I come from what used to be a small country town. Hutto, Texas had one working traffic light, a population of just over 400 and that’s about it. As far as culture and diversity, Hutto was a void. The town was well-known for anyone driving through it as a speed trap. The funny thing about that was one of the two police officers was about the size of Jabba the Hut and moved much slower. If you were pulled over by him, you could either wait twenty minutes for him to walk to your car, or just wait the 5 minutes for him to get out of his car, shut the door and then drive off, he would never have been able to catch up. Over the years that I was in school there I saw the way Hutto was exploited for being a “small town” and how it would soon be destroyed. Now please don’t get me wrong, I have very little to no affection for this town. However, this was the town where my mother grew up, and the town that she and her family were so fond of. My great-aunt Marilyn who still lives in Hutto detest the way that it is being ruined in front of her eyes.
Hutto does have one defining characteristic, The Hutto Hippo. Hutto, as I said, was a small town. Up until 1990, I believe the High School, Middle School and Elementary school were housed in one rather small building. The Mascot for the school was the Hippo. There were a number of rumors to how the Hippo became the mascot, but nobody alive today seems to know the real origins. One story was that a Hippo from a local circus escaped and made its way to a marshy area of Hutto. The people who discovered it thought it would be a good mascot for the town. A major flaw with this story is that the circus was in a town about 15 miles away and there is no water way connecting the two towns. Another story, which is probably closer to the truth was that the football team back in the early days were so poor they couldn’t afford real uniforms so they wore potato sacks. People commented that they looked like a pack of Hippos, and that is the root of the mascot. So, who knows. The cool thing about having a Hippo as a mascot is that it is the only school in the United States to have a Hippo. That was until some crap town in Tennessee heard about the Hutto Hippo and decided to change their mascot from a bird or something silly. Anyway, the Hutto Hippo became legend. A giant Hippo statue was put in the center of town where people can take photos with it. My good friend and former boss loved a photo I had of my siblings and I all on the hippo.
When I was in high school, businesses in Hutto decided to really exploit the Hippo, and they started popping up everywhere. Cement Hippos in 3 or 4 different sizes were being sold to anyone who wanted one. Most received tacky paint jobs and are just an eyesore to the community. I’m to understand that they wanted to replicate the CowParade of Chicago, of course the cows of Chicago were made of bronze and have since been copied by any city town or place wanting to get a quick story on the news.
At the same time as the Hippo invasion, Austin Texas was growing outward. People who lived in the city didn’t want their delinquent inner city kids to stay that way, so they decided to move out to the small country town of Hutto and raise their kids with morals. First of all, Austin is as much an inner city as I am 8 feet tall. Second, these horrible and lazy parents don’t understand that just because you move yourself and your bratty kids to a small town, isn’t going to fix all of the problems. Moving to Hutto was seen as an easy and quick fix to the broken people of Austin. They didn’t understand that families take work and love. My father, a teacher, has told me many stories about how so many kids are either treated very badly, spoiled rotten or completely ignored by these parents who have no business parenting. The people were moving to Hutto, ruining the school system, raising the taxes and destroying the “Town” feeling.
Over the last 15 years Hutto has had many horrible and embarrassing incidents happen. 1. There was the drug lab bust. 2. The school superintendent who did not have an actual degree. 3. The city illegally paid for the Hutto YMCA using tax payers dollars. 4. The crooked police officers of Hutto who have done everything from illegally arresting and detaining people, to sexual misconduct. 5. The Gin and the Hutto Co-Op, which cost $15.5 million to revitalize, the building doesn’t have a bathroom, and because of the 80+ years of chemicals leaking from the silos in to the soil, you can almost guarantee that children will have birth defects. 6. The city built too many new elementary schools at once and after hiring teachers, realized there were not enough kids yet to fill the classes and had to lay off teachers and leave the schools empty. This after they built the new high school, and just a few years later had to spend millions to expand and renovate it because it was too small. 7. The flooding, that isn’t being addressed. Hutto was an area of farm land surrounding the very small town. When more people move in, the farmers sell their land to home developers. The home developers build houses on the farm land and do not think about rain and runoff. The small creek that ran through Hutto, now gets flooded at least twice a year. This flooding has done millions of dollars in damage to the Fritz Park, and also damaging private property and roads, sidewalks and bridges. When the mayor of Hutto was asked how they intend to prevent future flooding, his response was that it was a “1 in 100 hundred year floods” and wont happen again for a long while. I would like to point out at this time, that this was after three of those “1 in 100 year floods” happened and before another two destroyed a road headed in to town.
There was an open position as the Hutto City Planner a few years ago, paying over $80,000. Considering how poorly the city had been planned until then and just how tragically it has ben planned since, the people of Hutto should really demand that their school teachers get paid as much. Hutto has highway 79 running through the middle of it, and beside highway 79 is a busy train track. Half of the city is cut off from the other half by these two motor ways. If anyone in the town of Hutto would have been smart, they would have planned this better, but no. Now you can be in traffic for 20 minutes just going 1 mile distance. That may not seem to bad to people who live in real cities around the world, but this is, or was, a small country town and shouldn’t have any traffic at all. As you can see, the problems with Hutto now are poor governance, and old-fashioned corruption.