By JESSIE HORTON
It’s hard to imagine a time when Tarleton students didn’t know what downtown Dublin looks like. But the truth is, that time may have come. Erath County residents, and everyone else traveling the roadways near Dublin, can take the new loop around the city, never stopping at the red lights or seeing any of the shops downtown.
With the approval of Proposition 12 by the Texas Highway Commission and Texas voters in 2007, a number of Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) projects received much needed funding, including the project to build a loop around Dublin. According to TXDOT officials, the project, which cost an estimated $12 million, would be funded in large part by Prop. 12 money. However, $2 million of the project funding came from other sources.
“For years residents and business owners in downtown Dublin have had to deal with large semi-trucks carrying all manner of materials coming right though town and stopping and turning right in the middle of town,” said then police chief Lannie Lee of the project in September 2012. “With the addition of the loop, city officials and residents won’t have to deal with the truck traffic through town as much… The loop will also lessen traffic through downtown, thus making parking and walking to various shops downtown safer.”
While many see this as a good thing, others think the lack of traffic will hurt downtown business rather than help it. But with TXDOT’s project ahead of schedule, residents can be assured the loop is here and one thing is for sure — if you forget about Dublin, you’ll miss out on a lot.
According to Dublin Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Luanne Schexneider, shoppers can come downtown without worry about big trucks flying through, and enjoy a small-town shopping experience that’s unlike any other. She said downtown Dublin even offers delicious frozen yogurt at one of the city’s newest businesses — Southern Charm, owner Karen Pratt.
“Dublin offers customers a welcoming, easy access shopping experience with quality items and personalized service that’s second to none,” said Laurie Staude, who owns The Checkerboard in Dublin.
She isn’t the only business owner that thinks Dublin offers a great shopping experience.
Pam Crabtree, owner of the Golden Butterfly Jewelers has been in business in Dublin since the 1970’s. They’ve been at the same location on Patrick Street since the very beginning, and Crabtree said she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We offer customized service, friendly business owners who know their business and know what items make their customers look good and feel good about themselves no matter the occasion,” she said.
Erica Gomez said she loves her hometown because Dublin is a people-friendly place that seems like home whether you’re from there or not. Her family moved a lot when she was young, and Gomez said when they moved to Dublin when she was 11, she decided she liked it so much she never wanted to leave.
Years later, Gomez has done just that. Saying she became a hairdresser because she knew she could do something she enjoyed right here in Dublin. Gomez is raising her children here because she said no other place can feel like home like Dublin can.
Gomez said she loves that the Dublin community is genuine, and she thinks that nobody has a little town with more heart than Dublin. And she isn’t the only one who feels that way. Schexneider said lots of Dublin business owners do their best to transfer that feeling of home and welcoming to their businesses and customer service.
Judy Horton from Sweet Delights by Judy, said she views Dublin as a wonder place to live and raise a family. That’s why her bakery’s motto is — ‘Of course it’s sweet, it’s from Dublin!’
“Dublin is a small town with a rich history, quaint shopping, delicious restaurants and a lot more to offer,” she said.
And that’s why the business owners of Dublin aren’t worried about the loop so much. They say with the community continuing to grow and businesses offering such a variety of options for shoppers, the reduction of traffic will simply offer a safety option rather than discouraging shoppers.
So enjoy the new loop, but don’t loop Dublin!