It’s election time again in Denton County. And this year we said farewell and thank you to Mayor Pro Tem Fred Busche, a long-serving Highland Village resident. Fred first served on City Council from 2001 to 2007. He was elected to serve again in May of 2012. During his time on Council, Fred served on the Highland Village Community Development Corporation and more recently, the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee. Prior to serving on Council, Fred served on the Highland Village Planning and Zoning Commission and was the County appointed board member to the Denton County Transportation Authority. He was an advocate of the City developing a GIS system, which has been a tremendous benefit to Highland Village in planning and infrastructure projects. Busche also contributes his time to serving in the Highland Village Rotary Club and has been involved for many years with the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas, which assists in finding forever homes for retired greyhounds. Fred has been passionate about our trail system, the walkability of our City, and dogs. In fact at every Council meeting, we could count on Fred to remind residents of the importance of picking up after your dog in order to keep the trails system, sidewalks and walking paths nice for all residents. Many people likely don’t know Fred has a background in earth sciences with a Master of Science in volcanology and a Doctor of Philosophy in geochemistry. Fred has worked hard for the residents of Highland Village and been a strong advocate for our City. We appreciate his service and will miss his insight and dedication.
Tom Heslep filed for the place on Council vacated by Fred. Tom has served on the Planning & Zoning Commission and will make a great addition to your City Council. All other candidates are unopposed so we cancelled the general election for city officials. All candidates are declared elected to the specified office and will begin their official duties on May 14, 2019. The candidates are Michael Lombardo, Place 3; Tom Heslep, Place 5; and Dan Jaworski, Place 7. Congratulations to these three, I look forward to working with each of them.
I had the opportunity to participate in the Copperas Branch Master Plan kick off meeting in April. We had a good turnout of residents providing ideas on how they would like to see the park developed. We received some great ideas. There is still an opportunity for you to share your ideas for the park. I encourage you to visit SpeakUpHV.com and scroll through the 360o photos on the site and share your ideas for the park. While you are there, check out the ideas provided by others and comment on the ones you also like. This site is meant to be a place where we can have conversations about how we develop Copperas Branch Park. The site is also where all the information about the master plan process can be found.
We are continuing to make progress on the parks bond projects. The new softball field at Unity Park is currently under construction. The parking lot expansion at Brazos Park is complete and ready for flag football season. The big project is the pond improvements and the replacement of Kids Kastle. The pond renovation and drainage improvements are currently under design and are expected to be completed by late spring, with the bidding process to start soon afterward. The project scope of work includes removal of accumulated silt and reconfigure the pond to accommodate a 50-year flood which will also benefit the surrounding areas. This work will impact the dog park and the Kids Kastle project. One of the design elements for drainage improvements for the pond will consist of adding drainage culverts through the narrow part of the large dog park. Once the culverts are in place, the contractor will start work immediately to establish grass over the top of the culverts. Users of the dog park can expect some temporary changes to the park during construction with the goal of minimizing closures. The renovated pond will be larger than it currently is in order to meet the critical water retention and drainage needs for the site. We anticipate the pond and drainage improvements to start this summer and be completed in the spring of 2020.
The City recently received a donation of $125,000.00 from the Highland Village Park Foundation for site improvements surrounding the Kids Kastle and the pavilion area at Unity Park. This project will improve circulation and provide much-needed entry improvements into the park and Kids Kastle. Combining this new project with the pond improvements and adding the demo of Kids Kastle will provide a cost savings for the city, ensure proper drainage for the Kids Kastle area, and will significantly reduce the overall construction time. We anticipate construction of the pond, the above-mentioned site improvements, and the demo of Kids Kastle to start this summer.
Staff is receiving Request For Statement(s) of Qualifications from consultants who specialize in community-built playgrounds for the replacement of Kids Kastle. Once the statements are received, city staff will start the review and grading process with the goal of having a consultant recommendation to City Council this summer. The community engagement and design process with the consultant for Kids Kastle is expected to start this fall. The City anticipates construction of the new Kids Kastle to start in the winter of 2020.
We currently have red stone pavers from Unity Park that were donated by residents that we’d like to return to those who wish to have them. If you have a stone paver you’d like to pick up, please contact the parks department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the names on the paver and as many details as possible in the e-mail.
Now that summer is nearly upon us, it is time to think about how much water you are using. The City enacts Phase 1 water conservation at the beginning of May through the end of September. This means you should only run your sprinkler system after 6:00 p.m. and before 10:00 a.m. If you haven’t signed up yet, I encourage you to sign on to the Eye on Water site. Here you can monitor your water usage, set up alerts to notify you when you have a potential leak and you can verify your meter reads. Just visit the City website and select Monitor Your Water Usage under Utility Billing. You’ll need your zip code, utility account number and a valid email address.
It is outdoor event season and we have some fun things happening in Highland Village:
- The annual Highland Village Art Festival is set for Saturday, May 4 at The Shops at Highland Village from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Movies in the Park are Incredibles 2 on Friday, May 10 and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids on Friday, May 17. The movies will show at Doubletree Ranch Park and will begin at dusk
- The Splash Pad at Doubletree Ranch Park opens for Friday through Sunday use on May 4 and then will open for the summer on Friday, May 24.
- Celebrate Highland Village will take place on Saturday, June 1 at Unity Park. Morning events include a 5K run, the family fish out, and the Abor Day proclamation. Then in the evening beginning at 6:00 p.m. we’ll have food vendors and the kids zone. Music will kick off at 6:30 p.m. with Jon Christopher Davis & The Lone Star Attitude Band. The evening concludes with the fireworks extravaganza launched right from Unity Park!
I know we’re all looking forward to the fun events and the warmer weather! I hope to see you around.