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Welcome To Case's Column

Let me say a big welcome to all of you for joining me here. I'm going to call these blog meetings Case's Column. I wanted to use "Corner", but that was already taken. Since 2008, it's been a real privilege to come on here and share some of my life with you, and it's a big world where we live.

In these blogs, I'll just speak whatever is on my mind, but we will be playing within the rules here. I may pick a particular topic, point out an event, or shoot the breeze. I'm a little bit of an essayist at times, so I'll just speak what's on my mind, and I might tell a story or two. Or, I might spew out an opinion or three. There will be some serious moments, some tender, some poignant, but there will also be those moments that you'll just bust out laughing. But, hopefully, everything will be in good fun here. And, of course, there's a place below for your comments and thoughts as we go along here. So feel free to join me for the ride -- I sure as heck hope I'm doing this right and not making any mistakes.

Thanks for taking your time in reading Case's Column. Hopefully, you'll enjoy being entertained by it as much as I've enjoyed putting these writings together. And thanks for the time you spend in City-Data.com, where it's great to be alive!



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Where Lubbock Messed Up Previously / What Might Have Been

Posted 11-13-2023 at 06:58 PM by case44
Updated 11-16-2023 at 06:18 PM by case44

I know that we're not supposed to dwell in the past. But when it comes to places like Lubbock, one has to wonder what might have been if only....

If only what? What's missing from this city that it could have right now? I've touched on this a little in some previous chickenscratches, but I want to bring a little light to some dark areas. First off, where did Lubbock mess up in the past and what did this city miss out on?

For starters, a freeway system that is better late than never. Look at the Marsha Sharp Freeway for a good exhibit A. Yes, they've got the road now, but the trouble is, this thing could have come on board sooner. That road is about twenty-five years behind, as it should have had an imprint in the 1970s when the city was trying to recover from a tornado. The silver lining is, today's MSF was built better than anything we might have seen earlier, but the road had long been needed. Too bad civic leaders did not act until about the late 1990s. They have it now, and it runs great, but imagine if they'd had it earlier.

Where else did Lubbock miss it? That same East-West freeway should have, at least, stretched from Wolfforth through its current path and also along Parkway Drive in a trench before reaching East Loop 289, and then following the current mainlanes until the edge of Idalou. Now, that segment in the southwest would likely not have had Marsha's namesake back in the '70s, of course, but it could have been named the Brownfield Freeway, an upgrade from what had been a boulevard.

And where else? There should have been another freeway forming a Y at the Texas Tech campus, heading northwestward to meet U.S. Highway 84 to head out to Shallowater. To this day, I don't know why Lubbock did not seize such an incredible opportunity, and it would have boded very well in the area of mobility for what was to become a metropolitan region. That northwest alignment could have been a game-changer, as it would have easily carried U.S. 84 and creating a brief multiplex with U.S. 82 and Interstate 27 before veering southeastward. And that could have also been a short freeway down through Slaton. Missed that one, too, Lubbock. Should have happened in the 1980s.

Did Lubbock also missed an opportunity with having a zoo in their city? A resounding YES to that one. Here's a link from KCBD-TV (Channel 11 - NBC) as we dig into their archives. This was from 2002.


Lubbock is still the largest city in Texas without a zoo. They've got a couple of good places to put one, and I still maintain that they put it where their last idea was planned, and that's on the east side near McKenzie Park and near 19th Street. How embarrassing that Tyler and Waco each have successful zoos, and even Amarillo up to the north, but not Lubbock. Now, granted, Lubbock does have an aquarium on the way (at least, that project didn't fall through), and they badly need it, but it's still not a zoo.

Where else did Lubbock miss out? Downtown. True, they've upgraded the old Citizens National Bank into the swan known as Citizens Tower, but people in this city fooled around in the '70s and '80s when it was crucial to rebuild from the tornado, and the opportunities to turn dog poop into gold presented themselves. Yet, in spite of all that, Lubbock did not take advantage. Oh, it's never too late, as there is more awareness today to improve downtown, and civic leaders are taking charge a little more. It's just that they need a building to dwarf the 20-story Metro Tower, at present, the city's tallest. A building that resembles a pillar from the north-south perspective has zero business being the focal point building, not just in this downtown, but any other. I shared some ideas a few years ago, but I may do an updated post and hopefully even provide a visual idea of two buildings which could take hold in Downtown Lubbock in the years to come. Sure, it's ambitious, but if they can build the Devon Energy Center in Oklahoma City successfully, then Lubbock can achieve the same type of thing. And with as many people as are moving to this area, you still need to have places for business. Not only that, but you can have buildings which can light up the townscape at night.

