Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka today delivered the annual State of the City Address at a free, open-to-the-public event held at the Alamo Drafthouse. Noting the city’s strong condition, Mayor Maczka’s remarks focused on the City Council’s completion of the visioning process that led to the 2013-2015 statement of goals, the city’s major accomplishments during 2013, and its positive future outlook.
Several noteworthy accomplishments received special recognition by the mayor, due to their current and anticipated positive impact on the community:
- Developer KDC broke ground on the $1.5 billion mixed-use, transit-oriented CityLine development. At 186 total acres, including State Farm Insurance’s corporate campus, it is the biggest build-to-suit project under construction in Texas. Currently, phase one is underway and represents an investment of more than $600 million. Once complete, the development is expected to generate more than 17,000 permanent jobs and $7.3 billion in estimated salaries indirectly or directly to workers in the next 10 years.
- Methodist Health System broke ground on a new, $120 million regional hospital at its Renner Road campus near the President George Bush Turnpike. Opening this spring, the site is already home to a cancer center, outpatient hospital and medical office. The expansion will offer a four-story, acute-care hospital to serve the area. At completion, the new hospital will employ approximately 900 professionals and physicians representing more than 35 specialties.
- The iconic Austin movie theater Alamo Drafthouse opened its first Metroplex location, with great fanfare, last year in Richardson Heights Shopping Center. Dubbed “the coolest movie theater in the world,” the City has plans for it to be a catalyst to attract other destination retail and restaurant development to the Main Street corridor.
- In 2013, the Richardson Economic Development Partnership (REDP) recorded the creation or retention of 11,248 jobs and the leasing of more than three million square feet of space. Also, through the REDP, Richardson’s Telecom Corridor® area earned the prestigious “Area of Innovation” membership status in the International Association of Science Parks. Richardson is one of only eight such recognized technology hubs in the United States, and one of the first to earn the “Area of Innovation” designation. Becoming an official “Area of Innovation” marks Richardson as an international leader in fostering high-tech opportunity and furthers its long-standing global reputation as a hotbed of technological innovation.
Other 2013 accomplishments featured during the remarks, which were segmented into areas of emphasis reflecting the City Council’s statement of goals, included:
Arts and Culture
- Completed first-ever Cultural Arts Master Plan to set the stage for arts in the community.
- Developing a new Cultural Arts website to support programs and signature events. It is funded and developed by the City in conjunction with the Arts Commission. The site is designed by Artsopolis, widely considered the nation’s leading designer for communities promoting local arts and culture.
- Secured the 2014 Miss Texas Pageant to be held this summer at the Eisemann Center.
- Set attendance records at the community’s signature events, the Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival and the Cottonwood Arts Festival.
Community Vitality and Neighborhood Integrity
- Richardson property owners were offered nearly $200,000 in home improvement rebates, resulting in more than $3 million in added residential value. Since the program began in 2007, the City has incentivized approximately $47 million dollars in residential property improvements.
- Earned three Best Neighborhood recognitions from the Dallas Morning News for the best places to live for 18-to-24 year-olds, families and adults 45-and-older.
- Earned the international Economic Development Council’s Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award.
- Telecom Corridor® area ranks solidly as the second-largest employment center in the Metroplex, behind only Dallas.
- Richardson ISD has 23 nationally recognized Blue Ribbon Schools and has earned the rating of “Recognized” for seven consecutive years from the Texas Education Agency.
- All four RISD high schools were named among America’s Best High Schools by Newsweek.
- UT Dallas ranked 15th in the Times Higher Education 2013 list of the world’s most outstanding young universities and was the highest-ranked in Texas.
- UT Dallas and the Richardson Economic Development Partnership partnered to join the US Ignite initiative, uniquely positioning Richardson as a place to create and test innovative new applications requiring ultra-high bandwidth.
- Plano ISD, which covers part of Richardson, now has 23 national Blue Ribbon Schools. The District also introduced three new student choice programs through its academies for Health Sciences, International Baccalaureate and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
- Richardson’s most recently constructed facilities have achieved LEED Certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council. New Fire Station Number Four, the Gymnastic Center, new Heights Recreation Center, and Fire Training and Emergency Operations Center are all designed to meet LEED certification standards.
- The City won a 2013 Working for Clean Air Award from the North Texas Commission, recognizing organizations that demonstrate outstanding efforts to improve local air quality.
- The City maintained its AAA (highest available) ratings from both Standard & Poor’s (five years consecutively) and Moody’s (three years running), and received a clean opinion from KPMG during an independent audit of the City’s financial records.
- 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.
- Eight Richardson projects were nominated for the Dallas Business Journal’s Best Real Estate Deal awards.
- The City was also recognized in four out of 18 categories – and the State Farm development was selected for The Deal of The Year Award – the highest honor given to recognize regional development.
- Richardson was ranked third in its size category in the Americas in fDi Magazine’s “American Cities of the Future” list, recognizing communities that are attractive for foreign direct investment. The city was the only Texas to make the top 10, and the only North Texas city in the top 10 in any category.
Healthcare Facilities and Community Wellness
- As part of the 2010 Bond Program, the City completed and opened the new Gymnastics Center, Heights Recreations Center, Heights Family Aquatic Center, Durham Park and Fire Training Center.
Land Use and Development
- Continued development of the Central Trail extension project which is scheduled for completion this summer. The Central Trail will extend along the DART rail line from Arapaho Road to the southern city limit.
- To date, 87 percent of the $66 million Bond Program projects are underway or finished, including completion of the sidewalk repair and replacement initiative, adding new sidewalks to approximately 6,000 homes.
- Development of a six-acre dog park located adjacent to the Bush Turnpike just west of US 75.
- The Richardson Fire Department received a Class 1 ISO rating, which is used to measure the quality and effectiveness of fire protection in a community. This classification means the Fire Department is listed among an elite group, as it is one of only 56 municipalities in the U.S., and one of only 14 departments in Texas, to receive a Class 1 rating. Additionally, it allows residential and commercial property owners the opportunity to obtain the best possible insurance rates.
- The department opened Fire Station Number Four, which features a full array of state-of-the-art equipment, as well as oversized vehicle bays. The station is home to the fire department’s heavy rescue, swift water rescue and high angle rescue teams.
- The Fire Department also opened a new Fire Training Center and Emergency Operations Center. The new 11,500-square-foot emergency training complex includes a backup emergency dispatch center and an Emergency Operations Center to improve the City’s ability to respond to major incidents.
Transportation and Mobility
- Richardson will participate in a planning initiative with the Texas Department of Transportation in its study for the expansion of a 21-mile stretch of US 75 from LBJ Freeway to the Sam Rayburn Tollway. The City has met with TxDOT to communicate its desires for the corridor, and will continue to take part in meetings to make sure Richardson’s vision is clear.
- The City is also monitoring ways to advance construction of the Cotton Belt passenger rail corridor. The 62-mile rail line is a key piece of Richardson’s future transportation network that will eventually connect Richardson to DFW International Airport, downtown Fort Worth and beyond.
The address was available for live online viewing on the City website, www.cor.net, and archived video of the remarks will also be available soon on the site.
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.