Dec. 11, 2020
This is the latest edition of Week In Review - a series of weekly messages from the Mayor and City Council to help Richardson residents and businesses keep up to date on events at City Hall. If you would like to sign up to receive this in a weekly e-mail click here.
Throughout the year the City Council or City Plan Commission will hold meetings on topics of significant interest to local neighborhoods or the community in general. Links to view all City Council or City Plan Commission meeting documents that may have topics of interest to you can be found here:
HVAC Aerial “Lift” Takes Place in IQ Area
A large helicopter hovered over Richardson’s IQ area Tuesday, lifting and lowering HVAC equipment onto the roof of a City-owned building near the intersection of Collins Boulevard and Plano Road as part of building improvement efforts. The currently vacant building has served as a catalyst for IQ redevelopment, the site of “pop-up” demonstration parties held last year to show the public ideas for the area and gather feedback. Now that the IQ has been re-zoned, City staff are considering possible uses and tenants for the building and will present their findings at a future City Council meeting.
Adjacent to the building is the newly opened Duck Creek Trail extension—see story below for more information.
New Trails Open in IQ, Breckinridge Park Areas
Extensions to the Duck Creek and Breckinridge trails have been completed and were officially opened Dec. 5 with ribbon cutting ceremonies. The extensions, along with the recent trail additions in the Spring Creek Nature Area, add more than three miles to the City’s 60+ miles of hike and bike trails.
Pictured from left: Assistant Director Parks and Planning Dan Baker, Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Gene Fitch, Council Member Steve Mitchell, Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch, Mayor Paul Voelker, Mayor Pro Tem Janet DePuy, Council Member Ken Hutchenrider and Director of Parks and Recreation Lori Smeby.
The Duck Creek Trail extension continues the trail northwest from the former trail terminus at Plano Road (just north of Creekside Drive), heading through the IQ area to join the existing trail at the intersection of Collins Boulevard and International Parkway. The trail was also extended southward a short distance to join with the Glenville Trail at Huffhines Park. The project was a joint venture between Richardson and Dallas County.
Pictured from left: Assistant Director Parks and Planning Dan Baker, Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Gene Fitch, Council Member Mark Solomon, Council Member Steve Mitchell, Mayor Paul Voelker, Mayor Pro Tem Janet DePuy, Council Member Ken Hutchenrider and Director of Parks and Recreation Lori Smeby.
The Breckinridge Trail additions, partially funded by a matching grant from Collin County, connect segments of the trail from Breckinridge Park to Ruth Back Toler Park, and from the south parking lot on Moroney Drive to the parking lot on Beck Drive.
City Employees Honored by Richardson Rotary Club
Pictured from left: Richardson Rotary Club President Barry Young, Rotary Awards Program Chair Wayne Mayo, Mitchel Davis, Paula Johnson, City Manager Dan Johnson, Director of Health Bill Alsup and Director of Public Services Darryl Fourte.
Paula Johnson and Mitchel Davis were recently named the 2020 Supervisor of the Year and Employee of the Year, respectively, by the Richardson Rotary Club. The awards, given by the Club since 1992, are specially designed to recognize City employees who made significant contributions during the past year.
Johnson has been Environmental Services Superintendent since joining the City in April 2017. In this role, she supervises 99 full-time employees in the Solid Waste and Custodial Services divisions. Johnson was noted for her commitment to the Richardson community in continuously providing resolutions to customer concerns, voluntarily working many extra hours to meet the needs of residents, and adapting Custodial Services to the changes required due to the pandemic.
Davis joined the City of Richardson in August 2005 and is currently a Senior Water Quality Specialist in the Health Department. He is the primary City employee responsible for meeting inspection criteria established within the Capacity, Management, Operations and Maintenance program, working with food establishment operators, and has created a data tracking system that has increased efficiency in the process.
Custer Road Lane Closures in Northrich Area Expected Dec. 16
Both northbound and southbound Custer Road may experience lane closures between Arapaho Road and Campbell Road from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16 due to surveying taking place for future utility construction. The work is expected to be completed by the end of the day.
