From one end of Lindale to the other, bulldozers are pushing dirt, workers are smoothing concrete and hammers are ringing.
For Lindale Mayor Jeff Daugherty all this activity means one thing: progress.
For the 11 years he’s been on the Lindale City Council -- which includes the past two years as its mayor -- Daugherty has squinted into the future and formed a vision as to what might be in store for his city.
What he’s seen has produced a growing excitement about Lindale’s future.
Growth for cities and towns is almost always dependent on companies and businesses locating within that town.
For Lindale, the advantage has been the steady east-west stream along Interstate 20 and the north-south flow on U.S. Highway 69.
“Our goal is to eventually connect the dots,’’ Daugherty said, referring to a refurbished downtown to I-20. “I truly believe when we bought the old Allen Cannery that was the first step in helping save this community.’’
At one time, the Allen Cannery was an essential part of Lindale’s economy, providing work for residents and ad valorem revenue to the city’s coffers.
But after it was shuttered in the 1970s, it stood empty save for rodents and an occasional indigent.
City officials bought the land for pennies on the dollar and even though there wasn’t a long range plan at the time, Daugherty knew the property was essential to remaking downtown.
“When I first ran for council (2007) I was determined to see this city do well,’’ he said. “We needed good parks, places that families could enjoy and we needed a city where people wanted to live.’’
But at the time, Lindale’s budget was strained. Council members took out their pruning shears and went to work.
“There are three things that make a city move -- taxes, water sales and sewer sales,’’ he said.
Property taxes have remained virtually unchanged during that time, but thanks to business expansion the tax base is wider.
The Cannery is now a thriving center with restaurants, shops, the North Campus of Tyler Junior College and a city park, complete with walking trails and soon, a splash pad.
Picker’s Pavilion, at one time an abandoned building in the middle of a field to the south of the Cannery District, is a hive of activity several times during the year – specifically during Countryfest and the Piney Wood Wine Trail.
And further south, an ambitious plan near Interstate 20 may be the crowning jewel.
It’s known as the East Centennial/I-20 North Parallel Corridor and in layman’s terms, it’s the area bounded by East Centennial, U.S. Highway 69, Jim Hogg Road and Interstate 20.
New service roads and ramps for I-20 near Jim Hogg Road have been approved, which is the necessary first stage in this development plan.
Just as important as the access roads, city officials say, is the placement of water and sewer lines as well as determining zoning for the area.
Possibilities are endless for this area, city officials said.
These new and essential service roads will be a conduit from I-20 into future retail and housing developments.
“I’ve really enjoyed see this growth and seeing the greater good that will come from it,’’ the mayor said. “And as we grow, we are challenged to stay on top of it.’’
Obviously, growth doesn’t happen without a certain amount of sacrifice.
“There will always be growing pains,’’ Daugherty said. “But (growth) isn’t going to stop. The question is do you want it controlled or out of control?’’
The key, Daugherty believes, is how to manage this anticipated growth so Lindale will continue to offer “Good Country Living’’ for everyone.
“You’ve got to know when to pull back on the reins and when to let the horses run,’’ he said.