It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is here. We just celebrated the beginning of the Christmas season at The Shops at Highland Village with the annual Our Village Glows. This event is a Highland Village tradition and we are grateful to the Highland Village Women’s Club, The Shops at Highland Village and our city staff for organizing this family event. Listening to the Christmas carols, watching the lighting of the beautiful tree and seeing the excitement of the kids as Santa arrives always puts me in the Christmas spirit.
I encourage you to shop local this holiday season. I am excited to share with you the new Highland Village Business Association website and online directory. You can easily access the site on your phone or tablet making it easy to find the local business for your holiday gift buying. The directory is separated into categories that include Shop, Taste, Go, Play and Do or you can use the search bar to find a specific business. The new site also features a Community Highlights section that showcases local businesses, upcoming events, and news. Check it out at www.TheHVBA.com and support local businesses this holiday season.
And as we talk about shopping local, just like many of you, I am heartbroken to see our Highland Village Kroger close. This was my store too. We were surprised to hear the store was closing. It was only a year ago we talked with the regional manager who told us Kroger had renewed their lease and they were staying in Highland Village. However, during that year the grocery store landscape in our area changed. A new Kroger Marketplace opened to the west of us and it appears some of the Kroger Highland Village shoppers chose to shop at the new location. Kroger tells us the Highland Village Kroger just wasn’t making a profit. It was a hard decision for them but in the end they told us Kroger corporate chose to close this location. Some of you have asked how the City and I could let them leave. I wish I could say we had the power to make them stay, but every business has to do what is best for them. As soon as we learned the store was closing we started working to find a new tenant. The property owner, Brixmor, is motivated to lease the space and rejuvenate the center and so are we. We will keep you posted when we have information to share.
City staff has been working diligently on a pretty exciting public safety project. Last year we approved and funded upgrades to our public safety system that included moving into compliance with a digital public safety radio system, integrating with Denton County, updating the dispatch consoles to utilize the digital system and installing a new computer –aided dispatch and records management system. In November we officially switched to migrate with the Denton County digital public safety radio system. This could not have happened without the partnership between the City, the Denton County Commissioners Court and Sheriff Will Travis and his office. Making the transition to the digital public radio system not only puts us in compliance with radio communication system standards, it also greatly improves reception and regional interoperability which enhances the safety for residents and our area first responders. We anticipate completing the entire public safety project by early next year.
We do have a lot of fun going on this month. Santa will be making his appearance in Highland Village again this year. He will be at the Highland Village Fire Department for Santa Day at the Fire Station on Saturday, December 3, from 1 – 4 p.m. Come by for a photo with Santa and enjoy a bounce house, cookies, hot chocolate, coloring and much more. Then Santa will drive through our neighborhoods the week of December 18 – December 23. The map showing his route is on the city website, just search “Santa.”
The Highland Village Parks and Recreation department has a fun contest underway – the Parade of Lights Holiday Lighting Contest. This is for Highland Village residents and awards the home with the best exterior holiday lights based on five different categories. Get together with your neighbors and have a friendly contest! We also have a photo contest underway. You can submit the photos you’ve taken in Highland Village for an opportunity to win cash prizes and have your photo used in city publications or on the website. Check out hvparks.com for all the details.
Most of us here are blessed with jobs, good health, family and friends. However, there are those who are not as fortunate. We have many great non-profit organizations that help those in need. This season I hope you’ll help where your heart leads. This time of year is the busiest and most draining for our non-profit organizations. They are working hard to make sure everyone, young and old, has a special holiday. Help them spread some holiday cheer this year.
Our police chief, Doug Reim, and our fire chief, Brad Goudie have asked me to remind to you consider the safety of you and your family this season. Remember to be aware of your surroundings when you are shopping. Never leave valuables or your gifts in plain sight in your car. Always lock your car and remember to take your keys with you. I am surprised every year to learn how many of us take the safety of our city for granted and leave valuables and even our keys in an unlocked car. When we do this we become easy targets for theft. Also remember to be responsible when you attend holiday parties. If you plan to drink, designate a driver, call a taxi or use the DCTA discounted Uber service.
I’m looking forward to celebrating reason for the season and spending time with family and friends. I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year! See you around town!