UP Mayor Talks Major Projects, Winter Storm During State of the City

After a tumultuous 2020, University Park Mayor Tommy Stewart discussed ongoing projects including work at Snider Plaza and the Miracle Mile at the first virtual annual state of the city address this week. 

Stewart said city staff hopes to start work on the replacement of aging water/wastewater lines for properties in Snider Plaza from Daniel to Westminster and those on Hillcrest between Daniel and Lovers in May. 

Staff continues to work with planners and civil engineers on design concepts for parking improvements, landscape enhancements, and other amenities.

He also addressed the Miracle Mile project.

City staff says preliminary design work is underway for roadway, sidewalk, traffic signal, and landscape improvements there.

Stewart said Dallas County will fund 50% of the project through its major capital improvements fund.

Staff hopes intersection and traffic signal improvement will help alleviate congestion, and they also hope to see a net increase in total parking spaces there.

They’re targeting late 2022 to start construction on that project.

Work also continues on stormwater system improvements.

Work on removal/replacement of existing pipe in portions of Southwestern is expected to begin soon, and work on portions of Southwestern are expected to continue through 2021. 

The city also expects to have a ribbon cutting ceremony for Shaddock Park in the next month or so. The public-private partnership to create the park came about the city council directed city staff to partner with resident Bill Shaddock in December 2019 to work to develop a lot at 4084 Lovers Lane into a new city park after Shaddock expressed his intention to donate the property to the city for that purpose.

Kevin Clark of Naud Burnett landscape architects created a design plan for a park at Preston and Lovers for the city of University Park.

University Park received $1.37 million in CARES Act funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of which was used to buy laptops and other telecommuting equipment, facility improvements like Plexiglas enclosures and UV lighting to safeguard HVAC systems, public safety personnel expenses incurred during the pandemic, and $135,000 of which was allocated to Highland Park ISD for COVID-related expenses. 

Stewart also discussed the historic February winter storm.

City staff repaired 56 water mains between Feb. 13-22, dispatchers fielded 1,599 calls from Feb. 14-18, the majority of which were water meter shutoffs, and the University Park Fire Department responded to 750 calls, mostly weather-related calls from Feb. 14-20.

“It just reinforces our need to invest in our infrastructure,” Stewart said. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the restaurants and residents that donated food for the work crews that spent the night at the Peek Center and other places so they could be here all night to help the citizens get back and recover.”

Restaurants and residents donated 30 separate meals to city crews during the storm.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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