And where else? Wider paved streets should have already been in place out to FM Road 179 in the west, 146th Street in the south, Keuka Street in the north, and Wood Avenue in the east. It's laughable that Keuka is still just a dirt road when it could have, at least, five lanes with a possible expansion of seven given the right type of development. And up by Lubbock/Preston Smith International Airport, you'd think that that would be an advantage. Just now, they're doing expansions on 114th and 146th down south, and on Upland in the west, with Alcove sure to follow. All of these are about three decades overdue.

And to think that Lubbock lost out to Wichita, Kansas, for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. Talk about dropping the ball there.
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  1. Old Comment
    Regarding the MSF, I remember an article in the A-J saying that it was initially proposed in the 1960’s (along with the I-27 extension which was done in the 1990’s), but state funding didn’t arrive until the 2000’s. Perhaps they could have lobbied Congress for funds after the tornado, but that’s easier said than done.

    As for the Y interchange on the Tech campus, I can see why TTU administrators/faculty would have a tough time endorsing such a thing, due to the noise factor. There’s a nationally-recognized college golf course, a senior home, a VA clinic, etc. around there that don’t go well with a busy freeway interchange nearby.

    Agree with the zoo. The best one between I-35 and El Paso might actually be in Abilene.

    I wonder if part of the reaason why downtown was left to deteriorate is due to North Overton becoming so bad from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, hence the massive redevelopment that features the statue of the lead developer, the late Delbert McDougal. RIP.

    I don’t know exactly why the College Baseball HOF failed, but making it work was seemingly a long shot since Tech didn’t have a ton of history until recently (though there are those who might say that a late 1990’s team could have maybe reached Omaha, but didn’t get picked by the NCAA that year).

    Last, most of these things require private investment/donations. It wasn’t long ago that Greater Lubbock’s GDP was a fraction of what it is today, but the city has had to support a large university, plus a smaller, private one, with said wealth. Those received priority, since they provide the economic engine of the region outside of agriculture/oil/defense/etc. There has been an increase in donations (they just announced a new cancer center), but the area stil doesn’t have the income of the big four metros. That said, the new/expanded employment centers opening up in the near future should lead to an upswing in that sort of thing.
    Posted 11-14-2023 at 11:00 AM by shoe01 shoe01 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    (Sorry for the dissertation)
    Posted 11-14-2023 at 05:53 PM by shoe01 shoe01 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by shoe01 View Comment
    (Sorry for the dissertation)
    Oh, don't sweat it, shoe. You said some valid things. And you're right about the MSF planning way back in the '60s; completely forgot about that. I do remember seeing that somewhere.

    Be glad with what they have now. But they need to start getting aggressive with some of the other things.
    Posted 11-14-2023 at 07:02 PM by case44 case44 is online now
  4. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by case44 View Comment
    Oh, don't sweat it, shoe. You said some valid things. And you're right about the MSF planning way back in the '60s; completely forgot about that. I do remember seeing that somewhere.

    Be glad with what they have now. But they need to start getting aggressive with some of the other things.
    Absolutely, no time like the present.
    Posted 11-15-2023 at 03:02 PM by shoe01 shoe01 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Downtown sure could use a little more. Just looks empty between Broadway and 19th (except for the Depot District).
    Posted 11-20-2023 at 09:19 AM by malfunction malfunction is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by malfunction View Comment
    Downtown sure could use a little more. Just looks empty between Broadway and 19th (except for the Depot District).
    May be putting it mildly. Citizens Tower and the police HQ have helped some, and there are some good restaurants, but the CBD (not just the southern half) needs a lot of work just to put it in the league of other cities/metros of similar size. Not sure what happened to the grad student housing complex (probably the same thing that interfered with the entire world), but it would be nice if that finally got off the ground. The civic park should help.

    In fairness, a lot of the buildings look far better on the inside, since they had recent extensive renovations.
    Posted 11-20-2023 at 08:44 PM by shoe01 shoe01 is offline
  7. Old Comment
    Also, shoe, Lubbock hasn't built any new mid-to-high rises in downtown since (gulp!) the 1970s. That's just unacceptable. They desperately need to catch up to other Texas cities. Whether that developer is someone named McDougal or, perhaps, someone else, initiative has to be taken at some point.
    Posted 11-21-2023 at 02:17 PM by case44 case44 is online now

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