Open letter to… that other newspaper

Star-Courier publisher Gilbert Hoffman

How curious, I thought, as I read the headline at the top of the front page. “Committee scraps original bridge design.” Well, I thought, this was about my work, and I was at the meeting, and the headline is completely wrong. How could that be, I wondered. Perhaps the writers of this article and head just don’t understand the design process, for in fact, we had accomplished exactly what had been asked… getting TxDOT to agree to the design goals of the Chamber’s committee.

After several meetings, with many TxDOT staffers, we had gotten them to agree to several key points:

1. Build a 300 foot long, 25 foot tall highway bridge in the middle of an historical district, that would respect and complement the traditions of Old Crosby;

2. Furnish a railing detail at their expense which will recall small scale, “human size” walkways of the past;

3. Provide wiring and pedestals for the antique looking light fixtures that the community plans to pay for and install;

4. Make provision for a unique paving brick area, with names of donors to the project;

5. Furnish design upgrade features, such as “Lone Stars” and Rustic Stone-like retaining walls at the state’s cost;

6. And we even pushed for and got a prommise of grass (sod or seed) under the bridge, which is usually outside TxDOT’s budget.

And most important to me as a design professional architect, TxDOT had been prodded to look for, and finally suggested at this meeting, an inexpensive existing formwork that would achieve our look.

Sometimes I will get a call about an inaccuracy in our paper, and after listening to the facts, we make what apologies and corrections possible.

In this case, with the parties present at the meeting, and the facts very clear, I can only wonder at the strange reporting that resulted in the headline.

It should have read, and did in the STAR-COURIER, “Chamber works with TxDOT on details.” In fact, as even the state knows, a Design project moves through various phases, with many parties contributing to a final solution. Alternate forms or features are always welcome when they enhance the original intent, as these TxDOT contributions did.

Well, I can only wonder at the headline that misrepresented