Heather Martin is no stranger to North Texas. She graduated from Van Alstyne High School and moved to Melissa a little more than five years ago. She attended the University of North Texas where she graduated with a degree in anthropology.
She’s been married for 13 years and has two children. She works for an engineering company doing environmental due diligence for commercial real estate.
Q: Why did you decide to run for city council?
A: I’ve been looking for ways to get involved in the community for some time. I volunteer at my daughter’s school. I went in a couple months ago to talk about geology to her class and I had an application for the zoning commission in hand and was about to submit it, then I saw on the city website that the Place 5 for city council was becoming available, and they were holding a special election. And I thought, “Why not? I’m going to go for it.” And this is my first time running as a candidate for a government election. So, I’m learning a lot along the way and I’m really interested in reaching out to fellow citizens in Melissa to see how they feel about issues and making sure that gets communicated to the council. Because the council is really a representation of the community and I feel as a member of the council it’s important for the resident’s opinions and views to be represented.
Q: What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
A: This is the first time I’ve run as a government position in city council, but I have a vast background in engineering so our company does environmental due diligence for commercial real estate. So I’m involved daily with people who develop properties, so I’m seeing a lot of different kinds of properties. Be it multi-family, residential, commercial, retail, and those kinds of developments and where they’re going in and how they interact with the community. I have a background in archaeology, and we work with a lot of historic properties as well. We work a lot with the Texas Historical Commission. Just this morning I sat in on a webinar with the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas Main Street Program, to learn more about how that program could potentially benefit the City of Melissa. Basically it would entail the application from the city to the Texas Historical Commission to revitalize our downtown area. I would like to see the city land be revitalized, especially the historic buildings downtown that are crumbling and could use attendance to further along some economic incentives in the area.
Q: What do you think about development in Melissa both residential and commercial?
A: There’s good ways and bad ways to do development. … We have kind of a disjointed collaboration of communities that aren’t really cohesive … just due to the way the city is laid out we have three highways that run through the city. It does not really lend itself to a city center and central identify. I think we need a revitalization of the downtown area, some way to enable our residents to feel part of the community. I am in favor of commercial development and multi-family development, but first I think the priority would really be to improve the infrastructure and the streets, especially on (Highway) 5. As we all know it’s hard getting to and from school in the morning because there is not currently a traffic light to assist with the traffic flow in those areas.
Q: Have you attended any city council meetings previously?
A: I have, I just attended this past meeting Tuesday. I was the only one there.
Q: Do you think Melissa is lacking in any areas?
A: Everybody wants a grocery store and I can certainly understand that. We have a community to the north of Anna that has the Brookshire’s, and now getting a Walmart or you have to run over to McKinney just to get basic groceries. And I think the CVS and the Dollar General have alleviated that somewhat, but definitely everybody would like to have a grocery store. And I think that will be forthcoming once we hit a certain number of rooftops that would allow a developer to come in and actually do that.
Q: Why should residents vote for you? What do you want to tell voters who may not be familiar with you?
A: I feel like I have a diverse background that would benefit the City of Melissa, especially at this time when we’re facing so much growth and development. We are bringing in quote big box stores that don’t lend itself to our traditional small town way of life and what I would like to do is emphasize small businesses. Small, locally owned businesses and get the city on board with a partnership with the Texas Main Street Program to develop our downtown area into more of a destination. Like Downtown McKinney, where you have the location for residents to go to festivals and events. Have restaurants and coffee shows, and really come back to that small town way of life that we all moved here for.