Beautiful spring weather all week made it easy to enjoy all of our Addison flowers. Thanks to Addison resident Sai Nori for sending this picture of his cute daughter Sreya and a few of our beautiful Addison tulips.
Don’t forget to come join us tomorrow morning at Les Lacs Park across the street from the Athletic Club for the Easter Eggstravaganza, our annual Easter egg hunt. The “hunt” begins promptly at 10am, so don’t be late or you will definitely miss out. Get all of the fun details here! Also on the fun topic of kids, you might be interested to know that Addison resident Trish Stuart has started a meetup group for parents here in Addison. To learn more about Addison Parents and Kids (APAK), click here.
Our Town Meeting on Monday evening, March 23, was a great success as more than 200 folks joined us at the Addison Conference Centre for an update from each of our Council Members and an opportunity to ask questions. We began at 7pm with the recognition of Addison staff and appreciation for all of their hard work. Our former City Attorney John Hill was on hand to receive a special recognition memento for his 22 years of service and we introduced our new City Attorney Brenda McDonald and her law firm to the audience. I recognized and thanked the many volunteers who work on our Planning & Zoning Commission, the Board of Zoning Adjustment, the Addison Legacy Foundation Board, the Addison Arbor Foundation Board, and Addison Addvocates, as well as recent graduates of our Addison Citizen Academy, and I encouraged the audience’s participation in our upcoming Addison Citizen Academy, which will take place this fall.
Each Council Colleague followed in rapid succession with concise presentations on some of their Council liaison assignments. Bruce Arfsten covered his work with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and their disaster readiness program, as well as his work with our Community Partners Bureau and the Addison Arbor Foundation. Chris DeFrancisco updated us on the status of the implementing the portion of our 2012 Bond Vote on connectivity and discussed both the staff’s work and our plans for sustainability and recycling. Mary Carpenter assured us that our TMRS employee pension plan is well funded and that it continues to represent an important employee benefit that is at or above the market. Mary also shared with us her work from the educational sustainability class she participated in, which took place in the education center at the base of our newest water tower, Surveyor Water Tower at 4000 Arapaho Rd., and then she updated us on the status of the work of the Athletic Club’s Master Plan Committee.
David Heape gave us an exciting and enthusiastic presentation on our soon-to-be-revealed new website and Addison app. Our new website is currently in the testing phase and we hope to roll it out late next month. Janelle Moore shared with us the disappointing news that the vote to unite Addison under the 75001 zip code did not pass. She shared all of the numbers; 98 residents just simply did not vote. Sixty-eight percent of the residents who did vote were in favor of the unification. The election margin was only 58 votes.
The results of this project are another example of what we all know: every vote is important! Janelle was effusive in her praise of our staff and of all the volunteers who worked on this project. The irony of the outcome is that, in many ways, it drew our community closer together as so many rallied around this common goal. It reminded all of us to be creative in finding ways to keep us united and to bridge the east-west gap that is perceived by some. Janelle then shifted to the very positive aspects of her work with the World Affairs Council, the valuable expansion of the Addison brand on an international scale, and the expanded economic development opportunities fostered by this relationship.
Blake Clemens covered just a few of his Council liaison assignments by bringing us up to date on the Addison Airport Master Plan progress and the excellent work being done by the Addison Legacy Foundation. Blake is term-limited, currently completing his third consecutive two-year term on City Council, and used some of his time to thank all of the staff and the Council members who served with him. He saved a very special thank you for the support of his sweet wife, Jeannie. The crowd’s standing ovation, I am sure, was a big thank you to Blake for his exemplary service. My closing remarks included an additional thank you to Blake for his service, not only as a very active Council Member, but also as Addison’s Mayor Pro Tempore for the last four years, representing Addison on our behalf all over North Texas. Blake always said “yes” to my requests to represent Addison.
We concluded our evening with an excellent Q&A session and we adjourned on a very positive note with an optimistic view of our future. If you were unable to join us for this fun, informative event and would like to see exactly what we covered, just check out this link!
On Tuesday evening, March 24, the Council had a Work Session at 6pm entirely dedicated to the exciting roll-out of our new website and mobile app. As referenced above, Council Member David Heape discussed at the Town Meeting our hope that both pieces of technology will be fully implemented by the end of April and that they will help us to more effectively communicate with the entire community.
Our Regular Council Session began with the Pledge of Allegiance and a thank you to our staff for the great job they did in helping us have a very successful Spring Town Meeting. I shared a note of thanks from our friends at the WaterTower Theatre for the community’s support of their upcoming gala, “Madmen, Music & Martinis.” I also read a compelling letter of thanks from one of our residents for the remarkably prompt and professional response they received around Christmas time from our firefighter/paramedics, who got him to the hospital after he reported difficulty breathing. Mr. Weymouth wrote: “On Christmas morning, the admitting physician came into the ICU where I was treated and said, ‘You got an early Christmas courtesy of the Addison Fire Department. If you had arrived five minutes later, I am not sure you would have made it.’ To all of the Fire Department personnel who responded to that 911 call, THANK YOU!” Mr. Weymouth expresses quite well the sentiments of all of us; thank you one and all for all you do to help keep us safe.
