Piece of Mind: What Kind of Town Is This? Urban or Rural?

Mar 26, 2019

We live in a town that I am having trouble defining.

Princeton sits in the eastern third of Collin County. It’s part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. It’s a quiet community. The sign that welcomes you to Princeton says it is home to 6,807 residents, although I am quite certain that number is going to spike upward significantly after the next census is taken in 2020.

My wife and I have called Princeton “home” for about a month. We’re still learning our way around.

I am left with this question: Is this an urban community or a rural one?

Once we decided on a house to purchase, we were told by one of the gentlemen who works in the subdivision office in the neighborhood where we live that over time Princeton and McKinney to the west are going to “grow together.” There likely will be no open space left along U.S. 380 between McKinney (the Collin County seat) and Princeton, he said.

Princeton City Hall sits along U.S. 380 about a mile from our house. It looks like storefront. It’s not exactly a stand-alone structure that one identifies as a governmental building.

This city where we live appears to be in transition. I read something online not long ago that described Princeton as the “fastest-growing city in Collin County.” Yes, it’s a desirable place. What makes it so? I might be that it looks as much rural as it does urban.

My wife noted recently that she hasn’t seen a single lodging establishment along U.S. 380.

They’re turning over a lot of dirt, however, on parcels all along the main drag-highway. I’m seeing fast-food joints popping up all along the road. Yes, we’ve also got that Wal-Mart super-mega-uber store, too; but, hey, doesn’t every community in America have one of those?

We’re anticipating watching Princeton evolve from whatever it is today – urban or rural – into something with a municipal identity. I suspect it will occur sooner rather than later.

You all know how that goes. Once-sleepy towns that reveled in their rural charm become more wide-awake places that embrace their newly found urbanity.

So, it likely will be in Princeton. My wife and I have just planted ourselves into ringside seats to watch it unfold.

John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.

Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.