Commentary

Meet in middle

Rockdale MDD strikes good balance in aiding apartment plan

The Rockdale Municipal Development District (MDD) board is one of those organizations that’s in the process of “creating itself,” deciding exactly what it is and how its going to proceed in its task of bringing jobs and business to Rockdale.

The MDD was created two years ago in a vote of Rockdale residents who decided to take sales tax money which had been going to Richards Memorial Hospital and use it for economic development.

“Economic development” is about as easy to define as is, in Don Meredith’s memorable phrase—nailing jello to the wall, but the MDD is showing good common sense in using this resource, which after all comes from the taxpayers.

A case in point. The development company which wants to build 80 units of senior housing on East Belton Avenue recently asked for some help with “off site expenses.”

Everyone wants to see the complex built. It’s certainly the biggest project on the table right now for Rockdale and would certainly be a big morale booster.

But everyone is also aware that the first time a “dying to locate in Rockdale firm” came to the MDD for help— extending water and sewer lines for a heavy-equipment operator school—the firm got what it wanted, then packed up and left town after operating about a year.

How to strike a prudent balance? This way. The MDD will provide $50,401 toward the project but it will be a series of “forgivable loans.”

As the developers meet certain milestones, specified in the agreement, portions of the loan will be forgiven. The ultimate milestone, of course, will be completion of the 80-unit apartment complex, something that will be very good for Rockdale and its economy.

Dirt work on the 17-acre site could start as soon as next month.—M.B.


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2012-05-10 digital edition



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