STATE OF THE CITY 2015
On January 28 at a free and open to the public event, Former Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka delivered the annual State of the City Address at the Eisemann Center. Noting the City’s strong position, Mayor Maczka’s remarks focused on the City’s major accomplishments during 2014, and its positive future outlook.
Several noteworthy accomplishments received notable recognition by the mayor, due to their current and anticipated positive impact on the community:
- The continued construction of the CityLine development, which includes State Farm’s corporate campus, Raytheon’s near 500,000-square-foot Intelligence, Information and Services complex, numerous restaurants, a cinema and retail. When complete, the project will include more than 185 total acres, six million square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail space, hotels, urban-style homes, parks, and more than 10,000 new jobs, many of them, high-tech, high-paying positions.
- The grand opening of the $120 million, 125-bed, Methodist Richardson Medical Center on Renner Road near the President George Bush Turnpike. The new medical center is home to 900 professionals, including physicians representing more than 35 specialties.
- The Richardson Economic Development Partnership (REDP) partnering with the National Center for Economic Gardening (NCEG), to launch the North Texas region’s first economic gardening initiative to help revenue-generating start-ups grow.
Other 2014 accomplishments mentioned during the remarks, which were segmented into areas of emphasis reflecting the City Council’s statement of goals, included:
Arts and Culture
- Launched the Cultural Arts website as part of the Cultural Arts Master Plan to provide information on community-wide plays, music, art and film.
- Attracted nearly 200,000 patrons to the Eisemann Center for concerts, corporate gatherings, dramas, and special events such as the Miss Texas Pageant, which will return to Richardson for the 2015 pageant.
- Richardson continued to produce and enhance its signature events, such as the Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival, and the Cottonwood Arts Festival, featuring works from the nation's top visual artists.
Community Vitality and Neighborhood Integrity
- The City purchased nearly 60 acres of land to significantly expand the Spring Creek Nature Area south of CityLine.
- Through catalyst projects and revitalization programs, the City redeveloped aging properties into thriving retails centers and restaurants such as Dal-Rich Shopping Center, Restaurant Park and Ten 50 BBQ.
- The City received Class 1 ISO Rating, helping property owners obtain best possible insurance rates.
- Richardson ISD has 23 Department of Education National Blue Ribbon campuses and all four RISD high schools were named among America’s Best High Schools by Newsweek.
- 85 percent of RISD schools earned at least one distinction for academic achievement, compared with 53% statewide.
- Richland College is a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award winner. The only community college to receive this honor.
- UT Dallas is ranked among the top 100 American universities in the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled.
- UT Dallas also set a new enrollment record this past year with more than 23,000 students, ranging from 16 to 82 years of age, and has grown the campus by more than three million square feet since 2007.
- A joint effort by the Solid Waste, Water, Street Division, and Parks and Recreation crews led to the largest weather clean-up response in Richardson’s history – more than 2,400 tons of material after a major ice storm.
- The City maintained its AAA (highest available) ratings from both Standard & Poor’s (five years consecutively) and Moody’s (four years running).
- Created a budget that lays a foundation for future reinvestment in the community, including an 83 percent hike in funding for street repairs, and a 76 percent increase for other road maintenance. Today, nearly two pennies from the 63-cent tax rate, or more than $2 million, is going directly to road maintenance and other infrastructure improvements.
- Dedicated a full half-penny of property tax revenues to fund future economic development efforts.