From the Desk of Red River Mayor Calhoun
by Mayor Linda Calhoun, Red River
With the upcoming tourists season fast approaching we are anticipating record guests this summer. Businesses are updating, cleaning, receiving merchandise and wondering how they are going to staff those businesses for the summer season. I think one of the top problems in Red River, the Enchanted Circle and the entire state right now is a shortage of adequate workforce housing. We have created a workforce housing task force to identify our current rental units available, anticipate upcoming needs and look at next steps forward towards a solution. The task force has distributed surveys to help gather data. The town was fortunate to receive legislative and executive funding 3 years ago to purchase two older motels and convert them to housing. This added 33 additional housing units, but we are still short. Hopefully by working with our state legislators and our Congressional delegation, we will be able to find funding to move forward with a sustainable solution.
Another priority for the town is upgrading our parks. Last fall we installed new playground equipment in Brandenburg Park.
In Mallette Park, the pump track is completed, and the new skate park and tennis court should be completed late spring or early summer. We are currently working with the state outdoor recreation department to secure funding for restrooms at Mallette Park. As the park is developed, we see more locals and guests using it, and we are optimistic that we will be able to qualify for grant funding for these improvements.
One of the most innovative projects we are currently working on is a Christmas movie written about and filmed in Red River. The town is partnering with the Red River Business Alliance to contract with Christmas Karen (Schaler) to write a script that can be sold and produced through the Hallmark channel or some similar network. Christmas Karen is well known in the industry and has written several books and screenplays. She will be here in May to start the process of interviewing people and getting acquainted with our town.
It should take 6 to 8 weeks to write the script.
We always hear that Red River is just like a Hallmark town, so this is our opportunity to actually become a Hallmark Christmas town.
Warmer weather means projects and we have been fortunate to receive funding for some major projects. We will be finishing up the new water storage tank and distribution lines, replacing and repairing water lines in the Tenderfoot area, and paving Independence Trail. We also received $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant Funding to begin infrastructure replacement and paving on High Street. We are working through regulations to begin the sidewalk project on Main Street. This will include replacing sidewalks and repaving Main Street.
Fire season is always a concern, and we are praying for some much-needed moisture for our forests. As the snow melts, we are also faced with major clean up from the snow squall back in December. We are working with the county and the forest service to make plans for the removal of the downed lumber and the massive root balls that were left behind from the storm.
Our summer advertising has started with billboards in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Memorial weekend is just around the corner, and we are ready to start welcoming guests back for the summer season.