When University Park Mayor Olin Lane moved to a house on Bryn Mawr Drive in 1936, he could watch traffic on Northwest Highway from his back porch.
The home was at the northern edge of development, with prairie stretching endlessly off to the horizon.
“It was a grassland, and I spent a lot of time in that,” 84-year-old Lane said.
Today the mayor live in a different house on the same street. He says that the growth since then has been “mind boggling.”
“We were basically a two-and three-bedroom, single-family community back then, with one car (per family), and maybe 2,000 and 2,500 square-foot houses.”
Today, 6,000 and 7,000 square-foot houses are not unusual, and nearly every family has multiple cars.
That presents challenges as the city works to relieve the strain on infrastructure, facilities, and streets, Lane said. “We affect every citizen every day, whether they know it or not.”
Lane is still president of Lane Properties, the real estate company he founded in 1971. Before becoming mayor in 2014, he held several other positions within city government and Highland Park ISD.
The hardest part of his job is dealing with unhappy residents, who are upset over a single issue, he said.
The mayor said he does his best to listen and make decisions he feels are best for the city. He strives to respond to calls and emails quickly.
“They may not like what I have to say, but we do try to respond promptly,” he said.
Despite the workload, Lane said he loves his job and making life better in the city he loves.
“It’s very enjoyable to work with the staff and with all of our citizens.” Lane said.
He paused and laughed as he added, “it’s mostly a pleasure, not entirely, but mostly.”