Sept. 21, 2012
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. A list of links for stories in this edition is available at the bottom of the page.
Richardson Named Scenic City
The Richardson City Council was presented this week with information that Richardson has earned Gold Certification from the Scenic City Certification Program. A special event will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 at Huffhines Recreation Center to officially celebrate the designation. A Scenic City board member will officially present the award, which was earned by only seven other cities in Texas this year.
Richardson scored high marks for its landscape ordinance, strict signage regulations, lighting standards and protection of landscaping during construction projects. The Gold Certification will be valid through 2017.
The Scenic City Certification Program is the first in the U.S. to incorporate a comprehensive set of model standards for design and development of public roadways and public spaces into one program. For more information, visit www.sceniccitycertification.org.
Watch a presentation about Richardson’s Scenic City Gold Certification at http://bit.ly/S8gJit.
City Removes Beehive from Tree Limb
A beekeeping specialist hired by the Richardson Health Department removed a beehive from a tree in the Canyon Creek area today. The removal was determined to be the best way to protect the public’s safety.
The specialist the City contracted with to remove the hive determined that the bees were Africanized. Due to their aggressiveness, the hive could not be relocated. The professional beekeeper has extensive experience removing and relocating bees, including previous work for the City of Richardson.
Normally, homeowners are responsible for the removal of nuisance beehives, but due to the immediate public safety threat the Richardson Health Department moved forward with trying to relocate the hive.
Many places around the home including grill covers, old tires and attics can be suitable nesting locations for bees, wasps and hornets. People are urged to check their homes and property on a regular basis for natural hazards and other safety issues that can arise over time.
Pet of the Week Draws National Attention
A cat brought in to the Richardson Animal Shelter this week has gained international attention due to her unusually large size. “Skinny” was picked up this week as a stray cat in a Richardson resident’s backyard. She is about 41 pounds and extremely overweight.
Local news, and even the Associated Press, has contacted the Shelter to inquire about the cat. More than a hundred people have also contacted the shelter to offer to adopt “Skinny.” Because of her health concerns, she will be placed in another shelter, where she can lose weight and get the specialized care she needs.
Contact the Animal Shelter (972-744-4480) about animals available for adoption.
For more photos and information about "Skinny," visit the Animal Shelter Facebook Page.
Heights Recreation Center and Gymnastics Center Update
Construction is on schedule for the new Gymnastics Center, which is expected to open Jan. 2, 2013, and reconstruction of the Heights Recreation Center, which has an opening date set for May 27, 2013. Work on the Heights Family Aquatics Center is about a month behind because of a utility issue and is expected to open in June 2013. The City Council heard a progress report on all three projects at its work session Monday.
The existing Heights Recreation Center will be open to the public through Dec. 15. Demolition of the building is expected to happen in early 2013. Heights Recreation Center classes will begin at alternate sites – including Huffhines Recreation Center, the Senior Center and the new Gymnastics Center – on Jan. 7, 2013.
With the opening of the new Gymnastics Center, the City is reviewing fees for classes. Preschool and Team Class fees are expected to rise about 15 percent, while Elementary Class fees are expected to go up 20 percent. The proposed increases will keep costs comparable to nearby public gymnastics programs and lower than many private sector classes.
Watch the presentation to the City Council at http://bit.ly/PqsFZw.
Construction at the new Heights Recreation Center
Proposal for Regional Trail Connection at Breckinridge Park
The City of Plano is partnering with the City of Richardson to plan and construct a 1.9-mile trail that would wind through Richardson to connect an existing trail in southeast Plano to the Timbers Nature Preserve Park in Murphy. The trail is completely funded through the City of Plano’s bond program. The City of Richardson would provide the land and future maintenance of the trail if the City Council approves an Inter Local Agreement at a future meeting.
The trail is proposed to be built in two phases, with Phase 1 running from the west side of Murphy Road within an Oncor high transmission line corridor to the existing trail on Rowlett Creek in Breckinridge Park. Construction on this part of the trail is expected to take place in 2013. Phase 2, which is currently unfunded, would connect Rowlett Creek to Otto Middle School. The City of Plano hopes to receive a grant from Collin County to pay for additional trail length, which is set to be constructed in the next two to three years.
Watch the work session presentation at http://bit.ly/Pr38zq.
Mid-Year Crime Statistics Update
The City Council received an update at its work session Monday on crime statistics through the first half of the year, which showed double digit decreases in many categories but a 12 percent increase in overall crime. The increase is due in part to a change in how crimes are reported, with each offense at a crime scene now counted separately rather than grouped as a single incident.
The greatest declines came in the number of business robberies, which are down 50 percent. The City also saw big drops in the number of auto thefts, individual robberies, simple and aggravated assaults and residential burglaries, which are on track for a record low this year.
The biggest change was in the number of business burglaries, which increased 79 percent. The jump is attributed in part to a very low number of offenses the previous year and the change in how crimes are reported. The Police Department has created a task force to address the issue and has adjusted the hours of some officers to schedule more of them on patrol at night when these offenses most often occur.
The City’s Crime Watch Patrol continues to grow, with 629 residents serving as active volunteers to report suspicious activity to police in 22 neighborhoods.
Watch the mid-year crime statistics presentation at http://bit.ly/Ul3NoO.
Chinese Delegation Visits Richardson
A group of about 50 Chinese investors kicked off a three-day visit of North Texas on Thursday with a visit to Richardson. The visitors stopped at UT Dallas and attended a VIP reception of local business executives, academic and civic leaders at the Eisemann Center hosted by the Mayor's Office of International Business. The attendees heard presentations from Mayor Bob Townsend, Richardson Chamber of Commerce President Bill Sproull, State Rep. Angie Chen Button and former Mayor Gary Slagel representing DART.
