The City of Richardson has been named by the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) as the 2013 Community of the Year. APA Texas awards this prestigious honor to a town, city or county for providing outstanding contributions to planning. The award also recognizes exceptional work by civic planners, highlights their accomplishments, and affirms the value planners provide throughout Texas.
“This is a great achievement and we are extremely proud to be the 2013 recipient of the Community of the Year award from the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association,” said Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka. “This award is the thanks to decades of planning and a commitment to execute on innovative strategies that we have put in place to create positive, sustainable, and aspirational change. Our success is the result of a true collective effort by volunteers and leaders who serve, and who have served, in our community, and we are honored to be awarded this prestigious recognition.”
The Community of the Year award will be presented Friday, October 4 in Galveston during the APA Texas Chapter annual conference award luncheon.
As part of its nomination submission, City officials demonstrated how Richardson has been at the forefront of planning, development and leadership since the adoption of its first zoning ordinance in the mid-1950s. Today, the City expects more than 20,000additional residents and 50,000 additional employees by 2035. To meet this demand, the City continues to pursue the following strategies to ensure its sustainability for generations to come:
Focusing on Reinvestment/Urbanization
Richardson has initiated new strategies to deal with the increases in population and employment, as well as the diminishing availability of vacant land and need for redevelopment by implementing the following:
- Completing studies of four enhancement/redevelopment areas as designated in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. These areas of aging development and infrastructure are underutilized due to changes in the development market, demographics, technology and building formats.
- Working to foster urbanization through mixed-use centers at three existing rail stations.
- Planning for future stations along the future Cotton Belt Line with a potential new station at The University of Texas at Dallas and a connection at the existing Bush Turnpike Station.
Richardson is building a diverse transportation system through the following efforts:
City of Neighborhoods
- Providing the most dependable traffic management possible by upgrading traffic signal control systems to take advantage of the latest technologies.
- Expanding bicycle and pedestrian networks through new bicycle lanes and implementation of a long-range trail plan that connects Richardson to the region.
- Capitalizing on Richardson’s DART membership with local bus service and connections along the existing Red Line light rail corridor and the future Cotton Belt Rail Line.
- Taking an active role in Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) US 75 study to identify and address mobility needs in the corridor to meet future growth.
Richardson’s neighborhoods form the backbone of the city. With almost 65 percent of housing built between 1960 and 1980, maintaining the viability of these communities has become a high priority. Initiatives include:
- Using code enforcement and neighborhood partnerships to preserve the value of neighborhoods for the betterment of the community.
- Recognizing residential and non-residential improvements that have a positive impact on the surrounding area and encourage future reinvestment through the Community Revitalization Awards.
- Providing an economic incentive to homeowners who substantially reinvest in their home with the Home Improvement Incentive Program.
- Replacing both aging recreation centers and adding new parks in existing neighborhoods.
Richardson has worked to improve communications within the community. From an award-winning website and weekly email updates to broadcasting Council and Plan Commission meetings and online document accessibility, Richardson makes a concerted effort to keep residents informed.
Richardson has been recognized multiple times previously by the Texas APA for a variety of planning projects, programs and practices, but this is the first Community of the Year honor awarded to the City.
About the City of Richardson
Known globally for its high-tech business leadership, the City of Richardson also offers a high quality of life, diverse array of neighborhoods, convenient Metroplex location, multi-modal transportation infrastructure and outstanding City services. Richardson has been repeatedly recognized as one of the top places to live and work by the national media, and the City remains dedicated to continuous improvement, as well as to the principles of open government and two-way communications with residents. To learn more, visit www.cor.net.
About the American Planning Association Texas Chapter
The American Planning Association is a nonprofit public interest and research organization representing over 40,000 practicing planners, officials, and citizens involved with urban and rural planning issues.
The Mission of the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association is to advocate the profession of planning, providing expertise and processes that empower citizens to be engaged in the development and sustainability of Great Communities in Texas.