City Manager Focus Areas
As Irving's City Manager, I have the opportunity to meet with many people and organizations throughout the community to gain insight on issues, challenges and opportunities facing the city. The thoughts and ideas that are shared help shape my plan to build and sustain a city government that continually delivers a positive and meaningful outcome for Irving residents, businesses and visitors. These conversations help determine the priorities for our organization each year, and I would like to share with you the city's current focus areas.
Complete Signature Development Projects
Irving has several major development projects and opportunities that will be completed within the next year that will have significant impact on continuing to enhance Irving's appeal among residents, businesses and visitors.
- Irving Music Factory and Convention Center Headquarters Hotel –With the Irving Music Factory set to open this fall, the city's next major objective is to finalize the construction for the Irving Convention Center Headquarters Hotel. Along with the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, these projects will provide a unique experience that will entice residents and visitors alike.
- Former Stadium Site – Irving is home to one of the biggest and best large-scale development opportunities in North Texas — the former stadium site. Establishing a development and funding structure for the site is a priority for city staff as we move forward.
- Water Street Development – The Water Street Development, located in the middle of the Las Colinas Urban Center, is a mixed-use project that includes approximately 300 to 350 luxury apartments, and more than 60,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants. The project will include a park for special events and public pathways with access to Lake Carolyn.
In response to the resident survey results, infrastructure is a major focus during the next several years, and we have set aside funding equivalent to one-half cent of ad valorem taxes ($1.1 million) in Non-Bond Capital Improvement Program dedicated to fund additional street projects and/or bonding capacity. This represents half of the one-cent dedication recommended in the Long-Term Financial Plan, and is the first part of a two-year strategy to reach this goal, with another $1.1 million to be dedicated in the 2018 fiscal year. The result is $100 million invested in the city's streets over five years and will be accomplished without raising the tax rate. I encourage you to read more about Irving's "Road to the Future" on the city website.
Ensure a Safe and Secure City
The City of Irving is committed to providing residents and visitors with a safe and secure city. This year, we added a new police beat with eight officers to assist in police coverage for the increase in commercial and residential property development in Irving. Also, the completion of Fire Station No.12 adds 42 firefighters and paramedics that will improve emergency response. The new station also contains an engine company, ladder company and medic company. The addition of nine firefighters/paramedics for the new Medic 1 will improve emergency medical services in the southern portion of the city. The city also recently purchased property to rebuild and relocate the aging Station No.4 in central Irving to a more functional location nearby.
Strengthen Irving's Long-Term Financial Sustainability
The financial decisions we make today will have a broad and lasting effect over the next decade and beyond. I continue to focus on strengthening Irving's financial legacy through implementation of the city's Long-Term Strategic Plan. Developing and implementing long-term funding strategies for economic development and infrastructure projects is a key cornerstone of that plan. Practicing wise financial stewardship, developing sound financial policies, and the maintenance of our Aaa bond rating (the highest rating possible) will ensure the city receives the highest return on your tax dollars.
Redevelopment and Revitalization of the Heritage District
Irving remains committed to developing the Heritage District, which is located along Main Street in the heart of Irving's old downtown. Projects include:
- Heritage Park Master Plan – The Heritage Park Master Plan will serve as a catalyst to bring more people to the area as well by offering art and open green space.
- Innovation Center and Heritage Museum – The Innovation Center located at the old central library and the Heritage Museum along Main Street. These projects will enhance foot traffic in the Heritage Crossing area.
- Main Street Gallery – This 6,000 square-foot building, located on Main Street, will be operated and managed as an annex of the Irving Arts Center to extend current programming to reach more residents. The annex also will present an opportunity to develop new programming aimed at energizing the Heritage District. The building will have a coffee shop/gift shop that will feature local artisans, a gallery/event space, classrooms/meeting rooms, cabaret/lecture space, along with an adjacent outdoor community gathering space.
The Comprehensive Plan, which will soon be adopted, sets the long-term vision for the community. This planning gave residents the opportunity to provide input on Irving's future. The plan will assist in continuing to create a diverse, vibrant and livable city. It affects almost every aspect of city operations. It will strengthen the tax base, protect and enhance neighborhoods, revitalize underserved areas and encourage attractive development throughout the city. This long-term strategy will address growth and guarantee the city remains strong.
I'm pleased to share these focus areas with you and want to give my thanks to all those who have shared their thoughts, priorities and perspectives.