The visitors are participating in U.S.-China Investment Week, a program that highlights more than 100 investment opportunities during a nine-day tour across the U.S. After visiting North Texas, the investors will split up to visit either Milwaukee and Orlando or Los Angeles and Portland before reuniting in Washington, D.C. to end the tour. Each participant is looking to invest $5 million to $50 million in various projects.
The North Texas tour continued today with the official opening of the conference at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and a dinner gala with former President George W. Bush. The visitors will participate in investment opportunity discussions tomorrow at the Irving Convention Center to conclude the North Texas portion of the tour.
At the reception held at the Eisemann Center a performance of the traditional Lion Dance included a “painting of the lions” ceremony to bring good luck to the conference.
West Nile Virus Update
The Richardson Health Department used ground spray in a portion of the city Monday and Tuesday nights to lower the mosquito population and help prevent the spread of the West Nile virus. The spray was scheduled due to a confirmed human case of the West Nile virus from a resident who lives in the spray area, which was between Renner Road and Lookout Drive west of Central Expressway.
Richardson has had 13 confirmed cases of the West Nile virus in humans this year. No deaths have been recorded in the city due to the disease. To protect from mosquito bites, people are asked to follow the Four D’s of protection:
- DRAIN standing water around the home,
- Use insect repellent containing DEET,
- Avoid being outdoors at DUSK and DAWN when mosquitoes are most active,
- And DRESS to protect yourself with long sleeves and pants to reduce skin exposure.
Spray area for Sept. 17-18
Main Street/Central Study Community Workshop
About 70 Richardson residents and stakeholders participated in a community workshop Wednesday that focused on redevelopment and enhancements along Main Street and the Central Expressway Corridor. Attendees shared opinions through discussion and keypad polling and had additional opportunities to provide input on a variety of issues.
City officials and consultants will use comments gathered at the workshop to help form plans that will guide redevelopment along Main Street and the Central Expressway Corridor, two areas identified for upgrades in the 2009 Richardson Comprehensive Plan.
The final community meeting on this phase of the project will be Nov. 8. The recommendation and an implementation strategy will be presented to the City Council in December.
Click the link below for information about the study, which includes a link to the study Facebook page:
Revitalization Award Nominations Due TODAY
Today is the deadline to submit nominations for 2012 Community Revitalization Awards, which recognize owners who have made significant improvements to their residential or non-residential properties.
Nominations may be submitted by anyone, including the property owner. They must include the property address, a description of the site improvements, contact information for the person making the nomination and contact information for the property owner if available. Before and after photos are helpful but not required.
Nominations may be submitted by e-mail to Israel Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org. They may also be mailed to 411 W. Arapaho Rd., Room 204, Richardson, TX 75080 with a postmark no later than today. Learn more about the program at http://bit.ly/NmRtD8.
Drug Take Back Event Sept. 29
The Richardson Police Department and the Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association will host a free prescription and over-the-counter drug disposal day Saturday, Sept. 29. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the south parking lot of the City Hall/Civic Center Complex, adjacent to Belle Grove Drive.
Participants may drop off medications without exiting their vehicles, and identification will not be requested. Pills and capsules may be disposed of in original containers or be dumped into the disposal box, while pharmaceutical liquids will be accepted in tightly sealed original containers. Intravenous solutions and syringes will not be accepted.
For more information, call the Richardson Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit at 972-744-4955.
Library Events This Weekend
The Richardson Public Library will host a poetry reading and altered book workshop this weekend, both of which are free and open to the public.
Artist Julie Flandorfer will lead an altered book workshop from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Basement Program Room. The workshop will teach adults and older teens how to transform battered books into beautiful works of art. Register by calling 972-744-4376.
The Richardson Poets Group will present a poetry reading by members and guest poet Terry Everett from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Everett has authored two books of poetry, and his work has appeared in more than 200 literary magazines. For more information, call 972-744-4376.
Richardson Reads One Book Program Concludes with Lecture
Author Chitra Divakaruni presented a lecture to the crowd at Richardson High School Thursday night to culminate the 2012 Richardson Reads One Book program. She spoke about her book, “One Amazing Thing,” which was the featured selection for the One Book program this year.
The lecture will be available on the City's website at www.cor.net, on the City's cable TV channel (Time Warner Cable channel 16 and AT&T U-Verse channel 99), and on the City's YouTube channel.
Community Service Day is Saturday
Hundreds of volunteers will work on projects at 27 homes and the Richardson Family YMCA tomorrow as part of Pete Burks Service Day. The event is the City’s largest service project related to the Volunteer Assistance Program and is organized by Footwashers Ministries, Inc. and the Richardson Community Services Department.
Through the program, Community Services matches homeowners who are unable to complete home repairs on their own with individuals and organizations that can do the work. Footwashers Ministries has been involved with the Volunteer Assistance Program for nearly two years.
The day is named in honor of Army 2nd Lt. Pete Burks, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2007. Friends of his, including Footwashers Ministries Executive Director Adam Kanneman of Richardson, decided to organize a service day to honor Burks.
For more information, visit www.befootwashers.com.
Dallas Bead Market Trade Show at Civic Center this Weekend
The Dallas Bead Market fall trade show will be at the Richardson Civic Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The free event is open to the public and will feature exhibitors selling gemstones, pearls, buttons, tools, jewelry, seed beads and much more.
For more information, visit www.thebeadmarket.net.
City Council videos: http://bit.ly/LSHJzE
City Council agenda: http://bit.ly/QoOWF4
City Council meeting documents: http://bit.ly/OrSIQ2
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