Sept. 28, 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.
Methodist Richardson Medical Center Breaks Ground on New Hospital
MRMC and Methodist Health System representatives, elected officials, and civic and business leaders are pictured at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new hospital.
Methodist Health System celebrated its latest expansion in North Texas at a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for the Methodist Richardson Medical Center—Bush/Renner hospital. The new 125-bed, four-story acute care hospital is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
The new 266,250-square-foot hospital will be at the southeast corner of Renner Road and President George Bush Turnpike. The expansion extends Methodist’s existing service area and will offer enhanced health care services to residents in Richardson, Garland, Murphy, Plano, Sachse, Wylie and surrounding areas.
Among the center’s features are a women’s pavilion; level III neonatal intensive care unit and labor, delivery and recovery services; an advanced neurosciences program; outpatient surgical services; advanced cardiac care; and comprehensive imaging technologies for enhanced diagnostics and treatment. The new hospital will employ almost 900 professionals, and physicians representing more than 35 specialties are expected to join the medical staff.
Skinny the Cat Moves to New Home
A 41-pound cat brought to the Richardson Animal Shelter last week has been moved to a long-term care facility, where she will receive specialized care including diet, exercise and grooming. “Skinny” came to the Shelter after being picked up as a stray in a Richardson resident’s backyard. She has trouble grooming herself and cannot walk around easily because of her large size.
Skinny received international attention after The Associated Press and People magazine picked up her story. Hundreds of people worldwide contacted the Shelter to inquire about adopting the cat.
For more photos and information about "Skinny," visit the Animal Shelter Facebook Page. You can also follow Skinny on Twitter at http://bit.ly/PIz2aA.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Begins Demolition at Heights Shopping Center
Work on the future home of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at the Heights Shopping Center has begun, with demolition of the old building under way.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has developed a loyal following over the years and offers a unique movie-going experience. When it opens next year, the 35,350 square-foot Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Richardson will be a state-of-the-art theater with 100 percent digital projection.
Richardson used an economic incentive package to lure the development so it could serve as a catalyst for the shopping center, attracting other enviable retail to the City. The Heights Shopping Center was built in the late 1950s and early 1960s and has been a focus of revitalization efforts.
Arapaho/Collins Redevelopment Study Begins
The City Council was introduced to a team of consultants from SB Friedman Development Advisors and HDR, Inc. who will work with the City to form a plan to redevelop the East Arapaho/Collins area, a zone targeted for enhancements in the 2009 Comprehensive Plan. The consultants presented their qualifications and development philosophies at a work session Monday.
The study area is bounded generally by Apollo Road on the south, Collins Boulevard on the north, Greenville Avenue on the west and Plano Road on the east. More than 85 percent of the land in the study area is zoned Industrial, and more than 20 percent of the building space is vacant. The City hopes to develop a strategy to address the underperforming space in the Arapaho/Collins zone and reposition it in the marketplace. Specifically, the study will focus on “flex space,” and how to make changes to improve its performance. Flex space is commercial property that can be used a variety of ways; from office or research/development to retail sales and industrial processing.
The consultants plan to work with the City to interview key informants and conduct a market analysis during the next few months. They will report their findings to the City Council in early 2013 and begin developing a redevelopment strategy and implementation plan. The public will have opportunities to provide input after the baseline market analysis is complete.
Watch the work session presentation at http://bit.ly/Skm4O4 and http://bit.ly/P3hmUK.
West Nile Update
The Richardson Health Department conducted ground spraying Wednesday and Thursday nights this week between Spring Valley and Apollo roads west of Glenville Road and east of Lois Lane (see map) to lower mosquito populations and prevent the spread of the West Nile virus. The spraying was in response to a positive West Nile virus test from a mosquito pool sample in the spray area.
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.
Regional Trail Connection Agreement Approved
The City Council on Monday approved an Inter Local Agreement with the City of Plano to plan and construct a 1.9-mile trail that would wind through Breckinridge Park 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 will provide the land and future maintenance of the trail.
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 along 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 a work session presentation at http://bit.ly/Pr38zq.
City Council Approves Funding for 26 Arts Groups
The City Council approved $300,000 in arts grant funds for 26 organizations at its Monday meeting. The grants are funded through the City's Hotel/Motel Tax Fund, and recommendations on disbursement of the funds are made by the Richardson Arts Commission.
