (involved) and a lot of pieces had to come into play.’’

A northern push wasn’t the biggest concern for Tyler officials, Daugherty points out. The southern part of the city has become the prime focus for retail development and expansion.

Lindale, on the other hand, is free to expand to the north and east but its main focus is elsewhere, Daugherty said.

“Lindale has to have I-20 to thrive,’’ he said. “Tyler had a lot of fronts they were looking at, but we were able to gain quite a bit through the (ETJ discussion) process.’’

And if Lindale development continues as it has in the past couple of years, anything Tyler builds on the southeast corner of U.S. 69 and I-20 will pale in comparison.

Triggering this hoped for retail explosion for Lindale will be new service roads and ramps on the north and south sides of I-20, which will then pave the way for the city’s big deal: the East Centennial/I-20 North Parallel Corridor, a section of the city bordered by Centennial-Jim Hogg Road-I-20 and U.S. 69.

New service roads will indicate to city officials where water and sewer lines can go and determine zoning for the area.

“First, we have to sell Lindale to companies who are interested in the area,’’ said Lindale Economic Development President Susan Gill. “Once they understand we have a plan in place, they are really interested.

“It’s all about the plan,’’ she continued. “(Builders and developers) see the city has been proactive and it keeps them interested in our area.’’

From there, retail development is expected to grow exponentially up and down I-20 – all within Lindale’s ETJ meaning all sales taxes, property taxes and other revenue sources will remain in Lindale.

While Lindale can potentially reap a monetary windfall, more consumers to the area are a good thing for everyone concerned, the mayor said.

“(Future development) brings traffic to the area,’’ Daugherty said. “Everyone will benefit.’’

This focus has attracted the attention of companies and businesses showing interest in the fertile ground that is East Texas.

“Our goal – the council and the LEDC – is to make sure we are looking at growth in every direction,’’ said Lindale City Manager Carolyn Caldwell. “Builders have been saying ‘find us land in Lindale.’ ’’

And for the foreseeable future, that land is securely in Lindale’s hands.

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