Please click here for a digital copy of our 2015 Open Space Master Plan document.
Theme: THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Show how Open Space contributes to the quality of life in Rockwall County, including the effect on clean air and water, balance of wildlife, recreational activities, and physical/mental wellbeing.
Download a copy of the Rules here.
Who may enter: Any resident of Rockwall County. (RCOSA board members and their families are not eligible.)
Adult: age 18 or older, or out of high school
Youth: ages 8-18, or still in high school
People in Nature
Digital – 300 dpi, 8×10 or 8×12 physical size
In order to be displayed in our online gallery without being stretched or distorted, photographs should be in .jpeg, .jpg or .gif format, edited for web in sRGB color space, at least 2000 pixels wide, and no larger than 10MB.
By submitting, the entrant grants RCOSA a non-exclusive license to use the image on their website, social media, printed materials, and for purposes of publicizing the contest. We will always show the photographer’s name when using a photograph for any purpose.
Submission: Beginning May 24, 2019 at 12:00am. Deadline is 11:59pm June 1, 2019.
Send files to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ribbons for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention
- A print of the winning entries
- Winning photos will be displayed at Rockwall Co. Library
- Selected entries will be featured on RCOSA website, social media, and in other media with credit given to the photographer.
- Entries will be received from May 24, 2019 through midnight on June 1, 2019.
- Submit a color or black and white digital image captured in Rockwall County, within the last 24 months.
- The image must be the work of the entrant.
- The image must not have been the winner of any previous contest.
- The entrant has obtained and has access to all necessary releases (model or property) and agrees to hold RCOSA harmless against all claims and liabilities arising out of RCOSA’s display of each image submitted.
- Entrants will select category, and assign a title for each entry.
- A title is required for each entry. Entries will be identified by an assigned number and the photographer shall remain anonymous until winners are selected.
The entrant will complete the underlined portion shown in the Example. The entry number which will be assigned by RCOSA.
An entry in the Adult Division, Nature Category would be identified as:
A-N-Lake Ray Hubbard Sunset – 3549
(Division-Category-Title-Entry Number assigned by contest chair)
Junior Division/People in Nature:
J-P-Megan in Bluebonnets – 1680
Three (3) judges will score the entries based on creativity, originality, interest, creativity, overall appeal, appropriateness to theme. Scoring shall be based on numerical scores of 1-10, with 10 being best.
Judges will select 10 finalists per category, a first, second and a third-place winner per category, and an Honorable Mention award for each category. Winners will be notified by email and announced on the RCOSA website and Facebook on June 28, 2019. An Awards Ceremony will be held at the Rockwall County Library on Saturday, June 29th.
Winning photos and the finalists will be featured on RCOSA’s Facebook page and website. Winning photos will be exhibited from June 29 – July 12, 2019 at the Rockwall County Library.
Need more information? Send your questions to email@example.com.
Each of our RCOSA Executive Board has a passion and many reasons for being so heavily involved and invested in the development and protection of open space in Rockwall County. Here are the thoughts of our Chairman, Robert DeJean.
“The residents of Rockwall County living in the cities of Rockwall County and out in the countryside have at hand the greatest opportunity to influence how the next generations will experience Open Space here at home. Smart, well planned, sustainable growth with Open Spaces is our generation’s responsibility to future generations. By acting wisely, we will provide for maximum property values, great employment opportunities, lower future tax
cost and quality environments in which to live, work and play.
Working Together has become a new great tradition for all in Rockwall County.”
In a recent article in the Business section of the Dallas Morning News, the reporter notes many examples of new uses of open space in master planned communities – uses such as community gardens, space for a neighborhood farmers market, and many trails and other open space amenities. Read the article here if you haven’t already read it through other means, and give us your feedback.
What do you think? Should the developers that are coming into Rockwall County consider these new types of amenities in their concept plans?
The online citizen survey is now online, ready for your input. The survey has 21 questions and should take around 10 minutes to complete. We’re going to keep the survey open through April 10th. At your convenience, please click the link below to take the survey yourself, and share the link with your networks. Before taking the survey, I’d encourage you to review the 2008 Rockwall County Open Space Goals & Finance Assessment study which includes a summary of community input received via telephone and online surveys. The goal of this survey is to begin focusing in on the specific types and locations of improvements that people want.
We look forward to seeing all the responses and gaining new insights into what the citizens of Rockwall County want! Please share this survey with your friends and networks and help us get as much feedback as we can to help guide our goals and challenge our assumptions.
Take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RockwallCountyOSMP
How Parks Can Guide Regional Development – Sustainability: Community
Parklands of Floyds Fork Manages Louisville’s Largest Watershed
What a great success story and a national leader in open space planning! We encourage you to read this great article about how parks can guide regional development from a recent Sustainable City Network: Community online post. It focuses on how the Parklands of Floyds Fork manages Louisville, Kentucky’s largest watershed.
This is but one method that can be used to manage and protect our watersheds in Rockwall County. What do you think? Give us your thoughts here or online at our FaceBook page www.facebook.com/rockwallopenspace.
Here are a couple of new remarks we have received through our Discussion email link. What do you think?
1. I feel that we should work towards having safe sidewalks/paths throughout the city. As small as we are, I should be able to run errands by foot or bicycle. It’s not safe as is. I fell that should be a priority… And what a wonderful health promotion for our community. Fewer vehicles and traffic!
