In this first article of the New Year, I would like to provide a look at what we accomplished in 2022 and what we have planned for 2023.
Much has been done within the city, the Highland Village Road sidewalk is nearly complete, the Chapel Hill Trail connection is underway, the Brazos Park trail connection and the Victoria Park walking path are complete. A new water line was installed on Glenmere, Camden, Turpin and La Mesa Drive. The parking lot at Lions Club Park and Sellmeyer Tennis Courts were replaced. Our Parks staff worked hard to open and maintain the Doubletree Ranch Park splash pad for the 2022 season, which ultimately closed a few weeks early due to deterioration in the surface material. Work is already underway to replace the surface and install fencing to ensure the amenity opens for the 2023 season. Staff tweaked our events and we had great attendance at the Easter Egg Hunt, Celebrate Highland Village, Concerts in the Park, the TXFallenPD Tribute Event, Wine Down with the Grinch and Christmas at the Ranch.
At the end of 2021, city council approved issuance of Certificates of Obligation totaling $15.75M for street and drainage and park improvements. The Certificates of Obligation will coincide with expiring debt and therefore have no impact to the city’s ad valorem tax rate.
Projects identified during the budget process as part of the Capital Improvement Program include engineering for reconstruction of Highland Shores Blvd. from Briarhill to Twin Coves and Highland Village Rd. from Brazos to the KCS Railroad crossing. A portion of the reconstruction cost for these roadways was included and approved by voters in the Denton County TRIP Bond proposal. Reconstruction and overlay projects on many of our streets, traffic signal improvement at Highland Village Road and Brazos Road, improvement to pedestrian crossings and several drainage projects are included.
In Parks, Unity Park will see turf improvements at K-9 Kastle dog park, field renovations, irrigation upgrades and lighted basketball courts. The fishing pier at Village Park will be renovated. Pilot Knoll Park will see improvements to the campgrounds and shelters, a new gatehouse, improvements to the boat ramps and the addition of 16 rental cabins that will bring visitors to our community to enjoy our parks, restaurants, shops, gas stations, etc. and provide an ongoing revenue source. All of these projects will span over several years, you can check the 2022 Bond Projects page on the city website for projects updates and timelines.
This year we launched the Our Village, Our Vision project to update the city’s planning documents, specifically focusing on parks, recreation and open space, trails, our commercial corridor, roadways and the opportunity areas which are the last parcels of land that could be developed. We launched this project as we look toward build out; to help ensure our goal of remaining fiscally sound and maintaining our quality of life. City’s planning documents are the guide or the vision to navigate short and long-term development decisions and they are living documents that can be modified as dictated by the environment and need at that time. If the city applies for grant funding the plans are needed; for example, the city is applying for a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife to provide funding for the construction of the cabins at Pilot Knoll Park, which will also be a future new revenue stream for the city. We are nearing the end of the Our Village, Our Vision project and city council will hold a public hearing and consider approval of the plan at meetings early this year.
A project I initiated when elected mayor is a public safety monument designed to honor those who have chosen to serve as a public safety first responders for Highland Village or have lived in Highland Village. The design for that monument is currently underway and I am working with staff to develop the implementation plan and policy for placement on the monument. It was also important to me to highlight the art of our local students, so we worked with LISD to develop a schedule for displaying student artwork in the Municipal Complex rotunda. Next time you are in the Municipal Complex, check out the display case in the rotunda and see the work our talented students have created.
As I was campaigning for mayor through the early part of 2022 and serving as a council member, I spoke with many residents about Highland Village and their wishes for our community. Those discussions with our residents have continued through the Our Village, Our Vision public involvement, speakers comments at council meetings, emails, phone calls, and my monthly Coffee with the Mayor at Sip Stir Coffee House. With that in mind, I’d like to encourage all residents to become involved, connect with us, tune in to what is happening within the city and share your thoughts. The city provides many ways for you to stay informed and aware of projects, initiatives and events. You can sign up for the monthly email newsletter, The Villager, and the bi-weekly City Manager’s Report. You can follow the city, parks, police, fire, and Experience Highland Village on Facebook and Instagram. The city streams public meetings on the website and on its YouTube channel, just go to youtube.com/highlandvillagetx and subscribe to receive notifications when a video is live. At the Stay Notified link on the city website you can sign up to receive notifications of events, news, public meetings, and emergency alerts. Be in the know about what is happening in our city and, most importantly, ask me, other council members, or city staff if you have a question about something or want more information. We welcome the opportunity to share information.
If you are interested in serving Highland Village as a council member, now is the time to submit the needed paperwork for a place on the ballot. This year council places 3, 5 and 7 are up for election. The City Secretary’s page on highlandvillage.org has all the details or you can contact the City Secretary at 972-899-5132.
Once again, I would like to thank this community for placing your confidence in me to serve as mayor. I am looking forward to what 2023 holds and wish you all a wonderful year as well!