Dec. 13, 2013
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.
Winter Storm Cleanup Continues; Crews Working Saturday to Keep Pace
Richardson work crews expect it will take until the end of the month to complete road and debris cleanup in response to last week’s severe winter weather. Since the early December ice storm, Richardson’s brush and bulky item pickup service, better known as BABIC, has received more than 2,000 calls for service to collect tree limbs and other debris created by the storm. Saturday collection for storm debris has been added to help keep pace with the demand for cleanup service.
Road crews worked 12-hour shifts last weekend to sand streets and had all road obstructions cleared by Sunday. The City resumed normal operations late Monday morning to begin the process of collecting trash, recycling and BABIC requests.
Work crews have been collecting vegetative debris created by the storm and sweeping area roads to remove sand dropped on bridges and at major intersections.
Parks and Recreation Department crews have also been surveying area parks and hike and bike trails to remove debris and address any safety concerns from broken limbs caused by the accumulation of ice on trees and other vegetation. Work in area parks is anticipated to be complete by the end of the month.
Solid waste customers are asked to place their vegetative storm debris by the front curb on their property in their normal bulky item pickup location and to schedule a pickup. Collection service can be scheduled online at cor.net/recycling or by calling 972-744-4111.
Trees Damaged by Ice Storm Can Recover with Proper Care
City crews have been busy clearing limbs and other vegetative debris that came crashing down during the recent ice storm, but most trees that lost large branches will survive and fill back in with the proper care. Experts recommend waiting until all of the ice has melted from the tree before checking the plant for fracture lines, which can be signs of a weak spot. Trees should be pruned below the fracture to the next major limb to remove the damaged area and give the plant a better chance to recover.
Trees affected by the ice storm may look bare after pruning, but most will fill back in after a few growing seasons. Most homeowners will save money and benefit long-term by pruning the damaged tree and letting it grow back rather than cutting down an otherwise healthy plant. Watch Richardson's Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation Roger Scott show you how to assess and handle damage to trees from the ice.
Santa's Village Open This Weekend
Santa’s Village, a miniature town with 16 tiny dwellings on the north side of City Hall, opened for the season Thursday and will remain open from 6 to 9 p.m. today through Sunday and will open again next week, Dec. 19 to 22. Children may visit each dwelling to experience a different holiday activity, including a visit with Santa himself.
For more information, visit cor.net/santa.
Oncor Plans to Enhance Landscape of Owens Trail
Oncor, North Texas’ regulated electric transmission and distribution service provider, is planning to partner with the City of Richardson to improve landscaping along the Owens Trail south of Collins Boulevard as the first enhancement project in the Texas Trails program. That section of the trail – like many others in North Texas – winds past Oncor transmission towers and lies within Oncor’s right of way. The improvements to the Owens Trail are designed to serve as an example for other communities of how Oncor can work with community partners to create landscaped trails if they are constructed within Oncor guidelines.
The landscaping improvements will include plants, rocks, amenities and other features and will be strategically located in areas where they are most compatible with transmission towers and lines. Landscaping options are limited in the space immediately surrounding the towers and at certain points between the towers for safety reasons.
Oncor is donating $250,000 for the construction of the project, which will be maintained by the City. The project is expected to be constructed in March and April 2014 with the community invited to help plant vegetation during a special Earth Day event.
Watch a City Council work session presentation about the Owens Trail enhancements at bit.ly/19AF1WQ.
Council Approves Rezoning Near US 75 and Palisades Creek Drive
The City Council on Monday voted 5-2 to approve the rezoning of 58.5 acres southwest of US 75 and Palisades Creek Drive to develop a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development. The approved zoning provides for more than 1 million additional square feet of office development; up to 200,000 square feet of retail; 300 hotel rooms; 80 single-family homes and 600 urban-style multi-family units. Amenities include a centrally located, 4-acre park encircled by a broad, pedestrian promenade; multi-use trails; and an extensive landscape buffer along the east side of Collins Boulevard. Two existing office towers containing more than 450,000 square feet will remain and be incorporated into the overall site layout as the new development progresses.
City Council directed staff to work with the developer to craft a phasing plan for the project to ensure that key elements of the development, including open space amenities and single-family homes, are in place prior to starting construction on the multi-family components. The Council must approve the phasing plan before any development begins.
