Exclusive: Former mayors express concerns about College Station's rapid growth
Some familiar faces are sounding the alarm about College Station's future, and they claim their warnings are falling on deaf ears.
Each month the Committee of Former Mayors of College Station gather to discuss housing, development, public safety, traffic and infrastructure challenges facing the city.
"There are neighborhoods, in my opinion, being destroyed because they're tearing down homes and putting up houses that rent by the room," said Larry Ringer, College Mayor from '86-'96.
The former city leaders all agree that growth is good, but mismanaged growth could corrode the community they once served. Collectively they also feel a majority of the current city council is too responsive to development needs, and have pushed residential concerns to the side.
"Councils go through cycles, and I think this one is more interested in improving development, and not so much in protecting existing neighborhoods," said Ringer.
The group wants to become a resource for current leadership at city hall, but they feel their thoughts, suggestions, ideas and concerns have mostly fallen on deaf ears.
In an effort to continue providing homeowners with a voice, the mayors recently assembled the College Station Citizens Advisory Council. The new group will be an ensemble of neighborhood representatives from across the city who will provide feedback and policy recommendations to the mayors.
Members of the mayor's committee include Ben White, Lynn McIlhaney, Larry Ringer, Gary Halter, Lorence Bravenec, and Ron Silvia.
The former mayors say the most effective way for citizens to put their city on the right path is to vote.
"Please voters. Get out and vote," said Ben White. "If we're not careful we're going to end up like Austin. We're going to landlocked and traffic will be a nightmare. I think if we have managed growth, 20 years from now we're going to be the same outstanding city we are today."