Can we all say thank goodness for the New Year? No more 2020! It was a hard year, certainly one no one anticipated. But through it all, there have been many good things.
We all enjoyed the outdoors a lot more than we normally would have. There has been more time with family. We cleaned, we cooked, we ordered online, and we picked up curbside. Even given the difficulties of 2020, we all found new ways to live our lives, to help others and to do the things that make Highland Village a special place to be. Life isn’t miraculously different now that it is 2021 so as we move into this new year it is my hope we will all continue to make a difference in 2021.
The best news to share with you for 2021 is that our beautiful playground, Kids Kastle, is complete and open for play. As you know we had hoped to rebuild Kids Kastle as a community build project but that was just not possible. The difference makers for the project were our Parks and Public Works department staff members.
Lead by the parks department, City staff worked with Play by Design, LLC to complete the new Kids Kastle. We were fortunate to have the opportunity for small groups of volunteers to work with staff on the weekends to focus on specific elements of the build. Valley Creek Church, the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Parks Board and even City Council all volunteered time to work on Kids Kastle.
The new playground is divided into two separate play areas – one for 2-5 year olds and one for 5-12 year olds. It includes 60 play features, most notably (and requested by the kids during Design Day) is the 85-foot-long zip line, all-inclusive merry-go-round, Woodland Fort Climber, a 24-foot-long Caterpillar, a 6-foot-tall Climbing Rock, the Apollo spinner, the Giant Meteor Climber and so much more.
The surfacing throughout the playground is synthetic turf which is the only antistatic protection synthetic turf available and made in the United States. The surfacing infill is Envirofill which is the cleanest turf infill as it uses Microban antimicrobial protection to help prevent the growth of bacteria and microbes that can cause stains, odors, and product deterioration.
We heard from the parents in the community that covered seating throughout the play area was needed so the new Kids Kastle features four separate covered benches and one large seating area under the 16 x 16-foot metal roof shelter with an outlet and USB chargers.
It was our goal in rebuilding Kids Kastle that it be accessible for all people and, with the help of amazing sponsors, we were able to make that happen. I hope you’ll find some time to visit the new Kids Kastle and check out all the great features and have some fun!
We have some big projects in the works for this year. Our 2018 Bond Streets Improvement Project is nearing completion. Twenty-three streets were included for reconstruction in the project. The streets were divided into four phases and staff is currently working on the last phase which includes Rockland, Hickory Ridge, S. Clearwater, N. Clearwater, Scenic, Springway, and Pecan. The project should be complete by the end of the summer.
We have awarded the contract and work is set to begin on the water line replacement project on Glenmere Dr., Camden Dr., Turpin Dr., and La Mesa Dr. Also included is replacement of an 18-inch sewer main located in a rear property easement of Turpin Dr.
The Unity Park storm drain replacement was included in the 2017 bond package. Work is set to begin to replace the 78-inch storm pipe located under the parking lot adjacent to the 2200 block of Briarhill Boulevard.
Also beginning soon is the painting of the Unity Park Elevated Storage Reservoir. This work is required by the TCEQ as part of our ongoing maintenance and will include painting the inside and the outside. The outside paint color will be the same as the existing color.
Other street improvements include replacement of 20 concrete panels throughout the City and asphalt overlay on streets in need of maintenance or construction.
Parks projects in the works this year include the Highland Village Road sidewalk, the Victoria Park walking path, and the Chapel Hill sidewalk. All of these projects are currently in design.
I am grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to serve our community. If you have ever considered serving Highland Village as a Council member, now is the time to submit the needed paperwork for a place on the ballot. Residents can file an application for a place on the ballot for the May 1 election between January 13 and February 12. This year Council places 3, 5, and 7 are up for re-election. Visit the City website for more details or contact the City Secretary’s office at 972-899-5132.
Speaking of our City website, this year staff will be working on a redesign of the site and they’d like your input. A short survey can be found on the site at highlandvillage.org. I hope you’ll take a couple minutes to complete the survey which will greatly help as the site is redesigned.
I am wishing you all a wonderful 2021! Let’s all remember that no matter the circumstance around us, we have the ability to choose joy each and every day.