Feb. 19, 2021
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:
Water Customers Asked to STILL Conserve Water
Richardson’s water supplier, the North Texas Municipal Water District, is still recovering from equipment freezes experienced during the past week that has reduced the amount of water it is able to supply, Water levels are now stable but conservation is still needed until the supply can keep up with demand.
Water customers are asked to reduce water use to their basic needs and the rise in temperatures will also allow for limiting dripping of pipes to protect from freezing. It is recommended that if you have power, leave your faucet dripping for 30 minutes on and then 2 hours off. If you don’t have power, leave faucets slowly dripping.
Updates on the water supply and changes in conservation needs will be published as new information is available.
Power Restoration To Be Complete Today
Power has been restored to almost all Richardson residents and Oncor reported this morning that just more than 100 customers were still without electricity in the city. Oncor does expect most remaining outages from the cold weather and lack of generation impacts experienced earlier this week to be restored by the end of the day.
Winter Weather Debris
Broken pipes have left considerable interior damage to many homes in the community. If you have debris in your home to clean, please bag it in black trash bags no heavier than 50 pounds and place them at your normal trash collection point. Additionally, the City is offering Rent-A-Bins at no cost for one week to residents who have too much debris to fit in garbage bags.
For more information, visit the Winter Weather Debris Removal page.
Winter Weather Repairs
For information about what you should do after sustaining winter weather damage, how to find a plumber or information about permits or inspections needed, visit our Winter Weather Repairs page.
All permit fees for this past week's winter weather are also being waived.
Damage Assessment Help Needed
Emergency managers are asking for community support in reporting winter storm damage. The information is important to identify the scale of the disaster here in Richardson and across Texas.
Normally damage assessments would be completed by driving and walking impacted neighborhoods, much like was done after the October 2019 tornado. However, in this case most damage is located indoors, making it very difficult to estimate the impacts from this past week’s winter weather.
Click here for the State of Texas online reporting tool that is collecting damage assessment data. The information is being used to help gain a statewide understanding of damage Texans have suffered.
City Departments Coordinate Response Amidst Weather Event
While a statewide Disaster Declaration and Dallas County Local Disaster Declaration remain in place, City employees have been working around the clock for more than a week to keep Richardson safe (and as warm as possible) amidst unprecedented winter weather. The Emergency Operations Center is “command central” with Office of Emergency Management staff monitoring weather, power and the water supply and coordinating the city-wide response.
Street crews are still monitoring routes and sanding as needed. Low temperatures are expected to be in the 20s tonight (Feb. 19) and 30s Saturday night. Transportation and Mobility (signs and signals) priorities are the diamond interchanges along the Bush Turnpike and US 75 as well as major intersections.
Earlier this week the Fire Department set a new record for number of calls, even surpassing the night of the October 2019 tornado, and high call volumes concerning emergency water shutoff, welfare checks, alarms and other issues have been manageable thanks to the help of numerous City departments, including Fire, Police, Water Customer Service, Parks and Finance.
City of Richardson Facility Reopening Update
City facilities will begin to reopen this weekend following almost a week of being closed due to power outages and hazardous road conditions. Beginning Saturday, the following facilities will operate on the following schedule:
- Animal Shelter: Open regular hours beginning Saturday.
- City Hall: Open regular hours beginning Monday.
- Eisemann Center: Remains closed due to facility issues related to the winter weather.
- Gymnastics Center: Open regular hours beginning Saturday.
- Heights Recreation Center: Open regular hours beginning Sunday; closed for normal operations Saturday but SVAA basketball tournament will be held as scheduled.
- Huffhines Recreation Center: Open regular hours beginning Saturday.
- Huffhines Tennis Center: Closed Saturday and will open Sunday if courts are playable.
- Library: Open regular hours beginning Saturday.
- Municipal Court: Open regular hours beginning Monday.
- Sherrill Park Golf Course: Pro Shop will be open normal hours beginning Saturday but the courses remain closed. For more information, call 972-234-1416.
For more information and updates on the City of Richardson’s winter weather response, visit www.cor.net/winterweather.
Solid Waste, Recycling and BABIC Services to Resume Normal Schedule Monday
All trash, recycling and Brush and Bulky Item Collection (BABIC) services will resume Monday, Feb. 22. Service this week was canceled due to hazardous conditions on area roads and alleys.
Ice and snow can cause dangerous conditions in places where large collection vehicles can impact gas meters and other infrastructure typically located in alleyways. Personnel used to collect bags are also at risk of slipping and getting injured during the collection process if working on dangerous surfaces.
Collection crews would like to thank everyone in advance for their patience and understanding and want everyone to know they are working hard to get back to normal recovery of service.
Warming Centers Meet a Critical Need
The “Richardson Way” was evident this week as the City, businesses and organizations took care of the community in its time of need by working together to quickly establish warming centers. The centers offered warm shelter for people (and pets) and a place for charging electronic devices. A total of 12 were established throughout the week, at churches, nonprofits, Fire Station 3, Methodist Richardson Medical Center, the Civic Center, an office building and the lobby of Richardson Police headquarters, enough so that none were crowded. Some were open only during the day and others were available ‘round the clock. Richardson police visited the centers to check on people and make sure that those who were in need were able to connect with agencies that had resources to meet their needs. Police also brought people to the centers who they met while doing welfare checks out in the community, who had no transportation to get to the centers.
Visit www.cor.net/winterweather for updates.
