“As he sat back in his seat at a Starbucks in Mansfield, Grand Prairie resident Joshua Spare lamented that the money spent on his Super Bowl party would not be stimulating his city’s economy.“I’m sitting in Mansfield right now, and my dollars will go to that Kroger in Mansfield,” he said. “That’s the closest shopping for me.”
While not opposed to the idea, it is apparent he would rather do business in the city he lives in than go elsewhere.
“I would like to see business come to Grand Prairie,” he confirmed as he shared his vision for the community.
Joshua Spare, an established leader in Grand Prairie, has served his Homeowner’s Association for almost 10 years. He carries many titles, though. In all, he serves as president of the board for his HOA, president of the board for a Public Improvement District, and planning and zoning commissioner for Grand Prairie as well.
As board chair for the HOA, Spare says his ultimate goal is to make Mira Lagos more than it was when he started.
“I just want to make the community better,” he said. “I have two young kids, one’s in fourth grade, one’s in seventh grade. My goal is to make it a better place to live, and the only way I know how to do that is to get involved.”
In his involvement, Spare always tries to share his vision with others so they can catch it and get involved as well.
“My thing is, if you have a vision for what you would love to see your community be, then step forward and try and make that vision happen.”
That vision has been seen and recognized by neighbors who work with him to serve Grand Prairie. Fellow board member Jessica Cafferata, who has served with him for six years, says Mira Lagos is better now because of his early involvement.
“There were just two homeowners at the time – Josh and I,” Cafferata said of the early days of the board. “And he started implementing things that would help the community once we became fully homeowner-controlled.”
One of the biggest things Spare implemented was an emergency reserve fund; in essence for a rainy day, or even a hurricane.
Association Manager Stacy McGrath confirmed the reserve fund to be extensive. By the end of 2017, McGrath estimates the HOA’s emergency fund will be around $800,000.
Of course, that ball got rolling in the first place under Spare’s initiative before he became board president.
“There was no transparency in the HOA when it was a developer board,” Spare said, remembering a time he paid extra for repairs with no explanation why it did not fit the current budget. After that, he pushed for and chaired the finance committee himself.
While serving the HOA, Spare also finds time for the greater community in the Public Improvement District.
Spare said PID’s coordinate with regional HOA’s to ensure neutral grounds, parks and ponds are being maintained properly. A property tax in Grand Prairie, Spare praised the benefits a tax-deductible fee brings. PID’s do not pay permitting fees the way HOA’s do, and they cannot be voted out like an association could.
“If an HOA, years from now, the homeowners decide they don’t want an HOA anymore and they vote it out, then what happens to the management of that area?” Spare asked. “The PID is a solid entity that can help.”
Meeting with the board five times per year, Spare said the PID takes about 20% of the energy an HOA does, but he still finds ways to stay involved. He told of a time he needed to count how many light poles the district had, so he counted them himself while riding his bike on his own time.
Fellow PID Board Member Charles Wray spoke highly of Spare, saying his service to the district improves the area’s quality of life for everyone involved.
As if those efforts were not enough, Spare also serves an appointed position as planning and zoning commissioner for the city. His vision for Grand Prairie proved to be just as passionate as what he wants for his neighborhood.
“I would like to see us get a really large hotel, the convention center re-styled, and we have the Ikea going in,” Spare said. “I would like to see Grand Prairie become a business destination as well as a place to live.”
Spare spoke of how the city may appear long and thin on the map, but that Grand Prairie is also in a prime position in the metroplex for a lot of bright things in the very near future.
A creative leader with a level head, according to Cafferata, Joshua Spare is using as many outlets as he can to make his community a better place. His influence only looks to expand as well, as he recently filed for a position on the Mansfield ISD School Board in the upcoming elections.”