Shoebox Holiday Parade Video Premieres Saturday, Dec. 12
The excitement is building—the City’s first virtual Christmas parade video premieres tomorrow, Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. Head online to www.cor.net/santa or to the Parks and Recreation Facebook page to watch “Santa’s Village on Parade: A Virtual Shoebox Parade,” sponsored by Methodist Richardson Medical Center, Richardson Woman’s Club, Richardson East Rotary Club and Golden Chick. The parade benefits Network of Community Ministries and features Santa, “virtual villagers” (photos of real Richardson parade fans) and 29 miniature “floats.” Individuals, families, businesses and organizations have re-created scenes from Richardson’s Santa’s Village with the tiny, shoebox floats, and several awards recognizing their work will be announced during the parade video, such as Spectacular Sparkles (an outstanding display of glitter, shimmer or shine) and Theme-a-rific (given to the entry that most closely resembles a Santa’s Village dwelling). Viewers will be able to vote online for the Crowd Favorite award through Dec. 16.
The parade video will be available 24/7 once posted.
Register Now for “Winter Break Camp” for Kids
Winter Break Camp, a three-day indoor and outdoor mini-camp for kids in grades K-5, is being offered at Heights Recreation Center Dec. 21-23 and again Dec. 28-30, providing campers with a variety of activities each day from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Cost is $65 per child per week, with a $5 discount offered if registering for both sessions. Campers are asked to bring a sack lunch each day, plus a water bottle and snacks.
Visit www.cor.net/parksonline (activity #22154) for more information and to register; limited spaces are available.
Drive-thru Breakfast with Santa Registration Ends Dec. 14
Santa Claus is coming to Heights Recreation Center Dec. 17 for “Breakfast with Santa to Go!” from 9-10 a.m. Santa’s helpers will be handing out breakfast while Santa greets his visitors from a safe distance.
Cost is $5 per child and each registration includes one donut, juice and a small craft to take home. Participants must remain in their vehicles. Pre-registration is required by Monday, Dec. 14; register here.
Toy/Food Drive Benefiting Network Ends Dec. 14
Donations of unwrapped toys and canned/shelf stable food are needed for the Richardson Fire Department’s annual toy and food drive, benefiting the clients of Network of Community Ministries. Items may be taken to any Richardson Fire Station, to the City Service Center (1260 Columbia Dr.) and to the Grand Hall at City Hall (411 W. Arapaho Rd.) through Monday, Dec. 14.
Order “Crafty Cocoa Kits” through Dec. 15
Families can enjoy making crafts and cocoa together this month thanks to the “Crafty Cocoa Kits” being offered by the Richardson Parks and Recreation Department. Each kit is $6 and comes in a color-your-own Christmas bag that includes a hot cocoa packet, cocoa cup craft, peppermint spoon and a reindeer craft.
Pre-ordering online is required at www.cor.net/parksonline (activity #23051) and available through Tuesday, Dec. 15. A limited number of kits are available. Kits will be available for pick-up at Heights Recreation Center during business hours beginning Dec. 18.
Celebrate Hubble Space Telescope’s 30th Anniversary Saturday, Dec. 12
Students in grades 4-7 are invited to an informative online discussion Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. Solar System Ambassador Michelle Wilde will help participants learn about the birth of stars, how Hubble has changed our understanding of the universe, some of Hubble’s important discoveries, the history of the Hubble and what’s next.
Participation is free, but registration is required; call Youth Services at 972-744-4358 to register (or stop by the Youth Services Desk) and receive instructions on how to participate using Webex.
Make a Snow Launcher and More with Youth Services
The Youth Services Department is providing several ongoing holiday activities this month for children, including DIY videos offered on Facebook and free, “Just Add Imagination” take-home craft kits available at the Library. The activities include:
- Make a snow launcher (take-home kit)
- Listen to a Christmas Storytime (“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” video to be posted Dec. 18 on Facebook)
- Vote for your favorite Christmas cookie (in Youth Services, one vote per day)
- Share cookie recipes (take-home recipe cards in Youth Services; bring back to post on bulletin board)
- Cookie-making demonstration (video already posted on Facebook)
Note that craft kits are for Richardson residents only, while supplies last.
