Blooming Grove, Navarro Co., Texas
NAVARRO COUNTY: Dozier does it for Blooming Grove
By MICAH CHAPLIN/Daily Sun Staff
Ralph Dozier is in his second term as
mayor of Blooming Grove. Dozier says it will also be his last. In May 2004,
Dozier will hang up his hat as mayor, saying simply, "it's someone else's turn."
Dozier was born and raised in
Blooming Grove, but left in
1952 to pursue school at University of Houston and work with an oil company. It
was during this time, he met his wife Margery, a Montana native. They married on
Dec. 11, 1953, and eventually welcomed three children. Their pair of daughters
and one son have also blessed them with seven grandchildren.
Fourteen years ago, Dozier returned to his
hometown, to help his elderly parents. Inevitably, he ended up staying.
"I like the small town atmosphere," Dozier
said. "There are friendly people and a lot of people I grew up with are still
Dozier began his political career as a
member of the city council. At that time he was mayor pro-tem, which means he
ran the meetings in the mayor's absence. When the mayor decided not to run
again, it was natural for Dozier to move up.
Undoubtedly, Dozier has seen his fair
share of troubles as mayor.
"My major frustration is with the city's
limited financial resources," he said. "We can't always do everything that needs
to be done."
The biggest obstacles he has tackled have
been street repairs and a water and sewer system overhaul.
"It's hard to keep the streets repaired
and maintained, but we have a development plan. It might take awhile to get the
job done, but we hope to start later this month," Dozier said. "The county has
been very cooperative in helping the city to maintain roads."
The water system was completely re-done
with added fire hydrants. Dozier said the present system is "working real well."
The sewer system has continuous problems, but he's hoping to solve those soon
with grants from the North Texas Government.
Dozier also saw a Blooming Grove milestone
during his term, with the construction of a
II memorial, one of the first in this area. The idea began with resident
Alice Bell and was later handed over to the Blooming Grove Ex-Student
Association, a very active group of people. With their help, the marker was
constructed two years ago and currently stands in the city park for all to see.
Throughout his tenure as mayor, Dozier is
thankful for the city council he's had to work with. Among those members are
Ricki Crenshaw, Teddy Ray Southard, Darlene Haden, Scott Armstrong and Betty
"We have a very good group of people,"
Dozier said. "We don't always agree, but we operate as a team. We conduct
meetings according to the law and in a business-like fashion. We respect each
other's thoughts and always let people talk."
Dozier also did not want to leave out
other valuable city employees worthy of praise. Thomas Oliphant and Jessie
Melton, who are in charge of water and sewer maintenance. Oliphant has been with
the city for 10 years, and Melton is in his first year. Kelly Smith is in his
second year as police chief.
"Kelly is doing a fine job," Dozier said.
"The council and I gave him a vote of confidence at the last meeting."
Linda Bray has been the city secretary for
25 years, with Nancy Melton as her assistant for two years. Dozier is the fourth
mayor Bray has worked under, and describes him as "a very nice man."
"He has a quiet mannerism and doesn't let
things get him upset," Bray said. "I think he's a good mayor. He's done a lot to
keep things going and try to improve Blooming Grove."
Bray says Dozier did not even plan to run
for this second term, but when no one stepped up, he remained in the mayor's
"It's hard to find interest in a small
town," Bray said. "A lot of people have gripes, but very few want to do anything
about it. I think Mayor Dozier is proud of this community and proud to live in
Blooming Grove. That's a good trait for a mayor to have."
In the future, Dozier sees growth for
Blooming Grove, as land developers have already begun buying tracts of land and
turning them into housing. He attributes this to the proximity to Dallas-Fort
Worth and the good school district, where 850 students are currently enrolled.
"We're definitely going to be seeing some
growing pains," he said.
Micah Chaplin may be contacted via e-mail
at [email protected]
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