Our consent agenda included the approval of a variety of important real estate-related issues that will help us advance our connectivity project on Quorum Drive, as well as our undergrounding of utilities project, Beautify Belt Line.
The Council unanimously approved the appointments of Addison resident Jeff King to serve on the Board of Zoning Adjustment and Addison resident Jason Ennis to the Planning & Zoning Commission.
DISD’s top planner and our very own DISD trustee, Elizabeth Jones, presented a draft of the district’s Comprehensive Plan for facilities, with a discussion led by DISD’s Chief of Transformation and Innovation Michael Koprowski. With respect to Addison and our students, the immediate plans include a $21.7 million investment in W.T. White High School for a renovation and an expansion of about 35,000 square feet. They are also looking for a site for a new pre-K center that would complement our immediate area elementary schools, Anne Frank Elementary, Jerry R. Junkins Elementary School, and George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School. It was an impressive presentation and showed how DISD is looking at new ways to merge facility development with academic needs and development of new programs, which is both very encouraging and very important for our future. Mr. Koprowski quoted American inventor Charles Kettering, who said, “My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.” This quote was very applicable to his presentation, as well as other agenda items for the evening.
The Council unanimously approved the attached resolution regarding our policy for housing here in Addison. This resolution is the product of several Council Work Sessions and feedback from our community of residents and developers. We are all very hopeful that this will provide guidance to the important development community as we continue to find ways to make Addison an even better place to live.
The Council unanimously approved the recommended revisions to the governing policy for our Community Partners Bureau, regarding terms of service. Council Members and liaisons to the Community Partners Bureau Bruce Arfsten and Blake Clemens recommended the change to one-year terms with the eligibility to serve three consecutive terms.
The Council unanimously approved an exciting negotiation for economic development that we hope to be able to share with you very soon.
After an Executive Session, the Council voted 5-2 to accept the resignation of City Manager Lea Dunn, effective immediately. Todd Meier, Blake Clemens, Janelle Moore, Mary Carpenter, and David Heape voted in favor of the motion and Chris DeFrancisco and Bruce Arfsten voted against the motion. On behalf of the City Council and Addison residents, I want to thank Lea Dunn for her dedicated service to our community over many years. Addison is blessed with a strong city staff committed to serving our community and I know they will continue to maintain the high level of services our citizens expect during this time of transition.
We have called a Special Meeting for tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, at 1:15pm at Town Hall to begin our next steps. We will consider and take action on a resolution approving a separation agreement with Lea Dunn and then discuss, consider, and take action regarding both the appointment of an interim city manager and our process to select a new city manager.
You may be wondering why the Council would wait until Saturday to begin work on these very important agenda items. Texas law requires that any Council Meeting must have a public meeting agenda posted at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting. By the time on Wednesday that we were able to confirm the availability of all of our Council Members for a Special Meeting, the 72-hour window pushed us to Saturday at 1:15pm as the earliest opportunity.
Lead Strong: A great name for a consulting business that has “winning with people” as its guiding premise. Addison resident since 2010, recent appointee to the Board of Zoning Adjustment, and CEO of Lead Strong Reginald Carney, recently sat down with me for a visit. Reggie is representative of many Addison business folks who do not work from a traditional brick and mortar location, but rather a virtual location, or even an office, in their Addison home. Most of these folks are small business entrepreneurs and find Addison particularly hospitable to their business model. Each of their stories is unique, comprising a fascinating journey towards a dream, and Reggie’s is certainly that as well! With a degree in electrical engineering and a personality that is a bit on the introverted side, Reggie has worked for a variety of corporations including Pepsi, where he worked for 12 years. Eleven years ago, the entrepreneurial passion took over and Reggie launched his current consulting business, focused on leadership development and career transitions. I purchased Reggie’s brand new book from him and while I do not want to spoil it for you, let me assure you there are some wonderful life lessons, shared in an engaging storytelling fashion, that will help you develop and navigate the challenges of the future. Contact Reginald Carney at 469.693.1552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are very proud to have Reggie with us on our Addison team.
Amazing business abounds in Addison! On Wednesday, March 25, Council Colleagues Blake Clemens and Janelle Moore joined me for Addison Magazine’s Top Female Executive of 2015 Luncheon. After an inspirational speech by Black Hawk Pilot, author, and inspirational speaker Elizabeth McCormick, the top prize winner was announced. While all of the nominees were highly qualified, it was particularly gratifying to see one of our Addison superstars recognized. Amber Olson Rourke co-founded Nerium International, a skincare product company, right here in Addison just three years ago with no revenue and four very passionate employees. Today Nerium is one of the fastest growing companies in the country with more than 400 employees and over $600 million in revenue. Wow, no wonder she won! Congratulations Amber Olson Rourke; we are very proud of you!