2. I would love to see Rockwall have a movie in the park evening.
Also, I would like see some safe areas for ducks. rabbits and wildlife to have for nesting. To promote growth of the wildlife around the lake, and find a balance between perservation and growth, now before we no longer can.
3. Far too much of our county is being converted to residential and/or commercial developments. What once was agricultural land is too-easily being re-zoned to add more “roofs” with the misguided idea that more rateables should trump over quality of life. The attraction of settling down in a bucolic, rural community that once existed in our county is rapidly evaporating. Unless wiser heads prevail and adopt a plan that puts us back on the right track, all tracts will begin to look like another Plano.
4. Hey, thanks for getting people together. As a professional artist and Chef turned food blogger, I would love to see places for plein air painting and most of all, would love to have spots all over the county for community gardens. My focus as a Chef and food blogger is creating recipes from In-Season Fresh fruits, veggies, grains and proteins. I always recommend organic when possible.
Let us know by commenting below what your thoughts are on these ideas from readers. Thank you in advance!
The Blue Ribbon News recently published an article about the Open Space Master Plan effort. The day after the paper was delivered, I received a number of emails and Facebook messages from friends asking me this question: What exactly is a county-wide open space master plan and why do we need one? Our team will cover this subject in detail and be available to answer questions at the first public meeting, which will be on Thursday, January 22 at 6-8pm at the County Courthouse. There will be an interactive presentation with survey questions and keypad polling, followed by breakout sessions where attendees will have the opportunity to provide suggestions on different topics and areas of the county. Here’s a brief overview of what our team’s been tasked with and why. As a Rockwall County resident myself, I believe this planning effort is important to the future of our area and communities.
What is a County-Wide Open Space Master Plan and Why Do We Need One for Rockwall County?
In Texas, plans guiding things like future land use and development patterns, transportation networks, and parks and recreation facilities are completed by local governments. There are some things, however, that cross municipal boundaries and cannot be properly planned and addressed solely at the municipal level, such as regional mobility, water supply and quality, and air quality. The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and Regional Transportation Council (RTC) handle some of the planning responsibilities for the region, particularly those related to transportation and mobility. There are similar groups that look at water supply and water quality at the regional level.
What is missing from these regional and city led planning efforts is how to fill the gap between the high level plans done for the region and the more specific plans completed by individual cities. That is where this project fits in. Because of the rapid growth and development, our region is experiencing increasing traffic congestion, deteriorating water quality in our creeks and rivers, and pressure on water supply systems. At the same time, people and businesses are looking to move to places that have access to quality open space, parks and trail systems. Older Metroplex communities like Plano, Richardson and others are spending significant money and resources to acquire more park land and integrate open space into previously developed areas so they stay competitive in recruiting and retaining businesses and residents, but also to address the growing concerns over water and air quality. These types of improvements are much more expensive and timely to make, as opposed to had they been planned intentionally before the growth occurred.
Rockwall County is experiencing a tremendous amount of growth, and much of the undeveloped land and natural open space we enjoy today will be turned into subdivisions, businesses and retail destinations in a matter of years. Different types of development and how they are connected have an impact on mobility, water quality, local workforce, property values and tax rates, and because we are such a small county, what happens in one city can have a significant affect on the other communities. We have a unique opportunity to learn from the mistakes other communities have made, and develop a coordinated county-wide strategy for growth that allows us to leverage the natural assets in our county in a manner that mitigates environmental impacts and maximizes economic development and quality of life benefits.
Goals for The Open Space Master Plan
This county-wide open space master plan will identify all of the current plans each of the cities have in place for floodplains, parks, trails and other open space areas, and identify opportunities for improved natural and multipurpose trail connections throughout the county. It will also look for ways to preserve key floodplain corridors and natural habitats that are critical to regional water quality and ecosystems. Finally, it will provide some recommendations for green infrastructure strategies that cities can consider implementing at project, neighborhood and watershed scales to improve water quality and reduce demands on stormwater infrastructure. By evaluating watershed and ecosystem impacts at the county level and identifying opportunities to connect the park and cultural assets of our individual communities together with non-vehicular trails, Rockwall County will position itself as a premier destination for residents and businesses and ensure it stays that way well into the future.
In my next post, I will talk about why this planning effort is important to people of all backgrounds, interests and ages and highlight some specific areas we would like your input on. Please share your thoughts on this and future posts in the comments section below. If you’re not already, please join the email list to receive notifications when future posts and discussion comments are posted on this website, and like the Open Space Alliance page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rockwallopenspace) for more frequent information and updates.
Kevin Shepherd is a Rockwall resident and co-founder of VERDUNITY, the consulting firm leading the Open Space Planning effort. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read similar posts from Kevin and his colleagues at www.verdunity.com/news-and-views.
We recently received this comment from a Rockwall County resident in our Discussion area, and wondered what you think about their comments. Do you feel the same way? What unusual areas do you think should be preserved?
A place/trail that allows me to walk in an area where I can observe wildlife and vegetation. A concrete trail is not what I have in mind. A permeable surface would be nice.
Large Open Space need:
Yes. This does not need sport amenities. Places to hike, picnic and observe our world is what appeals to me.
Unusual area near my home that needs to be preserved:
I live in Cove Ridge in Heath. This is one of the few areas that still has access to the lake shore. The area between Windward Way and the lake is eroding rapidly and needs to be preserved. There are also several creeks (drainage) and small ponds in the area that need review for preservation.
When I moved to this area wildlife was more abundant and traveled in several undisturbed areas. New development has diminished this significantly.