Kevin Yackley has a sign at his barbecue place that says “Welcome to Beautiful Texas City.”
And it’s true.
Despite the rest of the county believing that Texas City is full of tanks and pipes and burning flares and unbelievable smells, it is still beautiful.
And getting more beautiful every day.
If you are getting a bit vexed with the traffic snarl up and down Palmer Highway in the vicinity of the high school and city hall, just hold your horses a bit.
Everything is going to get better pretty soon. And I mean better and better.
If you drive on down Palmer from 14th Street east, by Noble Park and the big train and the darling Kiwanis Depot, you can’t help but have noticed the gorgeous flowers, the historic lampposts and the flying banners.
It is just a little bit of paradise, especially the flowers. Featured are what they call knockout roses, in red and pink and yellow, along with other flowers and some fancy grass. Whoever thought all this up really knew his, or her, stuff.
I used to drive an entirely different route, returning from all my errands, many of which are on Palmer.
But now I deliberately go all the way down from 14th Street to Ninth Street, admiring the horticulture.
Texas City has been getting beautified for quite a few years. I think it began when the committee promoting the city as an All America City went to the convention of that organization in Kansas City, Mo.
The reason I think this is because I, too, have been to a convention in Kansas City.
When you are there, you see the fountains. They are everywhere. They are spectacular. Many are huge, like the fountains in major European cities. And lots of statues.
Rome has nothing on Kansas City.
And I’ll bet — though I do not know this as a fact — that members of that committee, especially then Mayor Charles Doyle, came home with the idea of making Texas City another Kansas City. Why not?
Thus began the acquisition of a lot of pretty statuary and a few well placed small fountains. I think most, if not all, of the money for all this beautification, came from private donations. A lot from Chuck Doyle.
A lot of the statues are little children, and they are all special. A little softball girl at the girls’ field. A Little League boy at the boys’ park.
A little guy with a wheelbarrow near Nessler Center. A little fisherman on the Texas City Dike. A newsboy at city hall, a gift from the Texas City Sun.
The first one I remember seeing are two children reading books at the library. There’s a little gardening girl, with her own fountain, in Heritage Square near the Davison Home.
I think there’s still a little golfer at the golf course, though I have not been out there to see him in a long time.
There are beautiful sculptures inside the Doyle Center and the fabulous Phoenix Fountain, with generations of statues outside.
In this hot weather, get in your air-conditioned car and drive around Texas City to see all the beauty.
I think you’ll be glad you did.