Recently our city manager, Mike Leavitt, and I went to Austin for the approval of the Lake Ralph Hall water rights permit by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). We wanted to attend this monumental event not only because Lake Ralph Hall is the first major new water supply reservoir to be approved in almost 30 years, but because we have been involved with the Upper Trinity Regional Water District since its inception.
One of our greatest achievements in regionalism for North Texas came out of the late 80’s when our past mayors and council members took a leadership role in establishing the Upper Trinity Regional Water District. Highland Village has benefited tremendously as an active participant in the District. Past Mayor Austin Adams and our current Board representative Rich Lubke have both served as President of the UTRWD. The City of Highland Village has participated in every initiated program at one time and has benefited from the services provided by the UTRWD.
Our annual water take from the UTRWD produces the District’s highest yield and usage report; we use over 90% of the water we subscribe to. Our current and past forethought to manage our water distribution system, by base loading from the UTRWD and managing our summer time peaks with our ground water wells, has been a very successful operational endeavor by the city. And the UTRWD has demonstrated their ability to provide a sound and quality product that stand the test of time. Our water supply was critical in the 1980’s when the UTRWD was established, is critical today and will be for the future as well. The fact is North Texas is blessed for growth and prosperity for years to come and Texas is expected to increase in population from 24 million to slightly more than 46 million by the year 2060. We have to plan effectively for our future needs.
The City of Highland Village has concluded a future water consumption study based on our final build out number in population for our water demand. We are also involved in the North Texas Ground Water Authority – an entity created by legislation to oversee and ensure the longevity of our aquifers. The UTRWD is the planning entity that has been charged with identifying a 50 year supply plan under Senate Bill 1 for the service area of the UTRWD, under the 2011 Regional Water Plan, Region C. The UTRWD is currently serving 25 communities and four special water districts; currently the raw water supply outlook is estimated to be 20 to 25 years. UTRWD raw water sources of Lake Lewisville and Ray Roberts were impacted the summer of 2011 and we all felt a sense of uneasiness as the lake levels decreased. Their third raw water source is Lake Chapman but that is shared with another water district that serves all of Collin County, which was stressed to provide the raw water for both districts. As identified and approved in the Region C Plan and supported by past and present City Council resolutions, we support Lake Ralph Hall.
The next step is to fund the construction of Lake Ralph Hall. The Region C Plan shows the cost for this lake at $286 million dollars. An opportunity for assistance in funding the lake is up for consideration in the November 5 election as one of the Constitutional Amendments on the ballot. I urge you to research this proposition, as well as all the others, and exercise your democratic right to vote. You can find information on the propositions on the Denton County Elections website, www.votedenton.com and on the League of Women Voters of Denton website at www.lwvdenton.org.
As we move into the fall months, we have a major change about to take place in Highland Village. That is the widening of I-35E from Highway 380 in Denton all the way to I-635 in Dallas. We have closed Copperas Branch Park as TxDOT will be utilizing the park as their staging area for the project. There has been much discussion about this project and we’ve been anticipating it for years. In fact, that is one of the reasons DCTA’s A-train was put in place; so there would be an alternative travel option. Another change we will have to adjust to is the I-35 frontage road becoming one way. At some point in the construction process, our once (and unusual) two-way frontage road will become a one way southbound lane. We are working closely with TxDOT on the communication of the construction and detours that will come with this project. TxDOT has a website in place, www.35express.org, which will provide all the needed information including a place where you can sign up to receive email or text notifications on the project. If you typically travel on I-35E, I encourage you to sign up for these updates and consider utilizing the A-train.
Our police department is hosting the 6th Annual Fallen Heroes Bike Race on October 12, 2013. The race will benefit the Texas Chiefs of Police Fallen Officer Fund. The event will take place at the Shops at Highland Village. This year they are partnering with the Highland Village Business Association and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound to provide a “Taste of Highland Village” event to showcase the Shops at Highland Village restaurants. Our event, now titled “Gears & Grub,” will include food, live music by Emerald City and Superfreak, children’s activities, and a chance to meet some of our race sponsors in the vendor area during the race. This year the bike race is open to civilians to compete against some of the fastest bike officers in the metroplex. If mountain biking is not your thing there is also a 5K before the bike race. I invite all the area runners, bikers and families to come out and join us. Kicking off the event, many of our local restaurants are participating in Highland Village Restaurant Week where they will donate a percentage of their sales that week to the Fallen Officer Fund. The goal is to raise $20,000.00 for families of Officers that have lost their life in the line of duty. You can help us meet that goal by dining at a participating restaurant, enter the 5K or bike race, and come to the event on October 12 at the Shops at Highland Village from 3-8 p.m. The Texas Chiefs of Police Fallen Officer fund helps many Texas families during the year when their loved one is killed in the line of duty. Even if you have not known an officer that died in the line of duty, we are all affected by a loss. The department has race costs to cover, so I encourage you to take a few moments to think about this worthy organization and if you can donate to the Gears & Grub event benefiting the Fallen Officer Fund.
We are again planning the Salute Our Veterans luncheon, this year held on Tuesday, November 12 at Celebrations Event Center. This event gets better and better each year because it is an opportunity for the community to thank our veterans. The Highland Village Business Association seeks sponsorships from businesses and individuals so the veterans and one guest can attend the event at no charge. Over the years Congressman Michael Burgess has presented his Congressional Commendation to nominated veterans in his district at the event. And, for many of us, the best part of the event is the time when each veteran tells everyone in attendance their name, the branch of service in which they served and a little something about their time in the service. We don’t have many World War II veterans left so we always enjoy hearing from them. In a male dominated field, it’s always interesting to hear from the women who served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) and the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS). So often these veterans tell us they don’t deserve any special recognition or that someone else they served with did far more than them; still we’ve seen that a sincere “thank you for your service” is
very much appreciated and certainly deserved. If you’d like to sponsor a veteran for the lunch or attend the lunch, contact the city at 972-899-5131.
To continue in the spirit of Veterans Day, please plan to join us on Tuesday, November 12, at 4 p.m. to honor Highland Village veterans. A short recognition ceremony will be held to honor current or former residents for their service to our country. This event will take place on the landscaped grounds of the Highland Village Municipal Complex. Stainless steel plaques will be placed on the stone monuments adjacent to the Armed Forces Monument and the Inland Trail recognizing each of these individuals who so honorably served our country. Mark your calendar and plan to join us for this very special celebration!
I look forward to seeing you around our city.