VITRUVIAN EVENT TONIGHT: Join us at 8:00pm at Vitruvian Park for another fun event in our Vitruvian Nites Series. Tonight’s FREE event, Fright Nites at Vitruvian will prove to be a thriller as professional Ghost Teller Tim Couch serves up some seriously chilling tales! In addition, several food trucks will be selling comfort food and delicious desserts that will soothe even the faintest of hearts. Or, please feel free to picnic in the park–you can even bring a blanket or lawn chair, and favorite beverages! This outdoor event will be held at the Oak Tree Overlook at Vitruvian Park.
Wow, I cannot believe we are already halfway through June! We have lots of fun things going on in Addison; something just about every night. This week was filled to the brim with three fun events at Vitruvian Park, and tomorrow evening (Saturday) at Beckert Park with the continuation of our Summer Series: Songwriter Saturdays. Really amazing that we offer so much fun to our community in our little 4.3 square miles, no wonder we all love Addison so much!
Mayor Pro Tempore Blake Clemens, Council Member Neil Resnik and staff have completed their tours of general aviation airports all over the country. Last week they were in Ft. Myers, Florida visiting Page Field, as well as the Naples, Florida Airport. Our team received fantastic receptions from both groups, and a very worthwhile exchange of information and ideas. This week for their final exploratory trips, they headed off to Teterboro and Morristown airports in New Jersey, just outside New York City. Our team has now visited seven well-respected general aviation airports around the country in their quest to learn best practices and gain new ideas for their forward looking and thinking strategic planning process. Over the next two months they will pour over their information, notes and ideas and synthesize those best practices into our own plan that should be in early draft form by mid-September. Thanks to our entire team that has made this extra effort to gather valuable information for our process and to insure a well-developed plan.
The Council Work Session on Tuesday began our in depth budget process that will run parallel to our Town Strategic Planning Process. We discussed our 2013 Capital and Information Technology Replacement budget and our 2013 Utility Fund Budget. Ron and his team have added significant improvements to our budget process that will help Council focus on the priority items that need policy direction from Council and are consistent matters of attention based on our roles as Council members. All of our meetings of course are open to the public, so please drop by if you are interested—and while we promise not to give you any tests, you may still feel like you learn something and undoubtedly you will feel better informed about your community and what is going on with your tax dollars.
Our Regular Council Meeting began at 7:30pm with our pledge and announcements that included kudos to our police and fire departments for dealing so effectively with a situation at one of our businesses on Excel Parkway. Business owner Lori Morton McClain wrote a very nice note of thanks on Facebook thanking our team for responding to what turned out to be a false alarm. Thanks for your social media shout out Lori! And, since receiving our Employee of the Quarter Award just last month, Animal Control Officer Kevin Kimbrell has become quite the “rock star” with well-deserved stories in the NeighborsGo section of the Dallas Morning News and several local television interviews on CBS and Fox. Keep up the good work Kevin—we all really appreciate your hard work and dedication to Addison!
After Council approved the meeting minutes and a contract for concrete repairs on Surveyor, Marsh, Midway and Quorum, we acknowledged and thanked our Addison Arbor Foundation for their help in funding our new Water Tower Demonstration Garden. The Arbor Foundation paid for the plans for the garden and are contributing a total of $75,000, about 50 percent of the total project cost, for what will be a great finish-out to our new iconic wind turbine Water Tower. Council approved the contract for the work and we are still hoping to have everything completed and the Water Tower on line by September of this year.
We then had a public hearing, discussion and subsequent approval of the recommendation from our Planning and Zoning Commission to change the zoning on property located adjacent to the new Methodist Hospital on the Dallas Parkway to permit parking for the hospital and new medical office building. It is important to note that no one spoke out against this project during the public hearing. In fact, Carmen Moran reported to us that a couple of folks from Trinity Christian Academy have voiced their support. That suggests the neighbors are all getting along well—congrats to all for making that important effort!
Economic Development Director Orlando Campos gave us a report on our recent trip to Austin to visit with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. All agreed it was a worthwhile effort that in fact is already paying dividends for us. Council Member Chris DeFrancisco gave us his well-researched report and due diligence on the value of our investment with the Communities in Schools program. He shared with us that we are helping 162 Addison school kids with everything from school lunches to extra help with their studies. All agreed that this was a solid and worthwhile investment in our future.
