Southlake Times > News
City official discusses future of Southlake
Just a little over a month into the New Year, Southlake officials have begun pursuing some of their goals for 2013.
"In terms of issues the city will face this year, I cannot think of a more significant issue than the emphasis on the safety and well-being of our children. I am committed, along with a host of others, to making this a priority for our city," Mayor John Terrell said. "This city has been and remains a safe place to live, work and recreate, and our city and school district are committed to work together to ensure our children are protected."
Recently, Terrell created a task force made up of city and school officials that will address threats and safety concerns to students. The group has begun evaluating threats and will make recommendations for solutions to those threats.
Terrell said in addition to the task force, Southlake has numerous projects planned for the coming year, including opening the Department of Public Safety's North Facility.
"On budget, DPS North will provide enhanced fire protection for the city's north side and an important training facility for police officers," Terrell said.
The North DPS Facility Project will be funded through Crime Control and Prevention District funds, which were approved by Southlake voters in November 1997 and are funded through a half-cent sales tax on purchases made within the city. The facility is located at the northeast corner of E. Dove Road and N. White Chapel Boulevard. It will include a one story building to house training classrooms and a fire station and is scheduled to open in December.
Terrell said the city will continue work on the North White Chapel widening project. Southlake has already begun preparation of design plans to improve the N. White Chapel corridor between Southlake Blvd and SH 114.
"The North White Chapel widening project involves widening a little over a mile of a two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided roadway with a dual-lane roundabout at the intersection with Highland Street," Terrell said. "The project will incorporate landscaping elements - trees, shrubbery, street lighting, trails, and amenities - in accordance with Southlake's street design standards."
Terrell said water conservation will also be addressed during 2013.
"This is an issue that is of great concern because as North Texas continues to grow, we have to make sure we have a good plan for supplying critical resources," Terrell said. "Because Texas is still in a drought situation, this means that we must work at a regional level to figure out the best steps forward. Since we contract with the city of Fort Worth and in turn Tarrant Regional Water District for our water, we will work with them on water consumption and if needed landscape watering restrictions."
In addition, Southlake is constructing the TW 30-inch water supply line, which should be completed by late spring. Terrell said the line will help with water distribution to the city especially during the summer months when more water is consumed.
Terrell said Southlake has also set aside money to support a community recreation center in 2013.
"The council is committed to working with Southlake's citizens on this project and should it go forward, it will be completed with a smart financial plan in place to not only pay for the building, but support its operational costs," Terrell said. "City staff has come up with several different options that could see the building constructed in the next several years, but it has to be something that citizens support."
Terrell expects a plan for the community center will be mostly completed by the middle of February.
Terrell said one project has regional significance because it will provide an additional north-south thoroughfare between S.H. 360 and U.S. 377. Phase two of the FM 1938 project includes the installation of a 12-inch water line along the east side of Randol Mill Avenue from the Randol Mill Bend to FM 1709. It also includes the installation of a 30-inch water main along Randol Mill Avenue from Florence Road to the Randol Mill Bend. There will also be construction of an eight-foot pathway along the east side of Randol Mill Bend to FM 1709 and 5-foot sidewalks along the west side of Randol Mill. Finally, the project will include construction of drainage structures and median landscaping.
Also in 2013, the Southlake 2030 Plan is scheduled to be approved. Included in the plan is the new Parks, Recreation and Open and Space/Community Facilities Master Plan.
"The purpose of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan/Community Facilities is twofold -- one, to implement the Southlake 2030 Plan recommendations for parks, recreation and open space and community facilities by better integrating parks planning with the land use and mobility elements," Terrell said. "It will also respond to the needs expressed by Southlake citizens in their desires for leisure services and community facilities."
During 2013, residents will see even more changes, Terrell said.
"The completion of the connector project will happen in June and will be a welcome relief from the traffic congestion experienced over the past four years," Terrell said. "This project comes as the result and culmination of work between TxDOT, DFW Airport and numerous cities, including Southlake. My thanks go to our very dedicated staff who worked hand-in-hand with TxDOT and Northgate contractors to make this project a reality a full 14 months ahead of schedule."
Terrell said during 2013 he and the rest of the Southlake City Council will focus on providing for the basic needs the community centered on facility and infrastructure improvements that will provide the utility and transportation services needed to improve quality of life in the city. Terrell said quality of life is not just dependent on quality infrastructure, but even more importantly, the safety and well being of residents.
"We have issues that threaten the safety and well being of our children -- drugs and alcohol addiction, internet safety, school security and teen suicides, to name just a few," Terrell said. "This year, in partnership with the school district, law enforcement professionals, the Crime Control Board, SPARK and our faith-based community, I hope we can make a difference in the lives of our children."
Looking back at 2012, Terrell said the top accomplishment for the city was the maintenance of the AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor's as well as Fitch.
"These bond ratings not only reflect the city's strong financial status, but the ability to build major projects, such as Bicentennial Park, or DPS North, with minimal taxpayer impact and no property tax increases," Terrell said.
Terrell said one disappointment from 2012 was that the city wasn't able to build more sidewalks.
"Our residents have indicated that sidewalk construction is a top priority for many reasons including safety and connectivity. Over the past several years, city council and staff have presented ambitious plans for sidewalk construction," Terrell said. "However, getting those sidewalks built always seems to take a little longer than we expect. Over the next several years, the city will continue to make a great deal of progress in bridging the gaps and creating a system of pedestrian connectivity with an emphasis on safe routes to schools."