We have exciting new hotel news this week! Magnolia Lodging recently broke ground on a five-story, 132-suite Home2 Suites by Hilton, located just north of Belt Line Road between Quorum Drive and Addison Road. This $15 million project will be an extended stay hotel and a sister brand of Hilton Homewood Suites, featuring a fitness center, combination guest laundry, and pet-friendly policies. This is just the second Home2 Suites to open in the DFW area since Hilton Worldwide introduced the brand in 2009. This will be our first new hotel in Addison in almost 10 years. As you may know, Hilton Worldwide has a major corporate presence with us here in Addison at The Colonnade, 15305 Dallas Parkway.
We celebrate our diversity in Addison in a variety of ways. We often extol the virtues of our vibrant business community – our 11 million square feet of office space, 176 restaurants, 22 hotels (soon to be 23), Addison Airport, and, of course, our new Addison TreeHouse. On Thursday morning, we celebrated this business diversity with the ribbon-cutting for Metrocare Services, a nonprofit dedicated to providing services to people with mental illness, development disabilities, and severe emotional problems. This new location at 16100 Midway Rd. is Metrocare Service’s first foray into serving northwest Dallas County, an area identified as having a need for mental healthcare services. With 14 other locations in Dallas County, Metrocrest served more than 50,000 clients in 2014 and the staff expects to add another 16,000 to that number in the next two years.
Metrocare Services at Midway will provide services to adults, children, and adolescents in its spacious and newly updated space. This location also has a pharmacy and later this year they will be adding a primary care component to their portfolio of available services. Primary care services such as immunizations, physicals, and treatment of colds, flu asthma, allergies, and chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure will be available to Metrocare clients and to the public. Metrocare accepts policies from all insurance companies, as well as Medicaid, Medicare, NorthSTAR, or self-pay for residents of Dallas County. Call 214.689.5196 to schedule an appointment and learn more about Metrocare Services on their website. Tameka and Sonya gave me a great tour of their beautiful facility along with several of their doctors, board members, and guests for the ribbon-cutting event, hosted by our partners at the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce. Congratulations Metrocare and welcome to Addison!
Last Friday afternoon, March 20, I was honored to swear in two of our newest Addison Police Officers. Council Member Bruce Arfsten joined me in welcoming Officers Mike Nagy and Andy Biggs. Surrounded by family, friends, and new co-workers, Biggs and Nagy were thanked for their dedication to helping keep us safe here in Addison. They are very impressive young men who now bring us to a fully-staffed level in our Police Department.
On Wednesday evening, March 25, I was back at the Addison Conference Centre to chat with the 80 or more folks who attended the Townhomes of District A Homeowner’s Association Annual Meeting. The meeting was led by Board President Jacquie Gabbidon, Vice President Jimmy Baker, and Secretary Robert Mushsel, who invited me to speak for a few minutes on current events in Addison, including an update on the status of our Beautify Belt Line project, the rebidding of our trash services that may include an improved level of service for their neighborhood, our new website and app, and some fun details about our upcoming Addison Fork & Cork event on May 15 and 16. As a quick reminder: I am happy to visit with your HOA or neighborhood group at any time. I believe it is a very important part of my job to make sure we stay in very close communication.
This morning, March 27, I welcomed the current class of Leadership North Texas, who spent the entire day studying some of the biggest issues challenging our region. Their focus included planning for the increase in our region’s population, transportation, and a variety of other important topics. Director of Economic Development & Tourism Orlando Campos is a graduate of this prestigious program and continues to liaison with this group so that we can ensure they come visit us for a day of their agenda. This is a great opportunity for us to show Addison off to our current and future regional leaders.
Thank you to Addison resident Phil Greedy who shared this beautiful morning photo of the lake at Les Lacs Linear Park with us this week.
Wednesday, April 1 at 10am: First Wednesday of the Month Coffee with the Mayor at Dunn Brothers Coffee. We can discuss your thoughts on our next big idea and I will answer any questions you may have.
Wednesday, April 1 at 11:30am: Addison Business Association Candidates Forum Luncheon at Bent Tree Country Club. Mayoral and City Council candidates will have the opportunity to introduce themselves and discuss their goals for Addison. Click here to find out more information and register for the event.
It looks like it will be another beautiful weekend in Addison. I hope you are enjoying all of the beautiful tulips blooming around Addison, just like the ones at Town Hall.
See you tomorrow at the Easter Eggstravaganza!