Watch a work session about the rezoning at bit.ly/J3NQBE and view the Council meeting discussion at bit.ly/JcOIVg.
New Ordinance Allows Electioneering During Early Voting
The City Council approved an ordinance Monday that establishes rules for electioneering during early voting and Election Day at polling locations that are on public property, such as the Richardson Civic Center. The Texas Legislature passed a bill in June that requires public entities to allow electioneering at polling locations on public property throughout the voting period.
The new ordinance allows electioneering from 30 minutes before polls open to 30 minutes after they close. Electioneering is not allowed on driveways, parking areas or medians within parking areas. Signs may not be placed on buildings, trees, poles or landscaped areas or within 10 feet of the public roadway adjacent to the polling location.
Watch a City Council work session about the changes at bit.ly/1aTtEZQ.
City Pays Off 2004 Bond Early
The City Council on Monday approved a resolution that will save the City nearly $768,000 in interest payments by paying off the remainder of the 2004 Taxable General Obligation Refunding Issue six years early. The City paid off nearly $2.1 million in 2013 and will pay the remaining $1.8 million in principal in 2014. By paying this debt off early, the City avoids paying applicable interest each year from 2013 through 2020.
Watch a Dec. 2 work session presentation about the early payment at bit.ly/1jmnx7Q.
Council Awards Bids for Entry Feature Enhancements, Pavement Repair
Six Richardson neighborhoods will soon have new entry features after the City Council awarded the project to Ratliff Hardscape at Monday’s meeting. The updates include landscaping, freestanding masonry signs, screening wall sign enhancements and irrigation in the College Park, Town North, Woodhaven, Pinery, Canyon Creek Condo and East Prairie Creek neighborhoods. Construction is expected to begin in January 2014 and be complete by May 2014.
The Council also awarded a bid to Estrada Concrete for pavement repair in an area between Arapaho and Spring Valley roads and generally between Waterview Drive and Floyd Road. The project includes about 12,300 square yards of asphalt repairs with reinforced concrete pavement in concrete streets. Funding for the project is provided through 2013-2014 Street Rehabilitation Funds. Construction is expected to begin in January 2014 and end by July 2014.
Breakfast With Santa on Thursday
Children ages 2 to 5 are invited to attend Breakfast with Santa from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. or 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday at Huffhines Recreation Center. In addition to enjoying a meal with Santa Claus, participants will make a craft and receive a small treat.
Cost is $10 per person. Pre-registration is required by visiting cor.net/parksonline. Use registration #74183 for the 8:30 a.m. seating and registration #74184 for the 10 a.m. seating. Space is limited.
Eisemann Center to Host Holiday Events
Several holiday shows are coming to the Eisemann Center this weekend, beginning with Dallas Repertoire Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” The Christmas classic will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $10 to $50. For more information, visit danceada.com.
RLB Productions will present “Joy to the World Jazz Concert” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. It will feature standard Christmas tunes performed as swing, bebop, funk and Latin jazz. Tickets cost $20. For more information, visit rlbproductions.com.
Two shows that were cancelled because of last week’s ice storm have been rescheduled. The Vocal Majority will present “A VM Christmas Story” at 8 p.m. Dec. 28 and 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 29. The Richardson Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert is also expected to be rescheduled.
For more information, call 972-744-4650 or visit eisemanncenter.com.
UT Dallas to Host Free Computer Science Expo
UT Dallas is inviting the public to celebrate Computer Science Education Week at a free open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Families are encouraged to attend to learn about Computer Science education by reviewing demos, listening to presentations or completing a self-paced tutorial. Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka will help kick off the event with remarks at 10 a.m.
For more information and a complete schedule, visit utdallas.edu/k12/csedweek/.
Richardson Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
Hello! My name is Chance, the Shelter staff found me when I was lost and took me in. They helped to get me vaccinated, bathed, and shaved since I was so matted and dirty. Now I am being cared for by a foster family and I would really like to have a family of my own this Christmas. I am a bit old, but that doesn't mean I have any less love to give. Would you please give me a chance?
For information about other animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s Facebook page at facebook.com/RichardsonAnimalShelter.
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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Mayor Pro Tem