It is original, independent and eclectic.
That is what residents call the city of Denton, according to author David Wann, who featured Denton among the “8 Great Places You’ve (Maybe) Never Heard Of, 2012 Edition” of Mother Earth News magazine.
“It’s to spotlight underappreciated communities that, large or small, are succeeding in creating a good home for the people who live there and are making choices with an eye to sustainability,” Wann wrote in the article appearing in the October-November edition of the magazine known for its coverage of organic foods, country living, green transportation, natural health and green building.
The article mentioned Denton’s history, the addition of the new commuter rail line and the cultural programs, including the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo and the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival. The author also said Denton was “a leader in clean energy,” and acknowledged the Denton fire station was the second in the country to receive the coveted LEED gold certification, a rating granted by the U.S. Green Building Council for high performance in the design and construction of green buildings.
Kim Phillips, vice president of the Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she received a call in April from Wann, who wanted to find out a bit more about Denton.
“He said his magazine was looking for cities to include to feature in the article,” Phillips said.
The piece highlighted the city’s sustainability efforts and environmental awareness.
Phillips said she spoke to Wann for about an hour and provided him with key contacts around the city that would provide information about the best that Denton has to offer. She also invited him to visit and followed up with him for the next couple of months because she felt the city belonged in the “Great Places” article.
Wann said he declined the city’s invitation because he would also have to go to the other seven towns on the list, and his magazine did not have those travel funds.
“I was delighted to find out everything Denton is doing,” Wann said. “Denton fit our qualifications of what we were looking for very well.”
Wann said he looked at numerous cities that followed sustainability efforts and then narrowed them to 100.
“Then I ran a list of 25 and asked the editors [of the magazine] for their recommendations,” he said.
Wann also said, when he spoke to city representatives, that he felt the staff that promotes the city was quite enthusiastic — so much so, that now he will make it a point to come visit someday.
Denton was featured in the article along with Golden, Colo.; Dover, N.H.; Lawrence, Kan.; Charleston, S.C.; Port Townsend, Wash.; Red Lodge, Mont.; and Hilo, Hawaii.
Wann, who is also a filmmaker and a speaker on the topic of sustainable lifestyles and design, acknowledged in the article that not all cities that made the “Great Places” list were perfect, since some were “dealing with environmental challenges, some with social problems and several face economic difficulties.”
But he said each city represented a community that was engaged in the discussion to move their towns and their environments forward.
Denton City Council member Kevin Roden said in a statement that he was encouraged to see the city get the national attention it deserves.
“Increasingly, the world is coming to realize that Denton is a leading center for creativity, culture and sustainability,” Roden said. “There’s just something about the soul of this town that breeds greatness and ambition among our citizens well beyond what you’d expect of a city our size.”
In addition to Denton, two other Texas towns have made the list of “Great Places” throughout the last six years. Wimberley, located in Hays County, was listed in 2006, the first year the magazine published its list, and the town of Fredericksburg, located in Hill Country, made the list in 2011.
KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.