Jan. 8, 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:
City of Richardson to be Part of DFW Vaccination Efforts
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced this week that it will prioritize large vaccination hubs across the state to distribute COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government. The City of Richardson and other nearby cities will assist by providing resources that may be needed to distribute the vaccinations.
Dallas and Collin County, both of which serve different parts of Richardson, opened online registrations for vaccines earlier this week for individuals in groups 1A and 1B (see links below to register) as defined by the State of Texas (see graphic and link below). Due to the statewide effort, each county that is distributing the vaccine may approach the process differently and may be provided different types of vaccines.
The DSHS vaccination plan also includes a focus on distributing the vaccine to healthcare workers and high-risk populations through doctor offices, pharmacies and other healthcare providers. Through the spring and summer as more vaccine is made available, additional groups will be added until everyone is covered. It will likely be several months before vaccines are available to individuals who are not in the direct-care or high-risk category as identified by the Texas DSHS.
Source: Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Click here.
More information for Richardson residents will be provided at www.cor.net/coronavirus as it becomes available.
City Council Celebrates Diversity with Student Art and Essay Contests
The Richardson City Council is sponsoring two student contests that began accepting entries this week: a Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest and a “Black History Month: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion” Art Contest. The contests are part of a large slate of activities and events taking place in Richardson to celebrate MLK, Jr. Day and Black History Month and are an outgrowth of the Council’s Statement of Equality passed in Summer 2019 and its 2019-21 Goals.
Each contest is open to students who reside within the City of Richardson or attend a RISD/PISD school within the City of Richardson, and each challenge students, in different ways, to think about and share their own personal experiences. Rules and deadlines for each may be found at www.cor.net/ArtandEssayContest. Winners will be recognized at a future City Council meeting.
Other activities taking place in Richardson to celebrate diversity include several activities at the Library (see stories below), a leadership event sponsored by the Richardson Chamber of Commerce and events sponsored by the UT Dallas Multicultural Center.
Election Packets Now Available; First Day to File is Jan. 13
Election packets for prospective candidates for Mayor and Places 1 through 6 are now available for the May 1, 2021 election. The packets are available to pick up in person—anyone wishing to obtain a candidate packet must contact the City Secretary’s Office in advance to schedule a pick-up time. You may schedule by calling 972-744-4290 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, packets will be available electronically upon e-mail request to the City Secretary. There is not a formal candidate orientation, but candidates may schedule an appointment with the City Secretary to review the packet and election procedures.
The first day to file an application for a place on the ballot is Wednesday, Jan. 13 and the last day is Friday, Feb. 12 by 5 p.m. The City of Richardson City Council election is held every two years.
Council, City Staff Discuss Future of Civic Center
After an update about the Civic Center was given by City staff at Monday’s work session, the City Council gave feedback that will help refine design plans for the Civic Center/City Hall complex and shape future bond planning presentations. The Council is in favor of looking further into two options for the space:
- Moving the Civic Center portion of the complex off-site to address City Hall space needs and security concerns
- Not having a Civic Center, due to operational costs and the desire to not compete with the private sector in hosting events
The possibility of relocating the Civic Center to an economic development area to act as a catalyst was discussed, as was the need to gather data on what it would cost the City to rent private space for some City-sponsored events held at the Civic Center each year.
City staff will give another update on the plans at a future City Council meeting.
Update Given on Library, City Hall Usage and Design Trends
City staff presented to the City Council at Monday’s work session an overview of current Library and City Hall usage and discussed trends and design concepts to consider in possible renovations of both facilities. Studying the building is part of the planning process in developing projects for a possible 2021 Bond Program.
Planning concepts being considered that are common to both libraries and city halls include:
- Enhancing the customer experience
- Creating a safe, secure space
- Allowing for future adaptations, such as using open floor plans
- Creating a gathering space for the community
- Efficiency of resources, such as energy efficient buildings and effective building layout
Further refinements of the plans will be given at a future City Council meeting.
More Bond Planning: City Council Considers Transportation/Mobility Needs
City Transportation and Mobility staff gave an assessment to the City Council Monday of Richardson’s traffic operations infrastructure, as well as reviewed past bond projects and outlined future projects that could be included in a possible 2021 Bond Program. Proposed projects include:
- Traffic signal improvements (including 15 rebuilds and four new traffic signals)—$7.6 M
- Intersection improvements at Jupiter/Campbell (Dallas County leveraged project) and University/Campbell—$3.4 M +$500 K commitment from Dallas County
- Traffic technology improvements—$2.6 M
- Street lighting projects—$1.5 M
- Traffic calming and multimodal projects (including new Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons at five crosswalks)—$350 K
The debt capacity for a November 2021 GO Bond, without a tax increase, is tentatively estimated to be $170 million (or between $160-$180 million). Bond project overviews for Parks, Drainage, Facilities, Streets/Alleys and Special Projects are scheduled for February, with bond proposition development scheduled to take place in March.
