March 24, 2017
Here is the latest edition of Week In Review - a series of weekly messages from the Mayor and City Council to help Richardson residents and businesses keep up to date on events at City Hall. If you would like to sign up to receive this in a weekly e-mail click here.
City Maintains Highest Credit Rating
For the eighth year in a row, both the Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s credit rating agencies have reaffirmed Richardson’s “Triple A” status, the highest possible rating available for credit worthiness. Richardson has held AAA status from Standard and Poor’s for 10 years, and has received an Aaa rating from Moody’s the past eight years.
In its rationale, S&P cited Richardson’s “very strong economy, very strong management, very strong budget flexibility, very strong liquidity, strong financial policies and practices, strong budgetary performance and strong institutional framework.” Moody’s reported its rating was based on strengths that include “a large and affluent tax base bolstered by a sizable business district that draws a large daytime population, strong financial management with historical stability in reserve levels, and moderate yet manageable debt burden.”
For more information, click here.
City’s Transparency Initiative to Change
The City of Richardson’s Finance Department will soon implement changes to the City’s Financial Transparency Initiative based on a new transparency award program announced by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. City Finance staff informed the City Council Monday of the changes taking place at both the state and local level.
Under the Comptroller’s previous “Leadership Circle” program begun in 2009, city governments were recognized for meeting a high standard of financial transparency at bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels. Richardson received Gold from 2010-2013 and Platinum in 2014 thanks to its Financial Transparency Initiative web page, www.cor.net/transparency, which includes categories such as Financial Reports, Debt Information, Disbursements and Investments.
The new “Transparency Stars” program has replaced the prior “medal” award levels with five “stars” that cities can earn in the areas of Traditional Finances (primarily elements of the old Leadership Circle program), Debt Obligations, Public Pensions, Contracts and Procurement, and Economic Development. Several types of data must be made available to the public within each star category. Governments can apply for one or more stars, but must receive a Traditional Finances star to qualify for any of the other four.
Finance staff is adding the new categories to the Financial Transparency Initiative web page and plan for it to be “live” by the end of April. The site will be updated weekly, monthly and annually as data elements require. Richardson has been a longtime leader in the area of financial transparency, beginning in 2007 with the posting of City Council agenda documents online. Financial transparency is part of the City Council’s strategies to meet the goal of “effectively and efficiently managing city resources while maintaining and enhancing city services.”
To view Monday’s presentation, click here.
Update Proposed for Open Space Master Plan
Parks and Recreation staff presented the City Council Monday with a proposed update to the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan adopted by the City Council in 2010. The revision is based on citizen input gathered in 2016 at focus group and community meetings, via mail-in and online surveys as well as from the City’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Parks staff proposed to continue many aspects of the 2010 Plan, including monitoring and assessing neighborhood pools, improving and renovating existing neighborhood parks, constructing trails and trail segments to ensure meaningful connectivity, and developing Breckinridge and Prairie Creek parks according to their site master plans.
Proposed additions to the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan are as follows (in no particular order of priority):
Updates to the Plan are necessary periodically to give the City a competitive advantage for state grants and to ascertain if community interests and needs remain the same or have changed. A comparison was given at Monday’s meeting between 25 citizen priorities gathered for the 2010 update versus 2016; the most-desired recreation amenity is still multi-purpose trails, with trail connectivity a top short-term funding priority. Since 2010, the City has added several multi-purpose and soft surface trails, as well as replaced five playgrounds, acquired additional acreage for the Spring Creek Nature Area, and constructed the Heights Recreation Center, Heights Family Aquatic Center, Richardson Gymnastics Center, Bush Central Barkway Dog Park and five neighborhood parks.
- Develop a fully lighted, multi-purpose field sports complex
- Construct an indoor aquatics center and add spraygrounds
- Acquire and preserve additional key natural areas
- Improve the aesthetics of right-of-ways and parks with enhanced beautification
- Construct an indoor recreation center at Breckinridge Park
- Develop a signature park in the city’s center core
The City Council will vote on adopting the updated Plan at the March 27 City Council meeting. To view Monday’s presentation, click here.
Twice as Nice Consignment Sale at Civic Center March 25
Find double the selection at the Twice as Nice Consignment Sale Saturday, March 25 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Richardson City Hall/Civic Center. Sponsored by the North Dallas Mothers of Twins Club, the biannual sale features more than 20,000 barely/gently used items for infants, toddlers, kids, pre-teens and juniors including brand name clothes and shoes; newborn necessities such as strollers, car seats and high chairs; nursery items including cribs, bedding and décor; indoor and outdoor play equipment; toys, games, puzzles, dolls and DVDs; and books for all ages, from kids to parents.
Admission is $1. For more information, go to www.ndmotc.org.
Register Now for April 1 Spring Creek Nature Walk
A new series of Urban Naturalist walks kicks off April 1, 8:30-10:30 a.m., with “Natural History of the Spring Creek Nature Area.” For $5 ($7 for nonresidents), you can explore the Spring Creek Nature Area led by guides Joan and Ernest Stokely. The walk and talk will highlight paleo and later Indian habitation, flora and fauna, as well as the first European settlers, specifically the Campbell and Routh families, who arrived around 1842. The program may also include a short detour to the adjacent cemetery where Campbell and Routh family members are buried, if participants want to visit. Joan has personal stories about the people buried there.
For more information and to register, call Heights Recreation Center (972-744-7850) or Huffhines Recreation Center (972-744-7881), or visit www.cor.net/parksonline (Course #94665). Children may attend for free but must be accompanied by a paying adult. Space is limited to 25 participants.
