Bois d'Arc Lake? North Texas Municipal? Reservoir Naming Controversy Continues
Several dozen Fannin County residents packed the North Texas Municipal Water District administration building's meeting room during Thursday's gathering of the board. It was their last public shot to persuade the board to change the name of North Texas Municipal Lake to Bois D'arc Lake. Or, Lake Bois D'arc. Anything, actually, as long as it has the name Bois D'Arc in it.
Those who spoke during the comment period soaked their words in nostalgia, and history. They cited that Davy Crockett once camped along Bois D'arc Creek. That families going back generations dubbed the waterway Bois Darc Lake. And that that name stuck in residents' hearts.
Yet while residents' emotions ARE deeply felt, the 11 speakers couched their appeals not in halcyon – but in pure, unabashed capitalism.
"We've got to find a way here in Fannin County to make sure that we optimize the opportunity that we have," said Gary Fernandes, an investor and self-described “unrepentant capitalist,” who lives in Fannin County. He's also a member of the NPR Board of Directors, and the opportunity he wants to optimize is converting the brand name that “Lake Bois D'Arc” or “Bois D'Arc Lake” affords into cash flow.
Shep Stahel, a county resident and former board member at the North Texas Municipal Water District, said the name Bois D'Arc "is a brand that's been publicized in connection with this lake for two or three decades. Brand recognition leads to curiosity. Curiosity leads to visits. Visits lead to people who say 'I think I'd like a place on the edge of the lake.'”
A good brand name also leads to people finding the lake on Google. Resident Paul Ivey, a computer industry professional, favors the name Bois D'Arc Lake because it'll be better for search engine optimization.
"North Texas Municipal Lake is just a little generic for people to look at and say 'That's where I would like to go to vacation'" he said.
For its part, the water district says it understands the desire to preserve the history and heritage of the region. In a statement, the district said it has "worked hard over the years to build relationships and goodwill with the residents of Fannin County, and we sincerely want to continue to be good neighbors and partners in the future. Selecting a name that Fannin County supports is important to the District."
The district will make its final decision on August 23rd.
SPEAKERS (In Order of Presentation):
NTMWD Statement on North Texas Municipal Lake Name
Now that our new reservoir is finally becoming a reality, there’s a lot of attention and excitement around the benefits it will bring to the region. In anticipation of the groundbreaking, the NTMWD Board voted in April to change the name of the reservoir to North Texas Municipal Lake to represent our team: the 13 member cities, customer communities, the District, and the region the District has served for over 60 years.
We have been receiving and listening to feedback from Fannin County residents about the new name announced at the May groundbreaking event and understand the desire to preserve the history and heritage of the region with a different name. We are working with Fannin County elected officials to get consensus from the county on a different name (such as Bois d’Arc Lake) that they would like our Board of Directors to consider. At Fannin County Judge Carter’s request, the Board will consider input from the county and area residents regarding the name at the July 26 Board meeting and will consider taking action at the August NTMWD Board meeting.
NTMWD has worked hard over the years to build relationships and goodwill with the residents of Fannin County, and we sincerely want to continue to be good neighbors and partners in the future. Selecting a name that Fannin County supports is important to the District.