Richardson Today Hits Mailboxes This Weekend
The January issue of Richardson Today has been mailed and should begin arriving in mailboxes tomorrow. The issue has a special focus on infrastructure in Richardson—learn about current and upcoming street and traffic signal timing improvement projects, newly completed trail extensions and 2021 Bond Proposition needs.
Richardson Today is mailed to every residence in the city. Keep up with Richardson Today stories as they happen, including video, at www.richardsontoday.com. A digital version of the print edition of Richardson Today may be accessed here. Ask your local mail carrier if you do not receive your copy of Richardson Today and you live within the boundaries of Richardson.
Northbound Lane Closure Expected on Jupiter Road
In two phases, the right lane of northbound Jupiter Road between Castle Rock Lane and Campbell Road may be closed to traffic from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. due to cable work. The work is expected to be complete by early March.
Annual City Photo Contest Begins Tomorrow
The City’s annual photo contest will accept entries Jan. 9-23. Students (high school age and younger) and adults (amateur and proficient photographers), both Richardson residents and nonresidents, are invited to participate. Categories include Abstract, Anything Goes, Cityscape/Architecture, Experimental/Enhanced, Fabulous Flora, Furry Friends, It’s a Small World, People, Scenic/Landscapes, Sports and Action, Still Life, Wildlife and Wonderful Waterscapes.
Entry fees are $5 for ages under 18 and $10 per entry for ages 18 and up.
Rec Centers Offer Discounted Annual Memberships During January
To help the community keep their New Year’s fitness resolutions, Richardson recreation centers are offering 21 percent off all annual recreation memberships purchased during the month of January. (Adult memberships usually cost $60 per year for residents and $120 for nonresidents.) Memberships are valid at both recreation centers throughout the entire year and allow access to each center’s cardio fitness area/weight room, full-sized gym, game room, free WiFi, sauna and locker rooms. Safety precautions are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Sign up online at www.cor.net/parksonline (click on “Memberships” tab at top) or in person at either rec center.
Contact: 972-744-7850 (Heights); 972-744-7881 (Huffhines)
Senior Center Posts Weekly Life Improvement Tips This Month
Every Wednesday and Saturday in January, Senior Center staff are posting information at the Richardson Parks and Recreation Facebook page to help seniors start 2021 on a positive note. Weekly focuses include:
- Week 1 Chair and traditional yoga
- Week 2 After-60 makeup
- Week 3 Inspirational stories
- Week 4 Podcasts to help keep the mind active
The posts will be available 24/7.
“It’s Time Texas” Challenge Begins; Sign Up and Start Tracking
The annual “It’s Time Texas” Community Fitness Challenge began this week, and the City of Richardson is again participating. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to sign up for the free, 8-week challenge that takes place through Feb. 28 and earn points and win prizes for completing individual actions such as working out, logging water intake and eating healthy meals. People who sign up on behalf of their city also earn points for their community with every action they submit.
For the second week of the challenge (Jan. 11-17), the Parks and Recreation Department is encouraging Richardson participants to:
- Go for a walk in your neighborhood a couple of times
- Track water intake each day
You can track up to two physical activities a day and up to four “healthy activities,” and earn your community up to 600 points a day.
To sign up and for more information, click here.
MLK, Jr./Black History Month Events
In conjunction with the birthday month of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Month, the Library is sponsoring several ways to celebrate with words and images:
- Poetry sharing for teens
Write a poem about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his legacy, and send a video of yourself reading your poem (limited to three minutes) to email@example.com. Deadline is Jan. 14.
Note: Appropriate content/language required. Poems will be shared on Facebook.
- Bookmark art contest for ages 3-18
Pick up a contest sheet at Youth Services desk or print one here, and create your art on the sheet, focusing on Dr. King and his legacy. The winning designs (one for children, one for teens) will be featured on new bookmarks that will be available in Youth Services during February.
Submit artwork to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it off at the Youth Services Desk, by Jan. 25 at 6 p.m.
- Peace Dove Craft Kit
Make a paper peace dove with a free take-home craft kit, available while supplies last beginning Jan. 11.
