Wolfforth Water Expo
Saturday, May 9th 10:30am – 4:00pm
Frenship High School
Food trucks, kids area, speakers, gardening tips, etc…
Food Truck Attendees: La Picosita, Twist’d Texan, Jody’s Texas Pit BBQ, Blue Oasis
Progressive… that can sometimes be a dirty word here in Lubbock. But last weekend’s Free the Food Trucks event seemed to suggest that Lubbock wants to be, well, a little more… progressive. Before we start printing any “Make Lubbock Weird” t-shirts, let’s talk this out.
To me, the fact that an estimated 1,000 people want to wait out in the hot sun on a Sunday afternoon for an hour for a pizza tells me there is a desire, a hunger if you will, in the community. And I don’t think that hunger is necessarily for a food truck taco. I believe Sunday’s event (Free the food trucks in June 2014) was indicative of a desire in Lubbock for a scene, or a place where action occurs.
Naysayers may argue that free food can always bring a crowd. But let’s be honest… I don’t know if most people even knew if there would be free food or how much of it at the event. To be blunt, it was not well executed. However, I don’t think this one event should determine whether we should or should not loosen restrictions on food trucks.
The City of Lubbock has a responsibility to protect the lives, health, and property of its citizens. But we need to somehow bridge the gap between that responsibility with the changing needs and vision of the community. Events like the food truck expo and growing popularity of the Downtown Farmers Market highlight to me a community expanding its identity and creating new markets.
We have entrepreneurs right now ready to serve you lunch but they are looking for a new platform to do business. The issue is not food trucks – it’s that often Lubbock is its own worst enemy in allowing new concepts and ideas to flourish and succeed. If I get tacos from a food truck will that take away business from a restaurant? Maybe. Or could a concept like a Food Truck Sunday at a local park give me the impetus to go out to lunch on Sunday with my family (and thereby generate sales tax revenue) when I’d otherwise stay at home?
Why is downtown such a ghost town most weekends? I wondered that one Saturday night while having dinner at Italian Garden. The place was packed and all I could think was, hey people want to be here. We want cool places to go and cool things to do. We don’t want to be well… boring. It’s bubbling right there under the surface in the form of a food truck line, but the people of Lubbock are expressing a desire to commune. They want a scene. They want action.
The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and the Imagine Lubbock Together steering committee put together a citizen-driven Vision & Strategic Implementation Plan, which has some really great and exciting ideas.
Let’s not let that vision collect dust. Let’s help our business community succeed with new and innovative ideas to Lubbock. I challenge our local leaders and elected officials to help our city progress and facilitate these visions of the community. This isn’t about liberal or conservative, too much government or too little. It’s about having a bigger vision for the community.
Instead of thinking of how we are regulating and slicing our existing pie – let’s think about how we can make a bigger pie (or maybe add some new flavors). We need all hands on deck to get there, and that may mean reviewing our Code of Ordinances or making proactive changes to help revitalize areas of the community (like the infrastructure improvements to 34th Street) rather than being in a reactionary position (receiving petitions on food truck restrictions).
Update: As of December 2014, the City of Lubbock allows food trucks with permits. From the Lubbock AJ:
To operate a food truck, the city requires mobile vendors to complete and submit a $250 application for a Mobile Food Vending Permit, as well as complete all the required inspections through the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Environmental Health Department. The permits are valid for one year. To get a permit, according to the city, vendors must provide blueprints of equipment placement, fill out an application, schedule a risk assessment and pass an inspection. They must also pay a fee ranging from $100 to $350 based on risk assessment, which is based on fire safety, health safety and security.Temporary and sample permits are also available.Once the license is obtained, there are a few other restrictions, as well. The venders are only allowed to operate between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 a.m. and must not be at a location for longer than four hours.They are also not allowed to operate in residential areas or within 200 feet of the primary entrance of a brick-and-mortar food establishment.
What do you think?
Check out pictures of the event here.