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Garland Residents Have a Long History of Creative Problem Solving

Garland has a long history of making and “making do.”  One of our early examples of “making do” is the establishment of the Garland Power and Light Company (GP7L) Since 1923, the City of Garland has been providing electric service to its citizens through GP&L, its locally owned and controlled not-for-profit municipal utility. With more than 69,000 customers, GP&L is the fourth largest municipal utility in Texas and the 42nd largest in the nation. GP&L is recognized nationally as a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3®) and as a Tree Line USA Utility.

In 1923 privately owned electric utilities chose to maximize profits, bypassing small rural communities, such as Garland, to provide electric service to urban centers such as Dallas.  

Garland had a choice 95 years ago of biting the bullet and paying exorbitant rates for our electricity or striking out on our own and devising a better solution.

After the local, privately owned utility refused to give the City of Garland a commercial electric rate to power the water pump at the newly constructed water well, Garland's civic leaders turned to the Fairbanks-Morse Company who sold the city a 100 HP generator on credit, provided the city would build its own electric distribution system and use the revenue to retire the debt.  On April 1, 1923 Garland officially entered the electric and water utility business with 300 customers and a load of 70 kilowatts. 

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A spirit of optimism is also deeply ingrained in Garland residents.

As for optimistic, what could be grander that the optimism demonstrated by W.H. Roach, founder of Roach Feed and Seed here in Garland located on the same spot for 85 years at 409 Main Street.  He founded the store in 1933—the beginning of the deepening of the Great Depression in the USA.  It was the year when our banking system was unable to keep up with the panicked withdrawals that customers were making from their bank accounts, rendering banks incapable of providing money many customers had deposited.  Imagine the courage of starting a new business in this financial climate of uncertainty.

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I’ve been thinking about our community profile a lot over the past few days.  We have people like Bobby Orozco and his wife Jessica.  In my opinion Bobby has such a rare and exceptional talent as a pianist and composer that he deserves the support not only of our community but the world.  

However, Bobby is not sitting back waiting for the reincarnation of Emperor Joseph II, Mozart’s patron, or recognition from the world.  He and his wife are working with the resources they have.  There is no grand music hall yet available for Bobby’s performances but there is their small home at 1414 Resistol here in Garland.  It is here that Bobby holds house concerts with small audiences of 15 to 25 people.  This however is not enough to make mortgage payments and meet other expenses so Bobby is a substitute music teacher—a good thing since many pupils in the GISD will have exposure to a great talent.  In addition, Bobby composes pieces for special events in people’s lives—weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

We also have the establishment of the Garland Area MakerSpace underway.  We too are making do with limited resources.  Since January we have relied on the Garland Nicholson Library system as a temporary space for our once a month public meetings.  However, in September we learned that the meeting places in our library are closed indefinitely for remodeling.  Left without even a temporary space we are now meeting in my home at 216 East Kingsbridge Drive here in Garland.

And the Garland Area MakerSpace despite our current limited resources continues to move forward toward establishing a permanent space located near our downtown area. 

Read about a few of the important decisions our board made at our monthly board meeting last night and our upcoming programs on the Garland Area MakerSpace Facebook.

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