“Local. Itself. Unique.”
After three and a half years of living in McKinney, the Moskowitz family has created a definition of the city that is just as distinct as the community in which they live. Parents Austin and Melanie and their sons Caleb (6) and Jacob (2) agree, “it’s pretty much all here.” Whether it is Saturday morning trips to the Farmer’s Market, soccer practice or, for Caleb, just building a Star Wars puzzle, the family seems to agree; they are here to stay.
“There’s a lot to it,” Austin said. “If you find out and get out, there’s a lot a lot to it. There is a lot to be said for everyone in this place. Everybody seems to want to be here.
Melanie, a State Farm Field Specialist and an Austin, TX native, said the city lives up to in No. 2 ranking.
“We’ve love it,” she said. “We like everything that they have. I am originally from Austin and if you can put Austin in the Metroplex, this is kind of it. It is very nature, very community involved. We like all the local produce and local shops and things of that nature.”
An interest in good, local foods and the offerings of McKinney mean this family doesn’t have to travel far to experience the culture they want. Even more, Austin is the food and beverage director of the Hilton Garden Inn located in Richardson and is able to explore this local scene not only for work, but also for his family through everything from trips to the Farmer’s Market, to favorite restaurants and sometimes even the grocery store.
“[My job] allows me to do the things I need to with the family, but also be able to utilize the products I need,” he said. “Learning more about the local produce and local food that I’ve learned from here, I’ve really been able to utilize that at the hotel as far as some of the farmers we’ve met here. The Farmer’s market down on the square is a big part of Saturday mornings. You get out, you go — there’s no rules or regulations. We venture down a lot. We love Local Yocal. When we’re here at lunchtime, we like to go to Patina Green. Square Burger is one of my absolute favorites.”
The activity in downtown and nearby friends often keeps the family hanging out locally instead of driving to surrounding cities.
“We definitely love downtown,” Austin said. “I think it’s amazing. Just getting to know some of the people who have shops down there makes it different. I remember one time one of the owners down there told me ‘I don’t really care, I just want them down here. As long as people come, just get them to walk around. They don’t have to buy anything at first. Just come down here and be down here.’ I think that’s neat because it’s really just about building a community and the whole city and that’s a part of it. A lot of people that care about it that own businesses care really about the actual city not just about themselves.”
The Moskowitzes said they felt welcome from the start. Now it’s Melanie who does the welcoming as part of her duties with the PTO at Caleb’s school. She said greeting new families and coordinating volunteers for school activities has been fun and, sometimes, a little hectic.
“The PTO helps keep me involved with him and his school and teachers just so I can be hands on with him as much as possible,” she said. “Just with the working side of it, I can feel pulled away, so it’s nice to always know what’s going on in the school, see how I can stay involved, and the work is very flexible with what I need. It’s been enjoyable, definitely challenging, but second year into it, we’re getting a little bit better.”
While they no doubt enjoy the activities McKinney offers, new developments and even construction are still working to improve their city. While Austin said it is the perfect size for his family, he also knows “there is still a lot to be had in McKinney and that’s good for everyone here.”
“The surrounding cities have more kid parks,” Melanie said. “The ones that we have are real small or on miniature scale. I think seeing something like that might help. We keep adding parks and there are more and more things that are starting to help make that happen.”
The close-knit community and “seemingly never-ending” activities, especially on the square, always made finding their own piece of McKinney easier. Even now, these are the things that make this city home.
“I just like how everyone is really intertwined,” Melanie said. “One of my best friends lives down the street and, had we not moved here, I would likely to never have met her until he [Jacob] goes to school. It’s like that everywhere we go. Even with Square Burger, they get their meat from Local Yocal who is friends with…you know, it’s just constantly intermingled like that, so it’s really neat that you know one person and they know two others that also know you. Everywhere you go, you are going to be taken care of and looked at as a friend.”