Ever since I sat through the Parks & Rec meeting showing the Master Trail Plan for the City of Wylie, I have attempted to stay in contact with the Blackland Prairie Chapter of Texas Master Naturalist David Powell. I haven't talked to him for several months but he recently asked me how I was enjoying the trail around the North end of the Municipal Center. I thought, "What trail?"
Did anyone know there was a trail there? Our City strikes yet again. Has anyone really been made aware of this trail? I know the trail is not complete yet as it is only partially mulched, but it is a 1/2 mile stretch that you can enter from the North, between two small trees and wind your way around to end near the treeline next to the Library, and vice-versa. There is no reason not to be marketing every aspect of our City, especially if we want it to draw in better quality restaurants and establishments than big box discount stores and pawn shops.
Mr. Powell informed me that Parks & Rec are creating a sign for the trail. It would appear to me that the trail is being completed through the volunteer efforts of the Blackland Prairie Texas Master Naturalist group. Powell informed me that he has been moving the mulch from various piles you will see around the trail should you take it. I would think he needs volunteers as it appears to be a rather daunting task in this Texas heat.
Suffice to say, this is a worthy project because it adds value to the Municpal Complex and the quality of life for all Wylie citizens. Though it may be a bit hot at the moment, and it is overrun with grasshoppers, it is still a nice trail to take in the morning or at twighlight. I found American Crows, various butterflies, Scissor-tail Flycatchers, numerous tracks, and even coyote skat on the trail; and this is merely in summer. I can imagine the trail teeming with a plethora of wildlife come Fall.
Next spring we can look forward to more of the native prairie as Powell is taking an inventory of plants and will be seeding grasses over the winter. We should be aware that at one time, North Texas was completely Blackland Prairie, that is until urban sprawl overtook it. Only a small portion of it exists in the Heard Wildlife Park in McKinney and they have struggled to keep it, especially when the NTMWD decided to run a pipeline right through the land and sued them in 2010 in order to get their way.
I hope everyone takes the opportunity to go check out the trail and ponder what I have written about this week. We need city leaders who are capable of marketing the City properly, understanding a budget and how the City Manager came up with numbers to present at the work session, make some tough decisions on whether the City can do better or if it has outgrown its current weak leadership.
As taxpayers, are we willing to allow our leaders to run amok, assuming it is acceptable to use Rainy Day Fund dollars set aside for emergencies to pay out a bonus to employees one year, and then accept that they underestimated the budget and now have a shortfall and will abuse the employees by doling out pay cuts and furloughs in order to make it up? I find this pattern unacceptable and I hope you do too.