Yesterday afternoon when it was 100 degrees, the Arlington City Council made good on the challenge by the AISD school board members. You can see that it is much more cerebral to do it in this manner than at night, like they did. As a matter of fact I was dry before I got to the truck. You might notice that Michael Glasby doesn't get wet. He has Mayor duty. Also Robert Shepard has on girlie colors.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Yesterday afternoon was a little interesting. First, because a child was hit at the corner of Brown and Collins a school crossing was proposed and passed on the first reading. My concern about this crossing is that traffic would be limited to 35 mph north of Brown on Collins all the time, even when the school zone is not in affect. This concerned me because Collins/Brown is a major thoroughfare in our city, and I didn’t want to see further congestion in
. Normally changing this wouldn’t be a big deal, but since FM 157 is a state road, then we have to comply with state regulations. I coupled our efforts with the traffic staff and we were able to remedy this situation, while complying with state regulation, without much change. Arlington
The second item of interest is that I put the subject of a senior recreation center on the floor as a future agenda item. What I am trying to accomplish is to put this subject to the voters on the May 2015 ballot. Funding for this center would be a 1/8th or 1/4 cent sales tax increase. This would allow the center to be paid off in 3 yrs. or 1 ½ yrs. respectively. The Citizen’s Bond Committee had little interest in this subject because it was not on the Parks Master Plan and of course who presents to that committee, Parks and Recreation. So I will try to get this subject on the ballot for the people to decide if they want a facility like the
Summit in . I want you to know about this subject and get organized and vocal if this addition to our community interests you. Grand Prairie
Last night there was an issue concerning a storage facility in the south 360 area. Planning and Zoning put certain stipulations on the development and Councilman Shepard added to that list. The vote was unanimous with the stipulations in place, however it is unclear whether the applicant will want to comply with those requests.
There will be a budget town hall meeting this Thursday night at the South Police Station at 6:00. I suggest that anyone who is passionate about next year’s budget be there so that our City Manager Trey Yelverton can explain the budget and answer all of your questions.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I want to thank all the people that either phoned the office or sent emails to Council Members, either in support of a
or in support of Hugh Smith. Yesterday at the afternoon session of the Council Meeting, I had the support of the community to fund a senior recreation center in the west or northwest. The problem is that between Kathryn Wilemon and me, we simply came up short on horsepower. Senior Center
Let me just say that in my opinion, the arguments against the senior center were hollow. The fact that there wasn’t a study done is moot. The fact that we didn’t know exactly where we wanted to put the center is irrelevant. We were there to fund projects not build them. Dr. Cavazos doesn’t know where he will put the natatorium, but he has the funding for it. That’s how bond issues work.
The real reason for the defeat of the senior center is that it was not previously on the Parks Master Plan. You see the Parks Department presented the senior center to the Citizens Bond Committee. The Parks Department’s job is to fund the projects on the Master Plan and get them off the books and funded. If someone comes along with a need that is higher than those on the Master Plan, it simply gets paid lip service, and projects on the Master Plan get promoted in the funding process. That is what happened yesterday. The fact that $50.2 million in capital funding went to two recreation centers in the east and southeast is of little consequence. The fact that the utilization of Hugh Smith is abysmal, and that the Parks Department is hoping to return 49% at best in Operations/Maintenance costs was disregarded. The needs of the city and our seniors went neglected, again.
We elevated the discussion of a senior center to the surface. Now it is time to put it back on the table in a context that will be supported by the voters. It will not set next to the bond election on the November ballot. But we will bring this subject back to Council for the May election and I hope to allow the voters an opportunity to hear your voice again.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
The time to determine the contents of the 2014 Bond Issue is at hand. The Citizens Bond Committee has spoken and what they have determined through hours of diligent work is that the Bond Issue will be 193 million dollars. In that 193 million, 133 will be for roads. Of the 60 million that is left over, two large capital projects were selected to be accomplished. 1) 25 million for a recreation center in the southeast area of our city. 2) 25.3 million for a 67,000 sq/ft combination East Library and
New Hugh Smith Recreation Center, in east . This was the original plan for the Bond package until it got to Council. Arlington
When it got to Council, Jimmy Bennett proposed an additional year to the issue and the total increased to 242 million for a four year period. The increase of 49 million will all go to roads, although this was not Jimmy’s plan. So we still only have the original 60 million for capital projects. One year ago I proposed a
to be constructed in the west or northwest, where majority of our seniors reside. This center would be like the Senior Recreation Center Summit over in . Right now we allow the YMCA’s to accommodate the need for our seniors at $30 per month. I recognize this need and I’m trying to do something about it, but the Council needs your input. So contact them. Grand Prairie
My plan is to cancel one dead end road project at 5.4 million, cancel the energy efficient street light bulbs at 3.0 million and a parking lot renewal for
