Friday, March 04, 2016

Baytown, my home of choice




I moved to Baytown straight out of the Air Force in 1974.  I had never even heard of Baytown when I came here, but my parents were living in the new apartments on Ward Road along with one of my 3 brothers. The whole family with the exception of my mother was working for Brown & Root at Mobay.  Mobay became Bayer and is now Covestro.

Brown & Root was THE construction company and the job here was going to be at least another year long. In retrospect, I should have used my G.I. bill benefits and went to Lee College, but youth has a way of justifying procrastination. Instead, I became a Pipe Fitters helper earning an amazing $4.25 per hour – which coming straight out of the military, was a lot of money.

A couple years passed and I still hadn’t enrolled in college when I was hired on at Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) on Sheldon Road as a process operator. I worked in that hell hole of personnel abuse for 5 years before Reaganomics caused a lay-off and I transferred to ARCO Polymers on Battleground road in 1982. The leadership attitude there was a vast improvement. I spent the next 31 years making polypropylene plastic pellets and other than a few college courses here and there, I never got that elusive degree. I also never left Baytown, even though all of my large family eventually did.

I’ve always been fascinated by computers and somewhere around 1984; I bought a Tandy TRS-80, which was the first home personal computer. Now 31 years later I am still fascinated and sweep virus’ off them to help friends keep on computing. Somewhere around 2001, I realized Baytown had an extensive history and it was rapidly slipping away from the public eye. One huge problem was we had a transient population. I had been experimenting with web design and decided to register ourbaytown.com and try and build a web site to bring some of this information to the public.

It’s been up 15 years now and it is still running strong with a lot of content. I have a sister web-based forum baytowntalks.net where issues and history are discussed also. It turns out it is an excellent source to watch how our city is changing and listen as Baytownians react to what is happening here.

For those who may not know, my nickname is Baytown Bert and for a good reason. I care about what happens here and the quality of life. My interest is not in new restaurants, even though I like to eat. My passion is in having a safe city to live with amenities, namely parks, hike/bike trails, and nature opportunities. Pirates Bay is a big draw to the city and the many spray parks are wonderful and I applaud the city for their foresight.
 
I have a good relationship with our city’s leaders and the police department and recently was asked to join the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee to plan the future of the city. I feel highly honored and accepted rather quickly with the stipulation that “I am all about hike/bike, sidewalks, and city parks”. Director of Strategic Initiatives Nick Woolery told me our new city manager Rick Davis shares this same vision.

Our goal is simple it appears, but will take a village for input.  “Over the next 9 months, our goal is to listen to as many Baytown residents as possible to learn the direction they'd like the city to head in the next five years.  Your leadership will be critical in this process.  First, you will help us determine the best ways to reach as many residents as possible.  Second, you will be the chief cheerleaders for this project.  Third, you will be our eyes and ears during the process.  Finally, you will be the chief architects of the ultimate final product, Baytown's five-year strategic plan.  This plan will guide the city as we make future budgetary decisions, policy decisions, etc.  As we continue this time of unprecedented growth in Baytown, I can't imagine a better time to involve our residents in charting the future of our community.”

Now I want to go on record and say that I am one of those rare people who clear information from my inbox with the speed of Montezuma’s Revenge. I detest procrastination when it comes to making a decision, so if you send me a suggestion, I’ll answer it and I’ll answer it quickly.

Your input is critical, so I set up a sub-forum on BaytownTalks.net under the heading Baytown in General to log your suggestions. To join the forum, you have to register and provide a valid email address, and then I can add you. This keeps trolls and spammers off the forum. I cannot see your password, and the site is secure.

Let’s make a collective effort for Baytown’s 5 year future. I know most of us want a good clean city that is safe for our families and this is a prime opportunity.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melvin Roark: Bert, you are the man... let me thank you for all you do to give back to the city and citizens that live here. Hopefully Baytown will continue with the positive growth and improvements that are taking place now. I will do some thinking and post my ideas on your Baytown Talk page. Thanks again my friend.

Anonymous said...

Alan Dempsey: I always enjoy reading your Friday post, Baytown Bert. You are a excellent Ambassador for your city, Baytown. I live in Georgia, and did not know anything about Baytown before you. Bert, you have a excellent way of writing/describing what a GREAT City Baytown is, and your many, many friends across the country (USA) know that.

Obviously, you love Baytown very much. After you retired me, and some other of your friends assumed you would "chill out" and do what most retirees do, not much LOL. However, you surprised us by getting even more involved with your city, Baytown. People can talk about how much they love their hometown, but you do much more than that. Bert, you get involved, and do a tremendous job of making Baytown an even better place.

Where I live In Georgia we have an award, "Citizen of the year." I read accomplishments of recent Citizen of the year, and what they did for the city to get the award. None of those people has done more or got involved with our city like you have Bert. They also did not share their love for our city like you do to other people across the country. I sincerely hope that the good folks in Baytown realize how much you love, and what all you do for your hometown.

Anonymous said...

Dandy Don Cunningham: Bert, I meant to post this morning, but your column in The Baytown Sun was another great one. I sure do enjoy your writing expertise and knowledge. Baytown is so blessed to have someone who cares so much about our fine town. God bless you and bless your efforts.

What, me read? Isn't that a 4 letter word?

I had an appointment this week at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center to have an echocardiogram, which by the way is an EKG ti...