- Hip-Hop Nutcracker Livestream Dec. 18
7 p.m. Dec. 18 online; a VIP package is available featuring 48-hour video-on-demand. Tickets are $20 general admission and $50 VIP; click here to order. Performed at the Eisemann Center to a full house in 2016, this dance spectacle has now been recorded live at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and set to Tchaikovsky’s music. It features a cast of a dozen all-star dancers, a DJ, a violinist and MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers, who opens the show with a short set. Digital graffiti and visuals transform the landscape of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s beloved story from traditional 19th century Germany to the vibrant, diverse sights and sounds of contemporary New York City.
- “The Nutcracker Suite” Dec. 19-20
Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. in the Hill Performance Hall. Tickets are $27-$87.
Collin County Ballet Theatre presents this live performance of the timeless holiday classic.
- Enneagram-inspired Art Series on Display through Jan. 24
Noon-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and during all public performances, in the Green Mezzanine Gallery. Admission is free.
The nine Enneagram personality types come to life in “By the Numbers: An Enneagram Series,” featuring paintings by Michelle B Noah. Get a video preview of the show with the artist here.
Unless otherwise noted, tickets to Eisemann Center events are available at the Eisemann Center Ticket Office (credit card only), 972-744-4650 and at www.eisemanncenter.com. Click here for more information about the Eisemann Center’s COVID-19 safety procedures.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” Opens Tonight at RCT
Celebrate the holiday season with Repertory Company Theatre (RCT) Dec. 11-20 as an ensemble of eight actors (and an angel named Clarence) present, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The beloved American classic will be performed live on RCT’s holiday stage set in a new, innovative way.
Show days and times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $28 for adults and $17 for youth (ages 8-18). Complete CDC protocols are in place with social distancing on stage and in the theatre and masks required. RCT is located at 770 N. Coit Rd.
Record Amount Collected for Annual Grease Recycling
Around 190 gallons of used cooking oil were collected during the City’s annual “Cease the Grease” event held Nov. 27-Dec. 6, 20 gallons more than what was collected in 2019 and almost 70 gallons more than in 2018. Richardson’s Health Department coordinates the free collection each year to help divert holiday cooking oil and grease from being poured down kitchen drains, which can create buildup in sewer pipes and cause unwanted wastewater backup.
The City partners with Texas-based American BioSource to collect the oil/grease, which is recycled into bio fuels.
NCTCOG Offers More Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Holiday
The North Central Texas Council of Government’s Air North Texas blog recently posted more sustainable ways to celebrate the holidays this year, in addition to those posted prior to Thanksgiving that encouraged readers to shop locally and host virtual celebrations. Here are a couple more suggestions on how to reduce your carbon footprint this holiday season and improve air quality:
- Use Natural Decorations
Manufacturing artificial Christmas trees takes a significant amount of resources, so consider using a real tree instead. A natural tree is 100 percent biodegradable—once the holidays have passed you can have it turned into mulch. Richardson’s free “tree cycling” program begins Dec. 22 and picks up trees curbside; click here for more information.
- Keep the Light Show Simple
Consider conserving electricity by reducing the amount of Christmas lights you use. You can also conserve energy by using more efficient lights like LEDs instead of fluorescents or incandescent bulbs.
Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
Need a snuggle bug kitty that you can spoil in your life? Look no further as our girl Phoebe is the perfect choice. This cat loves to be affectionate and loves to be petted. She has been a resident with us since Nov. 18. She has a tipped ear which meant she was an outside cat/feral cat but she acts nothing like a feral cat. Phoebe is a 1-year-old, spayed, black domestic short hair looking for a family. She is fully vaccinated and this sweetie pie is just looking for someone to give her a chance at a great home and a friend to cuddle with! If you are interested in Phoebe, please call the Shelter at 972-744-4480 to schedule an appointment to see her.
The Richardson Police Department has joined the Richardson Animal Shelter in promoting our wonderful pets and supporting our efforts to find each pet their forever home! Officer Ledgerwood has joined our efforts to spread awareness about our pets! Please support the Richardson Police Department by checking out their Instagram (www.instagram.com/richardsontx_pd/) and leaving a kind and supportive comment.
For information about other animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s web page here.
City Council Links
To read previous Week in Reviews,