Mayor’s Update #19: Blanco — A Gem In the Rough
By Mayor Bruce Peele
When I decided to run for mayor of Blanco, I discussed with a citizen the need for a Code Compliance Officer for the City. The citizen told me not to bother as, in his words, “Blanco always has been and always will be a little dirty city. So just get used to it.” I don’t buy it. I love Blanco and I think the person was wrong. I think Blanco has a great future, one in which no one will ever call us a “dirty little city.”
Blanco finally hired a Code Compliance Officer and has developed common sense rules to shake off the dust of the past and show off the true nature of Blanco to the world. With the help of our Code Officer, the direction of our City Council, and the cooperation of Blanco citizens, we are seeing the City being transformed step by step into one all of us, but especially our long term residents who remember the “good old days,” can be proud of.
There is an immense, but often ignored, relationship between a community’s appearance and its economic development. As Mark Twain said, “We take stock of a city like we take stock of a man. The clothes or appearance are the externals by which we judge.”
Attracting visitors and businesses to Blanco (to increase the City’s revenues and enable it to provide better services to our citizens) involves making Blanco more appealing. This means conserving and enhancing our historic district, showing off the natural beauty of the Blanco River and Blanco State Park, and cleaning up our existing businesses and homes. It is, after all, the people, heritage, culture, and natural beauty of Blanco and the surrounding Hill Country that attracts visitors and economic development. The more Blanco does to enhance and show off its unique set of assets, the better positioned we will be. On the other hand, the more we allow Blanco to come to resemble Any Place, USA (or any “Dirty Little City, USA”), the fewer reasons there will be to visit Blanco or start businesses here. Our local citizens and businesses will suffer.
Clearly, certain places have more appeal than others. Blanco has enormous appeal. However, Blanco will not retain its special appeal without effort. Without exception, those places that have successfully protected their uniqueness—whether natural or man-made—are the places that have used vision, smart government management, and active citizen involvement to control and protect the features that make those communities special. Thank you, citizens of Blanco, businesses of Blanco, and the Blanco City Council, for working together towards a bright future.