Small Town Goes Into A Hippo Frenzy

An enthusiastic mayor and embarrassed city officials are at odds over the presence of dressed-up concrete hippos in Hutto, TX.
August 9, 2003, 1pm PDT | Connie Chung
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"All over town, dozens of the 30-inch hippos have been dressed up and put on display, all part of Mayor Mike Fowler's plan to attract tourism and industry to this Central Texas community....Plenty, say some residents who complain that their tidy town is turning into a hippo theme park....With plenty of cheap, undeveloped land, Hutto is poised to become home to thousands of people priced out of the market in Austin, 30 miles to the south. Housing tracts already are spreading across the railroad tracks from Hutto's quaint main street. The town's population, which doubled between 1990 and 2000, is nearing the 5,000 mark. In five years, city planners estimate, it may double again." A couple of months ago, the mayor "persuaded state legislators to name Hutto the 'Hippo Capital of Texas.' He proposed embossing hippo heads on the support beams of a new state highway and spearheaded a council resolution to change Hutto's name to Hippo one day a year...."

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Friday, August 8, 2003 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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