Last Tuesday morning, about 30 people sat facing each other at long tables that formed a rectangle inside the Holiday Inn Express meeting room. One by one, each person talked about a project he or she was involved in or expressed an opinion about something going on in Glen Rose.
By the end of the hour-long meeting, people had exchanged ideas and had found ways to share resources or help residents in need.
Thus concluded another meeting of the Glen Rose Somervell County Community Networking Group. The organization this month celebrated its one-year anniversary.
Conceived by Craig Dodson and Jimmy Gosdin, the group offers a way to bridge the gap between the county and city and to help people in different organizations find common ground and ways to dovetail with each other and maximize their efforts.
The group also incubates projects and presents them to other organizations that may want to move them forward.
For instance, the networking group developed a concept for welcome signage for Glen Rose, which it presented to the Glen Rose City Council; the Glen Rose Meander art trail on every third Saturday of the month – the first meander launched last weekend; advertising on the transit system; and other projects.
Attending the networking group meetings is a good way to stay informed about what's going on around town.
For example, last week Dobber Stephenson updated the group on the Hollywood & Vine restaurant being developed in the former White Gables Inn.
“We’re still shooting for July 15 to open,” he said. “Send your Hawaiian shirts out to the cleaners, we’re getting ready to have a party.”
Architect Ken Prikryl, who was appointed to the 4-B Tax Advisory Board, told the group the board has an opening (nominee Trena Shenk decided not to accept her appointment) and the city is looking for nominations.
Mike Dooley, facilities director of the Somervell County Expo and Ampitheatre, noted that ticket sales for the “Land of the Dinosaurs” play have been down. Dr. Patrick Condy, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center’s executive director, also said that the economy has affected tourism and visits to the center.
“It’s very difficult to put a finger on it,” he said. “We’re not doing anything different. In fact, we’re doing more marketing.”
Guided tours at Fossil Rim have proved to be very popular. Fossil Rim has converted some school buses for the tours.
“The numbers (of visitors) have improved last week and this week,” he added. “So those are kicking in. But, yes, it seems to be slower this year.”
Dr. Condy added that Fossil Rim is open to having businesses put up advertising signage for free near the entrance. Anyone interested should contact Fossil Rim for guidelines.
“It’s all about bringing the community together,” Dr. Condy said.
That, indeed, is the networking group’s ultimate goal, Dodson and Gosdin said. With its roundtable – or rectangular table, in this case – discussions and the synergies created between people and organizations, the networking group has become a must-attend meeting for those working with non-profits, clubs and associations, as well as city and county officials and business people.
Victoria Sykes, U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards’ field representative, attended the last meeting, as did City Council member Sue Oldenburg. County Judge Walter Maynard, County Commissioner Mike Ford and Justice of the Peace Dwayne Griffin also participate.
The networking group meets the first Tuesday at 6 p.m. and the third Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Express. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.