Here’s some good news. We have completed Phase 1 of the Kids Kastle playground and we’ve scheduled Phase 2 as a community build on July 20-25. This is a project our community and staff have been working on for a year and we’re anxious to finish it.
As you probably remember, we had originally set March 23-26 for the community to build Phase 1 of our new Kids Kastle playground. Much work had been done to prepare; volunteer committees were formed and were working to promote, raise funds, arrange food donations, provide tools and supplies, and secure volunteers. City staff had prepared the site, made plans, and set schedules. We were ready to begin building on March 23. That all changed on March 16 with local disaster orders and stay-at-home mandates due to COVID-19.
Unsure of how long our COVID Quarantine would last, staff was able to schedule May 18-21 with Play by Design. We closely watched the orders from the County and the State hoping we’d be able to begin building the playground on May 18. We were also closely watching the Kids Kastle site. Further delays would undo the prep work staff already completed. Holes had been dug, equipment was onsite, tents were set up for work stations, and more.
When Governor Abbott issued his “Open Texas” plan, we had the green light to move forward with the build for Phase 1. This was a hybrid build with consultants from Play by Design, a few contract laborers, and staff from several departments within the City. These employees worked hard, as a team, and did amazing work. They deserve to be recognized so I want to publicly thank them for their commitment to Highland Village. These were the employees who completed Phase 1:
Parks: Abe Yakes, Adam Richter, Andra Foreman, Anthony “Tony” Adams, Bree Shamsy, Brent Hill, Fince Espinoza, Gabe Doria, Hector Gonzalez, Ignacio “Nacho” Escamilla, Ignacio “Nacho” Gomez, Jesus “Alex” Contreras, Joey Hardin, Jorge Ponce, Luke Trujillo, Manuel Flores, Marcus Mejorado, Phil Lozano, Phil Schmidt, Scott Strasser, William “Chris” Powell, William “Bill” Aycock.
Public Works: Andy Dimsdle, David Gonzalez, Robert Lively, Mark Rudder, Colton Reynolds, Tanner Rogers, Odilon Benitez, Jorge Hernandez, Dakota Bell, Antonio Robinson, Juan Murillo, Jose Guevara, Jose Lazo, Roman Gandarilla.
City staff has set the stage for the community to come out and complete the project during the Phase 2 build. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get out and do something different. There are no special skills required; really there is something for everyone to do. If you, your family, or your business would like to volunteer to help, just visit SpeakUpHV.com to sign up. You can select a single time slot, a single day, or multiple days and times. I look forward to seeing you there!
Another group to be proud of is our local businesses. Our restaurants, retailers, and service professionals have done a great job adapting to the changing circumstances. I know many of you have supported our restaurants by ordering for delivery or pickup. Now many are opening and would enjoy seeing you dine at their location. I have visited most all of the restaurants open in Highland Village and I can tell you they are taking extra precautions to comply with state mandates and ensure your safety.
Our retailers and service professionals are also opening and doing the same thing. Of course shopping in a store or working out at a gym is your choice, but many businesses are offering curbside pickup or shopping by appointment. Let’s support them as they are doing the extra work to keep their businesses open now and in the long-term.
The Highland Village Business Association has used their Experience Highland Village Facebook and Instagram pages as the information location for everything Highland Village. You can also find a Highland Village business directory at www.thehvba.com.
In May, Council considered an ordinance to adopt adjusted speed limits on FM 2499 that were set by TxDOT. A speed study of FM 2499 from FM 2181 to the Tarrant County line was requested by the Denton TxDOT office. In March the City received notification of the completed study and TxDOT’s intent to adjust the speed limits. In order to enforce the new TxDOT speed limits, the City must adopt those speed limits by ordinance. Council had approved the first read of the ordinance but before Council approved the second and final read, TxDOT notified the City of their intent to resubmit a modified ordinance request. The new ordinance request will maintain the current 40 mph posted speed limit from FM 407 to Highland Shores/Castlewood intersection and the current 45 mph from Highland Shores/Castlewood intersection to Castlewood/Northwood. The speed limit would increase from 45 mph to 50 mph from Castlewood/Northwood to FM 2181. When staff receives the new documents from TxDOT Council will vote to adopt the adjusted speed limits.
We are all enjoying more time outside these days and we’ve had quite a bit of rain, which makes an excellent environment for mosquitoes. The City has a mosquito abatement program that includes trapping and testing and treating standing water throughout the City. The best solution is prevention and each of us can help. Remember to empty standing water around your home, clean bird baths regularly, clean roof gutters and French drains, repair access points in rain capturing systems and be sure to apply insect repellent when you are outdoors. You can notify the City of areas that are in need of attention through the Eye on Highland Village app. Just search GoRequest in your app store. When you see something that staff needs to address, just open the app, snap a picture, provide some details and submit. The request will go directly to the appropriate department and gets entered in the City’s work order system. You can submit anonymously, but if you include your contact information staff will provide you status updates.
One final reminder, 2020 is the year of the Census. Our community has always been proactive with nearly 100% of our residents completing past surveys. We need to make sure we do just as well this year. If you haven’t completed the Census yet, please go to www.2020census.gov. It will take you less than five minutes to complete the survey and it means so much to our community to have a complete and accurate count.
We haven’t yet started our community events, except for Kids Kamp which will run from July 6 through July 31. If you are interested in having your kids attend, just visit www.hvparks.com/kidskamp to sign them up.
I hope you and your families are doing well. As a community I believe we have stepped up where needed, encouraged each other, and remained strong through this unusual time and that makes me proud to serve as your Mayor. Thank you for all you do. I hope to see you around soon!