Growth predictions coming true in both good ways, bad

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerrie Whiteley/ Herald Democrat

Saturday as I was running some errands, I found myself stopped on the overpass on Loy Lake Road at U.S. Highway 82. As I was sitting there at the light, I looked to the west as saw all of the construction going on and from the back of my mind, I could hear the late Gene Short telling me, "In about 20 years, you won't even recognize this place."

He was right. Short, of course. was a Grayson County commissioner serving the people of Precinct 4 for 24 years. He died in October of 2016 so he did get to see some of the growth he predicted underway. But as I sat there on that bridge Saturday, I wondered what he would think of everything going on on now.

Short, many man remember, was largely responsible for walking the county through the extension of State Highway 289. The project took him 12 years to complete and came in under budget.

I am sure it was during one of our many conversations about that project, that Short told me in a couple of decades Grayson County would look a lot different than it had when I was growing up here in Whitesboro. 

A recent trip to my hometown, sure proved that right. Just as things are changing here in Sherman and Denison, so too are they changing in other parts of the county. I just can't believe all of the growth going on in Whitesboro. 

When I left there to go to college, we had two chain restaurants and one stop light, that I remember. Now the Northern edge of town is filled with chain fast food places and I think there are two more stop lights there as well. 

But there are also so many more housing developments. I was blown away by the number of new housing areas in the city that I once called home and I only drove through the northern part of town. 

Recently a friend posted on a social media page that she doesn't mind all of the construction going along the highways and frontage roads here in Sherman. I can't say that I don't mind it exactly. I understand it. I know why it is needed and I know that people like Gene Short have been planning for it for decades, but it is still hard to get used to right here in our own backyard.

I remember when, for a few years, I drove back and forth to Dallas daily to work as a paralegal. It seemed like every day the route was changed by some sort of construction once one passed Anna. And when I would get to Anna on my way home, I would be so relieved because I knew everything was going to be smooth sailing from there on to my drive way. 

Now the construction starts here and still seems to continue all of the way into Dallas proper. 

Short's point about the growth was that he and the rest of the local leaders had to work hard two and three decades ago to manage the growth that they knew would be coming now or it would be managing us. Some days, it is hard to tell exactly, how that worked out so far. 

But whenever I see the construction areas change and move around the city and county, I think of Short, and his contemporaries and their efforts to see us to and through the growth we are experiencing now.