- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
Dr. Richard Grossnickle, 61, of 1815 34th St. NE filed his candidacy this week for the District 4 seat on the Paris City Council being vacated by Steve Brown, who is completing his second two-year term.
Grossnickle, an ophthalmologist, has lived in Paris since 1982, when he came to Paris to open a medical practice in the treatment of vision disorders, eye injuries and eye diseases. His office is the mirrored building at 2615 NE Loop 286, in the triangle formed by northbound Loop 286 and Farm Road 195.
In a question-and-answer interview, Grossnickle discussed his decision to seek a seat on the city council, and the issues that are important to him:
Question: Why are you running for the city council?
Answer: I want to make a contribution to the city that’s treated me so well, and this seems like a good time to step up and do something positive. I think it’s important to have someone with broad views who can get along with all segments of our society. I treat all my patients alike, from the poorest to the wealthiest, whether black, Hispanic or white. I would do what I think best for the city of Paris — not just my district, because I think the goals of each district are really the same. I operate my own business. I have an optical shop, I have payroll, I know the problems and how to run a successful practice, and I think that would serve me well on the city council.
Q: You have lived in Paris for almost 30 years. Where were you before that?
A: I grew up in Dallas and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School. After high school, I went to the University of Texas, and then to med school at the Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Then I had four years of training in New Orleans. I arrived in Paris in 1982 and have been fortunate to be a resident here ever since.
Q: Talk about your family.
A: My wife, Lisa, and I married in 1995. We have two children, both boys – Dixon, who is 12 and in the sixth grade, and Lucas, who is 11 and in the fifth grade. Both attend Crockett Middle School and both are honor students and have a lot of talent. Great kids. Their big sport seems to be football, so we have been big on that. Dixon is also on the swim team, so he is at swim practice three nights a week. Both of them are in the band, and both take guitar lessons and are doing very well with that. Lisa is mostly a full-time mom, but she is a certified ophthalmologist assistant, so she can do any position at the office. Anytime anybody’s sick or on vacation, she’ll come in to help out. She also files the office insurance claims.
Q: Does it concern you that Paris has been through three city managers in the past seven years, with two or three interim managers along the way?
A: I’ve been following with some dismay all the events that have gone on. You know, the brouhaha over Tony Williams, who from what I understood was a good man and had good ideas and was trying to bring the budget back into the target range, and if that meant eliminating a few positions, well, it was painful, but sometimes things like that have to be done. The next thing we know, we’ve run him off, and now the second guy. Right off the bat, there were members of the council who seemed not to like him — and whether this was deserved or not, I can’t say. I think it’s very important who we select this time. It’s important that the council give this person a chance to do his job and not try to micromanage him to the point where he can’t get anything done. But he needs to be attentive to getting along with the council, too.
Q: What issues would you would focus on if you are elected?
A: Our taxes are high in comparison to a lot of communities. We’re at the upper end of the scale, I think. Fortunately, the cost of housing is low. That helps, but when you write that check every year, we pay a lot in taxes and I would like to see that brought down somewhat, yet not cut services too much, if that’s possible to do.
Q: Over the years, the city’s population has not grown all that much. Does that bother you?
A: When I moved here, we already had Campbell Soup, and I remember when Kimberly Clark came and what a coup it was and what a great source of good paying jobs. I remember when Babcock Wilcox was in business, and I was glad when Turner Pipe took that over and brought that business back to life. But you know, this dairy south of town is about the first significant addition to jobs that we’ve made. With the new high school (on the south loop), there’s potential for development out there. I’d love to see us get some type of mall, and we’re in the perfect spot for a Sam’s Club. You know, we have them in McKinney and Texarkana and Sherman, and we have people coming from Southeast Oklahoma feeding into Paris. I was disappointed when K-Mart left, and I keep hoping that Target will put a store here.
Q: Some people think Paris has untapped potential as a retirement community.
A: I agree. I remember a few years ago, there were discussions about all the land around Lake Crook and developing that. Lake Crook is a great asset, and it’s a hidden asset. A lot of people have never set foot on Lake Crook and maybe don’t even know it’s out there, but it’s a pretty sizeable body of water, and you can take power boats out there and do that, and fish and ski. I’m glad the city put in a new fishing pier and dock out there. I’d like to explore getting some professional developer to develop a retirement community around Lake Crook — like a Del Webb developments, or something like that. We have a lot of elderly people, and they need a nice place to go, and if there was a body of water nearby, they might love that.
Q: How about downtown development?
A: I’m all for downtown development. I’d love to see our downtown look like McKinney in 10 years. McKinney has become the standard, I think, and it gives us something to shoot for. I’d like to see us get some more interesting and unique businesses, whether it’s women’s clothes or crafts and antiques. We’re getting there, slowly but surely.
Q: How do you feel about code enforcement in Paris?
A: I think there’s a bit too much intrusion sometimes. Like building permits. I’m not talking about the Historic District, but it seems like if a man wants to put a new roof on his house, it’s up to him and his contractor to decide. What does he need a permit for? If the insurance says you need a new roof, and you’re going to get one, and you hire someone, I don’t understand. Is this a money-raising thing, or is there really a legitimate cause?
Q: How do you feel about the appearance of the city?
A: I would love it if we could educate people about trash. My kids and I regularly go on what we call trash patrol. We grab six or eight Wal-mart sacks and we walk along our street and pick up beer cans and bottles, over and over, and sacks and boxes from fast food places. Some of the litter, I think, is inadvertent litter that blows out of the back of pickup trucks. A lot of people don’t seem to realize that when they put trash in the bed of their pickup, it isn’t going to stay there once they get up to driving speed.
Q: While we’re on the subject of trash, how do you feel about privatization of trash?
A: With the proper figures in front of me, I wouldn’t be adverse to considering privatization, assuming we get a similar level of service and it would lower our monthly trash bill. That would be another source of revenue other than raising taxes. Some people have said they don’t want to use containers, but I understand we wouldn’t be doing that, that it would be exactly the same as the service the city is giving now. Also, if we privatize, my trash would be picked up every Monday and every Thursday, holiday or not. I work on President’s Day and Flag Day and Columbus Day, and I don’t think the trash trucks should be taking off that many holidays. My understanding is that most city sanitation workers would be hired by Sanitation Solutions if they were given the contract.
Q: Anything else?
A: I’d like to see more youth activity areas developed. There is a skate board park they developed downtown for our youth to go to, and things like that are good. The Community Theater is another great asset – a wonderful thing to have.
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