Saturday, May 28, 2022

Highland Village City Update — May 2022

This is it. My last article as Mayor of Highland Village. I occasionally provide the opportunity for a department head to write the monthly article. City staff asked if they could submit the article this month. Before I turn the space over to them, I must tell you all how incredibly blessed I have been to serve as the mayor of Highland Village. This community is like no other. We care about each other. We help support each other. We applaud each other. The people who make up Highland Village, our residents, businesses and employees are the best. All of you have made it so easy for me to serve this community. I am humbled. I thank all of you for your continued support, your engagement, your passion, and mostly your love of Highland Village. Thank you. It has been an honor. I know I will see you around town!

Mayor Wilcox became our leader in 2014, during that time there have been so many initiatives passed and projects accomplished that have improved the quality of life for Highland Village residents and the business community. We asked Mayor Wilcox to allow us to share those accomplishments with you, because we know she won’t toot her own horn.

In everything Mayor Wilcox did, she always asked, “How will this benefit our residents?” Her love of Highland Village is the guide she follows as Mayor of Highland Village. During her tenure we have seen the development of Wichita Estates, Ladera, and our newest housing development The Reserve at Chapel Hill.

The quality of City services and amenities has grown and improved with the construction of Doubletree Ranch Park, the dedication and opening of Lakeside Community Park, the construction of K-9 Kastle Dog Park, the rebuild of Kids Kastle, a new softball field at Unity Park, renovations to Sunset Point Park, improvements to the walking path at Victoria Park, parking lot improvements at Brazos Park and the dedication of the PFC Aaron M. Hudson Memorial Bridge at Doubletree Ranch Park.

In public safety we now have a state of the art dispatch center providing faster and better communication with residents and first responders, a new fire engine, two full-time School Resource Officers in Highland Village schools developing relationships with our youth, the equipment and vehicles needed to efficiently keep our community safe.

Our infrastructure has improved with 22 streets reconstructed, a new water storage tank to ensure we have availability of drinking water and water for emergencies, the expansion of I-35E and, coming soon, northbound access to I-35E from Highland Village Road. We have not one, but two frozen precipitation removal devices (snow plows) to help keep our streets clear and safe in the event of snow or ice storms.

Mayor Wilcox has been a big supporter of Highland Village businesses. During her time as mayor we saw the opening of Whole Foods in The Shops at Highland Village, the construction and opening of The District and then the transition to new owner and façade improvements and name change to The Montana at Bowery Park. The redevelopment of Highland Village Town Center bringing Painted Tree Marketplace, Salerno’s and I Heart Mac and Cheese to Highland Village. New businesses that have redeveloped existing buildings include Hillside Fine Grill, Toasted Yolk, Lambeau’s American Grill, Tiff’s Treats, Brass Tap, ER of Texas, Hugo’s Lost Colony, Handel’s Ice Cream, I Heart Mac & Cheese, Salerno’s Italian, Eggspress Café, Seven Mile Café, Teaholic Restaurant and Teahouse, and so many others.

Sustainability and transparency were some of the buzzwords during Mayor Wilcox’s tenure. The City achieved an AAA bond rating, the highest rating given by Standard & Poors, the ad valorem property tax rate has remained the same, and the homestead allowance was increased for residents who are disabled or over 65 years of age.

From a City staff perspective, Mayor Wilcox has whole-heartedly believed in and supported the employees who serve Highland Village. She was instrumental in hiring a new City Manager, Paul Stevens, on the retirement of Michael Leavitt. She was part of the process of hiring a City Secretary, Police Chief, Fire Chief and Parks Director. She’s always been an advocate for staff ensuring the City offers a robust, yet fiscally responsible, benefit package to remain competitive in the employment market, and provided employees a birthday holiday and designated Good Friday a City holiday.

Looking to the future Mayor Wilcox was involved with the development of the Copperas Branch Park Master Plan and kicked off the long-term Our Village, Our Vision master planning that will be complete at the end of this year. Mayor Wilcox and Council approved a bond program for street and drainage improvements and park improvement to include the construction of cabins at Pilot Knoll Park which will provide an on-going revenue stream for the City as well as bring visitors to shop and play in Highland Village.

As you can see, Mayor Wilcox has played a major role in the progress of Highland Village. Whether it be during a pandemic, an unprecedented freeze bringing rolling power outages, flooding of our shoreline, drought, or the blissfulness of normal days in Highland Village Mayor Wilcox has been that calming force, the leader who stepped up to serve, the person showing gratitude to every city department, the consistent and compassionate Mayor of our Highland Village.

Mayor Wilcox, we are grateful to you. We appreciate you, your integrity, your faith and your love of Highland Village. Thank you for being a wonderful mayor!

Highland Village City Staff

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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