Work is well underway in Fannin County on what will become Texas’s first new reservoir in nearly 30 years. But after the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) announced a decision to name the lake after itself, residents began pushing back.
The reservoir to be fed by the Lower Bois D’Arc Creek will provide water for people in more than 80 communities.
When the NTMWD broke ground on May 25th, it announced the name North Texas Municipal Lake.
“Everyone was really shocked and surprised. And there was such a surprise element that people started rallying around trying to figure out, how did it happen?” said Fannin County resident Rhonda Cunningham.
Cunningham said she and her neighbors anticipated the lake would be named Bois d’Arc after the creek that runs through the lake. It is also the name historically used to refer to the reservoir up until the new name was announced in May.
So she and her neighbors organized.
“We talked about a petition. But this is 2018 and no one signs petitions, so we came up with the idea of starting a FB page,” said Cunningham.
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It became a central platform to discuss their chosen name, Bois d’Arc Lake.
Through that online community, organizers collected more than 300 names of people willing to ask the NTMWD to consider renaming the new lake along with nearly a dozen letters of support from departments and organizations around Fannin County.
Those letters point to the historical significance of the Bois d'Arc creek Fannin County residents have lived on since the area was first settled.
Cunningham, whose home will soon have a lake view, said opposition to the name is also about branding.
“This has been promised to the people of Fannin County as an opportunity for economic development. Who wants to come build a house on a lake that’s called North Texas Municipal Lake? That doesn’t have a ring to it," said Cunningham.
On Thursday, Cunningham will present her concerns and those of her neighbors to the NTWMD at its board meeting.
The NTMWD said it will consider input from the county at the request of Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter.
The NTMWD released a statement, which said, “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.”
According to NTMWD, the board initially made the decision to change the name to North Texas Municipal Lake in a vote back in April to represent its 13 member cities, customer communities and the region.
The statement went on: “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.”
If the board considers renaming the lake, it will vote to do so at its August meeting.