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Connecting Communities: Troup

Troup Mayor Joe Carlyle is proud of the city he grew up in and still calls his home.

Carlyle gave a presentation about Troup during Smith County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, February 6, as part of the county’s Connecting Communities initiative.

In 1872, a 45-mile rail line running from Palestine to Troup was completed. At one point, the city was running 6,000 to 8,000 bales of cotton through the steam-powered locomotive. The cotton industry in Troup faded and was replaced by peaches, bell peppers and tomatoes, Carlyle said.

There was also eight passenger trains running north, and eight passenger trains running south from Troup per day at one time, he said.

“We were a powerhouse in the day because we had the rail,” Carlyle said.

The railroad is why the city of Troup was formed and why its layout was designed as it was.

Carlyle grew up in Troup, where his grandfather founded a lumber company.

He said the business environment of the city has changed drastically from when he was a kid. They have seen interesting challenges with their downtown businesses since big box stores have opened in the county, but local businesses have done what they could to buy and refurbish downtown buildings, he said.

 After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Carlyle worked for the family business before going to work for a homebuilder. In 1991, Carlyle went to work for himself, starting Carlyle Homes, Inc.

Carlyle builds custom homes all over East Texas. When people ask him why he doesn’t live in a more popular area of the county, he says, “We live in Mayberry.”

Carlyle began serving as a city councilman 12 years ago. He became mayor three years ago.

Since serving Troup, Carlyle has seen many changes, including the city becoming more financially solvent, adopting new zoning ordinances, hiring a strong administrator, Gene Cottle, as city manager, completing several capital improvement projects, downtown sidewalk projects, and improving water and waste water infrastructure.

Carlyle’s children are the fourth generation of his family to grow up in Troup, and Carlyle has always enjoyed giving back to his community. He spends a lot of time volunteering for local and state organizations, and serves on numerous boards and committees. He is past president of the Texas Association of Builders.

He serves on the Troup Chamber of Commerce, the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce's Governmental Affairs Committee and the Tyler Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. He also has served as a Troup volunteer firefighter, on the Tyler Junior College Alumni board, taught Sunday school and was a founding president of the now defunct Troup Kiwanis Club. In 1998, he served as president of the Tyler Area Builders Association and was named "Builder of the Year." He also has held several positions within the National Association of Home Builders.

He is an avid UT football fan and he and his wife, Debbie, spend all of the free time they can with their children and grandchildren.

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said he learned a lot he didn’t know about the City of Troup from Carlyle’s presentation. He said Smith County and the city continue to work together.

Smith County recently bought a vehicle from the City of Troup for one of its Constable Offices, entered into an interlocal agreement last year for its Animal Shelter services, and is working on another interlocal agreement for road projects, Moran said.

Through the “Connecting Communities” initiative, the cities within Smith County have been periodically highlighted during Commissioners Court. City leaders have been invited to be recognized and give presentations about their city, as well as provide information about the state of each city and future plans.

City leaders from Noonday, Arp, Bullard, Hideaway, Whitehouse, and New Chapel Hill have previously presented to the Commissioners Court as part of the initiative.


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