The city of Caddo Mills is doing what it can to prepare for population growth.

Manuel Leal, city administrator, said Thursday that two new residential developments are about to become a reality.

One development, Creek Hollow Estates, will contain more than 400 homes and another, Park Ridge Estates, will have more than 1,000 homes, as well as planned sites for two churches, a school, a shopping center and a park.

Creek Hollow Estates is planned for construction along FM 1565. Park Ridge will be built at the intersection of farm roads 1903 and 36. Leal said the city is also working with developers on several other smaller subdivisions.

“The growth is coming,” he said, “and that’s a good thing.”

Leal said the city council approved plats for both subdivisions months ago. However, developers for both projects sold out to other corporations, causing a delay in the paperwork.

“All the plans are in place. Right now, we’re basically waiting for all the legal paperwork to be completed by the new owners, and those papers will be submitted to the city council,” Leal said. “The council wants to know what changes will be made.”

The number of lots in each development is likely to fluctuate from original plans. Leal said the council wants to know how much the homes will cost. “They want to know if they will sell or if they’ll just sit,” he said.

The city is waiting to see how at least one of the developments will affect plans to build a new waterline and wastewater plant.

“I should know something by next Friday,” Leal said. “We need to know exactly how many lots (Park Ridge) will start with and how soon the developer will need to be incorporated into our engineering plans.”

He said the final cost of the wastewater plant, which will be expanded in stages to meet rising needs, won’t be known until he has final figures from the developer.

“We’ve got grants and loans in place, plus money the city has put back,” Leal said. The plant will be grown from a capacity of 300,000 gallons to as much as 900,000 gallons. “After it hits 900,000 gallons, then we’ll have to look at going in on a regional plant with Greenville and other communities.

“It’s all coming together,” Leal said of the new wastewater plant. “We’ve been working on our water plans for three years, and looking at how to take care of these types of issues. The council has been right in the middle of it, making long-range plans, which we need right now.”

The plant and the new waterline will open to bidders in June. “That’s our biggest burden right now,” he said, “getting the wastewater plant in place ahead of the growth.”

Leal said a rise in population will create “more need for schools. The city is working closely with the school district to keep them informed about what level or stage we’re in. There’s been a lot of growth in the county already, and our school district is going to have to look at having more room.”

Vicki Payne, Caddo Mills ISD superintendent, said the district has a flexible plan for dealing with growth.

“We recently moved sixth grade into the middle school, and we’ve got plenty of room for growth on an elementary level,” Payne said Tuesday. “We don’t want to overbuild our core facilities and we have no additions to the middle school planned at this time.”

However, Payne said she regularly gets calls from parents thinking of moving to Caddo Mills.

“People are really well informed, they know what they’re looking for, and they call and ask what your district has to offer and what your philosophy is,” she said. “The school district is the big draw for Caddo Mills.”

As of March 10, Caddo Mills ISD had a total enrollment of 1,242 students, with growth holding steady in 2005 at 3 percent. Payne said the district has more than 100 teachers.

“The school system is the final attraction,” Leal said. “People want to know the ranking, what’s available, and how the kids are treated.”

Leal said people moving into Hunt County from the Metroplex “want to know that their kids are going to be a student, not just a number. And they want to feel like they’re living in the country but close enough to Dallas to drive to work.”

More reasonable land prices are also attractive to developers, Leal said.

He said all communities in Hunt County are “feeling the overflow” from the DFW area. “We’re trying to meet it as he comes in,” he said of the city’s planning. “We’ve established guidelines, and we’re trying to direct the growth. We have a zoning plan in place, and we’re working with consultants to keep our plans updated.”

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