Animal Shelter Staff Keep Pets Warm During Winter Storm
The power outages that affected much of Richardson this week were hard on not only humans, but pets as well. With the Richardson Animal Shelter without power for much of the week, generators were used to provide electricity and heat and ensure Shelter animals remained safe and warm. Animals that needed a little more help staying warm were dressed in clothes or provided heavy blankets by Shelter staff.
With cold temperatures remaining in place, pet owners are encouraged to take steps to keep their pets safe. This includes keeping cats inside and limiting the amount of time dogs are outside. Freezing temperatures can cause damage to animals’ paws, amplify certain health conditions and put them at risk for hypothermia.
Animal Services has also been out in the community this week checking for pets and stray animals at risk—if you are concerned about an animal’s welfare, call 972-744-4480 for assistance.
Park Restrooms Close Until Spring
Due to the extremely low temperatures this past week, all park restrooms have been winterized and closed. This includes the restrooms at the Bush Central Barkway, Huffhines Park, Cottonwood Park and Breckinridge Park. They are expected to remain closed through the date of the average last freeze in early March.
DART to Resume Normal Services Feb. 20
DART announced today it is resuming its normal service schedule beginning tomorrow. This includes rail, bus and paratransit services.
Library Achieves State Honor
The Richardson Public Library has received the 2020 Achievement of Library Excellence Award from the Texas Municipal Library Directors Association (TMLDA.) TMLDA is an affiliate of the Texas Municipal League. The annual award recognizes libraries that exhibit excellence by:
- providing services to underserved and special populations
- enhancing services
- marketing their programs and services in innovative ways
- promoting cultural, topical and educational programming
- providing literacy support
- providing summer reading clubs
- pursuing collaborative efforts
- supporting workforce development
- providing for digital inclusion
- comprehensively training staff
Of the 568 public libraries in Texas, only 56 received this award for 2020.
Lane Closures Expected on Arapaho Road near Senior Center
The left lanes of eastbound and westbound Arapaho Road between Crestview Drive and West Shore Drive may be closed to traffic from 9 a.m-3:30 p.m. The existing median is being removed and a new turn lane constructed as part of the Richardson Senior Center Renovation Project. The work is expected to be complete by early March.
Last Week to Submit Art for Black History Month Art Contest
Young artists have until Friday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. to submit art for the City’s “Black History Month: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion” Art Contest for grades Pre-K-12. The contest is open to students who reside within the City of Richardson or attend a RISD/PISD school within the City of Richardson. Entrants are asked to create a visual image that displays how their unique beliefs and values contribute to our diverse community and help promote inclusion.
Rules and more information may be found at www.cor.net/ArtandEssayContest. Winners will be recognized at a future City Council meeting.
Spring Break Camp Registration Now Open
Sign-ups are now open for Spring Break Camp, a week-long indoor and outdoor mini-camp March 15-19 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Heights Recreation Center. The camp provides a variety of activities throughout each day and is open to children in grades K-5.
Cost is $25 per day or $115 for the whole week. Bring a sack lunch, water bottle, and plenty of snacks. To register, visit www.cor.net/parksonline (Activity #22155).
Virtual Hour of Code Feb. 26
Children ages 9-12 are invited to participate in Virtual Hour of Code, Fridays Feb. 26 and March 26. The group meets on Webex to explore coding from 4-5 p.m.
There is no charge to participate, but registration is required. Call 972-744-4358 to register.
Library Due Dates Extended
Due to the inclement weather and building closure this week, the Library has extended due dates to next week (week of Feb. 21). Patrons can visit their online account to see the exact extension for checked out items. If you have an item on hold, it will stay on hold until Sunday, Feb. 21.
- The Texas Tenors Feb. 20—HAS BEEN POSTPONED.
The Texas Tenors performance has been postponed due to inclement weather, rotating power outages and safety concerns. No makeup date has been announced at this time. For more information, visit www.planosymphony.org or call 972-473-7262.
- Black History Month Research & Film Series: “The Great Debaters” Feb. 22
5:30-7:30 p.m. The event starts on Zoom and then will switch to a streaming platform with a chat function. The introductions to each event will be available for free via Zoom, but the watch parties will be hosted on paid platforms. Attendees will need their own streaming subscriptions to HBO Max, Netflix or Amazon Prime.Explore the official Black History Month theme of “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” through this 2007 movie about higher education, labor activism and racial violence in East Texas. Dr. Kimberly Hill of UT Dallas’ History faculty will introduce the movie and host the Amazon watch party. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive links to the Zoom meeting and Amazon watch party.
Plants and Freeze Damage: Wait and See
As landscapes start to thaw out this weekend, plants may look dead or severely battered from the recent extreme weather conditions. Texas gardening expert and author Neil Sperry states on his website to not “rush to judgment” and that in many cases, you won’t know the extent of winter freeze injury until plants try to leaf out in the spring. Even if leaves are browned, “don’t assume immediately that the plant will not produce new leaves from the old stem tissues.”
For more information and plant-specific advice after a freeze; click here. Several books by Sperry are available at the Richardson Public Library.
Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
This beautiful girl is Kandy. She was brought to the Shelter about three months ago with a litter of puppies. She nursed all of them and they were adopted out. Now Kandy is ready to adopt. She is a 7-year-old pit bull terrier with gray and white markings that is very affectionate and loves to cuddle. Kandy is fully vaccinated, spayed and microchipped. She would do best in a home with no cats or dogs. Kandy is only $25 to adopt and is available to be taken out and played with. Come and give her a chance and take her home! If you want more information, please check out our website at www.cor.net/adoptme and schedule and appointment.
For information about animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s web page here.
City Council Links
To read previous Week in Reviews,