for 1.0 million. If we do not move fire station one we can save another .4 million and take .3 away from the 25.3 for Hugh Smith and that would give us 10.2 million to knock down Hugh Smith and rebuild it to a size commensurate with it’s utilization. The new library would go away until other funds could be located to add it to the construction project or we could partner with AISD as Dr. Cavazos has urged because they will be constructing a new library a couple of blocks down the road. River Legacy Park
Then it would be my intention to take the 25 million and construct a 60,000 sq/ft Recreation Center for Adults that would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 per month for membership. In the first year that the
was built, membership was 6,000. It has been in existence for four years now and the membership has stabilized at 5,500. It is a remarkably active and vibrant facility, and something that our seniors deserve. In the last four years Summit Euless, Grand Prairie and have all met the need of their seniors by constructing Senior Centers. Irving has given the seniors lip service with their Multi-Generational Center. Possible locations would be either a location central to downtown, Dottie Lynn area or North Richland Hills . With this location and the need of our seniors in Randol Mill Park , I would estimate memberships around the 8,000 level. Please contact your City Council and let them know what Your desires are for this Bond Issue. Arlington
Monday, July 21, 2014
It has been a little time since my last post for a couple of reasons. 1) The Council is on vacation and doesn’t meet during the month of July, 2) I have been on vacation for the last two weeks out of the country. But as soon as I returned I had to find out what was going on with out apartment project on Lamar and report any progress.
I met with Bob Kembel this afternoon and got a one on one concerning his progress. The asbestos abatement team showed up today and the long process of dismantling Huntington Chase has begun. Each piece has to be removed, bagged, have Kembel’s name on it and placed in a special landfill. This process will require that the demo of Huntington Chase take about 45 days and that is the bad news. The good news is that the relocation of residents is ahead of schedule. There is only one apartment that will require eviction in Huntington Chase and they will be gone on 1 August. The Pointe and Country Wood will have their residents relocated by the end of August. There is more asbestos in the stucco of the Pointe, so that will take even longer to get to the dozers. All in all, construction will be moved back 90 days to the end of March. Progress is slower than anticipated but the relocation process is running ahead of schedule. Some additional news that I just received is that Mr. Kembel originally planned this project in the $160 to $178 million range and because of the upgrades and increased quality of the materials it is well over $200 million. I have seen the architect's renderings and the project is extremely nice. This will be a quality addition and redefine this neighborhood.
The Arlington Commons project is moving ahead and I’m positive that you will be pleased with the result, once Phase I is complete.
On a completely different subject: The Mayor had a hip replacement this morning and is resting comfortably. The operation was a remarkable success and we look forward to him getting up and around in the very near future.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Yesterday was very interesting and some things happened that you might not be aware of, so I will try to explain on this blog. The afternoon session was of particular interest because some posturing was accomplished that was at my district’s expense. Two weeks ago Jimmy Bennett suggested that the City’s Bond package should be extended from 4 yrs. to 5 yrs. This was an effort to increase money available for roads and also to include an additional 12 million for the redevelopment of Ditto Golf Course. Now I brought out that the city enjoyed over 140,000 rounds of golf last year. 46,000 were played at Ditto and 36,000 were played a Terra Verde. Golf Advocate Magazine rates Terra Verde as the 7th best course in the Metro Plex, and the Texas Star course in
as 4th, while Ditto is ranked 42nd. The expenditure of 16 million, 8 for the course and 8 for the clubhouse/banquet facility, would allow for tournaments to recoup our expenses while bringing the course up to top 5 status. Then Ditto was dropped from the bond package alltogether, in exchange for more roads. But I was assured that financing would come from elsewhere, and that this project would be funded because it is shovel ready. This is yet to be confirmed, although people are working in earnest. I will explain as much as I can this evening at the Ditto Citizens meeting starting at 6:30 at Sherrod Elementary. Euless
The second thing of interest was the fact that the city started the process of purchasing the TXDOT property at the northwest corner of I-30 and Collins. This property has been held by TXDOT for decades and they have finally decided to remove it from their property roles. The City feels that this property is premiere and something very special should occupy that space, and we are proposing a simple land for cash exchange. The City would like to entice businesses to invest in the land north of I-30, alluring people to come early and stay late. This concept will require business offices, and leisure commercial establishments to coexist. Once this transaction is complete and the land is wrestled from the state, we expect to be approached by developers of every level, hawking concepts from apartments to missile silos. That is why it is important for the City to be able to control what establishments go on this property and the extent of their quality. I am very excited for the North because TXDOT is finally on the move, and something good is going to happen there. Call me an optimist.
Oh, and just as a side note, this site has gone over 31,000 views in a year and a half.
Oh, and just as a side note, this site has gone over 31,000 views in a year and a half.