The City approved funds for one new group, Islamic Art Revival Series, which will receive $2,000. Twenty-four of the 26 organizations received funding last year, with Arts Incubator of Richardson returning to the program. Contemporary Ballet Dallas and Al-khatib Compassion are the only two groups that received funds last year that did not reapply.
Groups requested funding earlier this year by submitting application forms, schedules of events, current year budgets, financial statements and other documents. The Richardson Arts Commission finalized its recommendations of fund disbursements on Sept. 4.
Watch a presentation about the funds at a recent City Council work session at http://bit.ly/SiftrY.
National Night Out Set for Tuesday
Residents throughout Richardson will gather to meet their neighbors and take a stand against crime at area block parties held the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 2, as part of National Night Out. The annual event is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, support anticrime programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.
For more information, call the Richardson Police Department Crime Prevention Unit at 972-744-4955.
Drug Take Back Event Saturday
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.
Pete Burks Service Day Update
More than 200 people volunteered to complete improvement projects at the Richardson YMCA and 27 homes in 10 Richardson neighborhoods Saturday, Sept. 22, through the inaugural Pete Burks Service Day. The event was the City’s largest service project related to the Volunteer Assistance Program and was 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. Volunteers helped remove dead trees, painted, beautified yards and completed several other tasks.
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. Footwashers has been involved with the Volunteer Assistance Program for two years.
The next big opportunity to volunteer for the Community Services Department will be in April 2013, which will be designated by the City as a Month of Volunteerism. Residents will be able to give their time through a variety of local charities and organizations, which will be announced at a later date.
Woodcreek Church Joins Community Garden Program
Woodcreek Church is the newest member of Richardson’s Community Garden Partnership Program, after the City Council approved its request to participate at Monday’s meeting. The church will receive a 95 percent discount on water used for the garden by committing to donate at least 25 percent of its produce to charity and maintaining at least eight plots. The church is planning to initially construct 20 garden plots, with space to expand in the future. Produce will be donated to the food pantry at NETWORK of Community Ministries.
Nonprofit and religious organizations are eligible to participate in the Community Garden Partnership Program. They must submit an application for approval to the Environmental Advisory Commission and City Council. Each garden must install an irrigation meter to keep track of water usage to take advantage of the discount. For more information on the program, visit http://www.cor.net/index.aspx?page=1475.
Literacy Starts @ Birth at Library
The Richardson Public Library will host Literacy Starts @ Birth, a free reading readiness workshop, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 in the Basement Program Room. Parents, caregivers and educators will learn tips, activities, information and games designed to help prepare children from birth through six years old for reading readiness.
Registration is not required to attend. For more information, call 972-744-4358.
Go “Big and Bright!” to the State Fair on DART
You can take Dallas Area Rapid Transit to the State Fair of Texas, which runs Sept. 28-Oct. 21.
Customers can ride to the fair on DART’s Green Line to two stations: Fair Park, located on Parry Avenue at the entrance to the fairgrounds, and MLK, Jr., located south of R.B. Cullum Boulevard.
There is a discount for buying the DART/State Fair Combo Ticket in advance, available only at participating Kroger Food Stores, a $20 value for $17. The price includes one-time State Fair admission and transportation on DART Rail and local buses on the date of use.
For more details about passes visit www.DART.org/StateFair or call DART Customer Information at 214-979-1111.
North Dallas Mothers of Twins Sale at Civic Center
The North Dallas Mothers of Twins Club will hold its semi-annual sale from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 at the Richardson Civic Center. More than 20,000 gently-used items for children will be for sale, including brand name clothes, shoes, strollers, car seats, nursery items, toys, books and much more.
Admission is $1. All payments must be made by cash or check. For more information, visit www.ndmotc.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richardson Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
This is Fufee! She has been at the Shelter since July 2012. She came in as a stray and was pregnant. She had two pups, and only one survived. That little pup has been adopted and now its mama’s turn. She is about 5-years-old, Chihuahua mix, housebroken, and extremely sweet! She's great with kids and other pets. Contact the Animal Shelter (972-744-4480) about Fufee or other animals available for adoption.
For information about other animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s Facebook page at www.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