At the Eisemann Center:
- “The Other Mozart” Continues Through Sunday
8 p.m. Friday-Saturday in the Bank of America Theatre, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $44.
Learn the true story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Amadeus, in this monodrama by Sylvia Milo. Also a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso and composer, Nannerl performed throughout Europe with her brother to equal acclaim, but her work and her story faded away, lost to history. The show features a stunning 18-foot dress designed by Magdalena Dabrowska from the National Theater of Poland.
- Plano Symphony Orchestra March 25
8 p.m. in the Hill Performance Hall. Tickets are $14-$85 and are available online at www.planosymphony.org. Student tickets ($8) are available by phone at 972-473-7262.
Hector Guzman and the Plano Symphony Orchestra pay tribute to several of the great legends of swing and jazz—Glenn Miller, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Then, prepare to be amazed by the incredible winners of the annual Collin County Young Artist Competition in their concerto winning performances—perhaps new legends in the making!
- Richardson Community Band March 26
3 p.m. in the Hill Performance Hall. Admission is free.
The all-volunteer Richardson Community Band presents “For Kids of All Ages,” including a variety of songs such as “Fantasy on Yankee Doodle,” “Uptown Funk,” “Star Wars—The Marches,” “LOL,” Mancini’s “Pink Panther” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Unless otherwise noted, tickets to Eisemann Center events are available at the Eisemann Center Ticket Office, 972-744-4650 and at www.eisemanncenter.com.
- Keyboard Conversations® March 28
7:30 p.m. in the Bank of America Theatre. Tickets are $28-$34.
In “Fiesta! The Glorious Music of Spain and Argentina,” Jeffrey Siegel educates and entertains with the passionate melodies and intoxicating rhythms of some of Spain’s greatest composers—Albeniz, Grandados, de Fallas and others. The performance is part of the 30th Anniversary of “Jeffrey Siegel’s Keyboard Conversations®,” shows that blend commentary with piano performance. Note: This performance was originally scheduled for Oct. 10, 2016.
At UT Dallas:
- Jared Schwartz and Mary Dibbern March 25
8 p.m. in the Jonsson Performance Hall. Tickets are $15.
For tickets, click here.
Internationally known, chart-topping musicians and local music teachers Jared Schwartz and Mary Dibbern perform works by Gabriel Fauré, Ange Flégier and Franz Liszt.
- Theatre UTD Opens “Alhambra” March 30
Thursdays-Saturdays through April 8, 8 p.m. in the University Theatre. Tickets are $15; free on Thursdays.
For tickets, click here.
In this world premiere of a play written and directed by UT Dallas professor Fred Curchack, two couples take a dream vacation through Spain’s art, architecture, poetry, music and dance, alongside the wonders and horrors of its Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Gypsy history. The “hysterical and historical” journey includes video, dance, music and visionary visual effects.
RCAS Spring Exhibition Opens March 25
View original artwork by members of the Richardson Civic Art Society (RCAS) March 25-April 29 displayed on the third floor of the Richardson Public Library as part of RCAS’ juried Spring Exhibition. The show features several categories including collage/mixed media, pastels/graphics (including charcoal, pen and ink, colored and graphite pencils, crayons, woodcuts, etchings, and hand-pulled prints), water media on paper, and oil/acrylic on canvas or hard surface. Participating artists may offer their works for sale.
For more information about RCAS, visit www.richardson-arts.org.
“Death by Design” Continues at Richardson Theatre Centre
Richardson Theatre Centre is presenting Rob Urbinati’s “Death by Design” Thursdays-Sundays through April 2. The play, set during a weekend in an English country manor in 1932, finds a playwright and his wife fleeing to the manor from London after a disastrous opening night. Various eccentric guests arrive unexpectedly, each with a long-held secret. When one of the guests is murdered, it’s left to the feisty Irish maid, who has a macabre interest in homicide, to solve the crime.
Show times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20-$22 and include complimentary sweets, snacks and beverages. To reserve, call 972-699-1130. Richardson Theatre Centre, 518 W. Arapaho Rd., Suite 113, is funded in part by a grant from the City’s Cultural Arts Commission.
Read to Therapy Dogs March 26
Children in grades K-4 get the chance to increase reading skills and confidence by reading to Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs at “Tales for Tails,” Sunday, March 26 from 3-4 p.m. in the First Floor Program room. A “paw-fect” way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
No registration required and admission is free. For more information, call Youth Services at 972-744-4358.
Lunchtime Lecture Series March 28: John Quincy Adams
Learn about the storied life of John Quincy Adams Tuesday, March 28 from 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Basement Program Room. This session, part two of a four-part series presented by Richard Cudlipp, focuses on Adams’ time as ambassador to Holland and Prussia and as a U.S. senator.
Admission is free, and attendees may bring their own lunch. Both teens and adults are welcome. For more information, call 972-744-4376.
Cookies and Coloring March 30
All ages are invited to take a relaxing break and color, eat cookies and listen to soothing music Thursday, March 30 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Basement Program Room. There is no charge to attend and all supplies (and cookies!) are provided.
Richardson Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
Meet Gus! He came to us as a stray back in December 2016. He is a Catahoula-boxer mix, about a year old, neutered, up to date on vaccinations, heartworm negative and house trained. Gus is a sporty dog that loves to play, run and jump and would be great for an active family. Please help Gus find a forever home!
For information about other animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s web page here.
Find Richardson Today on Facebook and Twitter.
Mayor Pro Tem
Marta Gómez Frey