Our airport real estate manager brought us a discussion about a possible new lease extension and sale of airport property on Westgrove Drive. While Bill Dyer’s presentation was well researched and prepared, this was brand new information to the Council and the Council expressed interest in giving the proposals significantly more thought and deliberation in order to gain a better understanding of how these transactions would fit into our upcoming new airport strategic plan. This agenda item was discussion only and no action was taken yet, however, valuable feedback was provided.
OTHER COUNCIL ACTIVITIES
On Tuesday, Ron and I attend the Metroplex Mayor’s Breakfast to hear our area representative of the Dallas Central Appraisal District. He reviewed their methodology for arriving at the values and the huge increase in the number of annual appeals for commercial and residential appraisals. Our preliminary Addison results are a little disappointing; while it looks likes the downward trajectory in values has stopped or bottomed out, we have not seen the increase in commercial property values that we feel are reflected in the activity and rental rates we are seeing in our market. Unfortunately we have absolutely no way to influence the appraisal process and since Texas is a non-disclosure state it makes the work of the Appraisal District pretty challenging when it comes to increasing appraisal values. The commercial property owners and their protest consultants are sometimes the District’s only source of information; you can well imagine how slanted that information may be. In any event, we will maintain our focus on improving values by delivering our high levels of service and continue to enhance and highlight our Addison brand and we know eventually that effort will be reflected in the commercial ad valorem values.
Later on Tuesday, I went by to visit with the folks at Glazer’s Distributors at 14911 Quorum Drive. I met with Adlai Shihab, Senior Vice President David Stuart, and Executive Vice President Pete Carr to let them know how much we appreciate having their corporate headquarters here in Addison. Their business is doing very well as they continue to grow their business all over Texas and beyond. We had a good visit and we will pursue additional ways to make them feel totally connected to Addison.
On Wednesday, I visited another of our very large Addison employers–Hilton Worldwide, Inc. located in the Colonnade. Hilton Worldwide has over 300 employees currently on two floors in over 50,000 square feet of office space. Adriana Cooper, Director of HR, shared that they are about to expand into an additional third floor and hope to have over 400 employees by the end of this year! They are in a major hiring push right now…this is the kind of news that we wish we could share with the Appraisal District folks…but in the meantime, that is great news for our retailers and housing folks, and for the enhanced richness of our entire community.
At noon on Thursday, I was honored to have the privilege of greeting over 500 attendees at the 92nd Annual Texas VFW Conference at our Intercontinental Hotel. They will be with us through this weekend so I made sure they felt welcomed and at home and that they know that we are so proud to have them here in Addison and that we are deeply appreciative of their service to our country. Later Thursday afternoon I stopped by to visit the CEO of one of our Addison Businesses that is deciding this weekend the site for their very large conference in August 2013 and 2014. I extolled the virtues of our wonderful Town and encouraged them to keep their money at “home” so we will know soon and I’ll keep you posted!
Wednesday night was another event in our Vitruvian Nites at Vitruvian Series—it was our first Rhythm Nites concert! We had a great turnout and everyone enjoyed the fantastic sounds of Orlando Salinas and his trio—which included some great rhythm percussion by former Texas Rangers pitcher Jose Guzman! People were dancing and singing, and Orlando kept the crowd engaged with his humor and great voice. Our next Rhythm Nites concert will feature Tres Leches on Wednesday, June 27—come on out and meet us at the Oak Tree Overlook at 8:00pm to hear Tres Leches! Check out some pics from the Orlando Salinas Trio at Rhythm Nites!
Thursday evening, Nelly and I made it over to Vitruvian to enjoy the food, great music and very diverse, fun crowd of over 350 folks at Vitruvian Park at Thursday’s Bite Nites at Vitruvian, hosted by Tom Lamberth and our friends at UDR. The weather was absolutely perfect and the event was so much fun! Wow, I encourage you to put Thursday Bite Nites at Vitruvian and any of our Vitruvian Nites events on your must try list and be sure to add them to your calendar.
Friday, Neil, Blake and our airport team returned from their final trip visiting general aviation airports…we are glad to have them all back safe and sound. Later in the day I made it over to the Intercontinental Hotel again to greet one of their very large convention prospects in an effort to help secure that business for their hotel and our Town, we should know in just a few weeks the result of our efforts.
Better go now, I’m headed out the door to the next in our Vitruvian Nites series: Fright Nites at Vitruvian Park. I am not really sure why I want to go hear scary stories…it kind of reminds me of the good old days of camping out and listening to frightening tales around the campfire. I never could sleep after those ghost stories either. Hope to see you tonight at Fright Nites…then we can all be scared together!
Very proud to be your mayor, Todd