- D-R-E-A-M Display for all ages
Beginning Jan. 15, Library users can come into the Library and write their thoughts about Dr. King’s legacy on die cuts that will be taped to Library windows around the letters D-R-E-A-M. The display will remain up through the remainder of January and February and interested Library visitors can continue to add to the display throughout that time.
MLK, Jr. Book Featured on Darbey’s Storywalk®
Help children learn about black history in a fun, outdoor way this month at the Library’s Darbey’s Storywalk®. The Storywalk® is featuring the book, “Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You,” by Carole Boston Weatherford. A QR code has been placed in the StoryWalk® where people can use their smart phone to see a list of other books related to Dr. King. In addition, a free “build a bridge” take-home craft related to the featured book will be available inside the Library beginning Jan. 15.
Darbey’s Storywalk® enables children and adults to walk along a designated path outside the Library while reading pages of a children’s book at 16 different stations. Each station displays two pages and by the end of the path, an entire book is completed. It begins at the Reading Garden just north of the Library’s main entrance and is free and open to the public 24/7.
“Whose Turn is It?” Online Board Game Club Kicks Off 2021 Sessions Jan. 9
Kids and teens ages 8-18 are invited to join Library staff for fun online board games on select Saturdays, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Games are played on Board Game Arena and are easy to learn and hard to stop playing! The group will use Webex to communicate and then play on the Board. Upcoming dates include Jan. 9, Jan. 23, Feb. 6, Feb. 20, March 6 and March 20. Join for one session or all!
Contact: 972-744-4358 for more details.
- Pegasus Theatre’s “A Trifle Dead: The Movie” Streams Fridays in January
8 p.m. Fridays Jan. 8-22. Tickets are $18.
“A Trifle Dead: The Movie” is another hilarious whodunit from Pegasus Theatre, featuring beloved Pegasus characters Harry Hunsacker, Nigel Grouse and Lt. Foster trying to find a murderer in a mansion full of suspects, on a cold night in 1938. For cost and safety reasons, this show does not employ Pegasus’ special trade-secret Living Black and White® technique, but it was taped in black and white to give the performance a similar look.
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.
Photography Exhibits Begin This Weekend at City Facilities
Two city facilities will double as photo galleries over the next couple of months, housing displays that coincide with the City’s annual photo contest (see story above). The work of professional photographer Scott Williams will be on display at Huffhines Recreation Center Jan. 8-Feb. 24, and winning photos from the 2020 photo contest will be on display at the Library Jan. 9-28. The Library display, located on the third floor, will showcase the 2020 Best of Show and Best of Division winners as well as the work of the 2020 contest judges. The 2021 Contest Results Exhibit begins there Jan. 30.
The exhibits are free and open to the public during normal operating hours.
Air North Texas Offers Ideas for Green New Year’s Resolutions
Air North Texas, a division of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, is asking North Texans to consider starting new habits that help the environment when making New Year’s resolutions. Here are three of several resolution ideas listed in a recent post at the Air North Texas blog:
- Learn How to Compost
When food is wasted, it ends up using more water and contributing to rises in greenhouse gases, both detrimental to the air we breathe and the environment we live in. Learn how to put leftovers to good use here.
- Use Reusable Bags and Cups
Using reusable cups, bottles and bags will keep you from adding to the 4.2 million tons of plastic bags and sacks and the 35 billion empty water bottles contributed to landfills and waterways by Americans each year.
- Conserve Electricity
Conserve energy and improve air quality by turning off lights and appliances when you leave the house and replace bulbs with LEDs instead of using fluorescent or incandescent bulbs.
Tree Cycling Continues
Christmas trees are still being accepted for the City’s Tree Cycling program, which turns natural Christmas trees into mulch and compost. Trees may be dropped off through Feb. 1 at the Municipal Service Center, 1260 Columbia Dr., or set out at the curb and picked up as part of the City’s Brush and Bulky Item Collection (BABIC).
Tree cycling guidelines:
- Trees must be natural (not artificial) and unflocked.
- All ornaments, tinsel, tree stands, nails, lights, etc., must be removed.
- Calls for BABIC must be received before the designated collection day (your BABIC day is the same as your recycling day).
The mulch and compost are created thanks to a regional partnership between Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco and Texas Pure; it is used in landscaping by the cities and offered to the public for purchase. Residents of the five member cities receive a discount.
Animal Shelter Pet of the Week
With eyes that draw you in, how could you not adopt this handsome boy? His name is Bono. He is 5 years old (almost 6), neutered, orange tabby and white, domestic short hair. He came into the Shelter Dec. 7 as an owner surrender. Bono lived as an outdoor cat who only came in at night and would interact mostly during playtime. He is shy when new visitors come inside the house but once he gets used to you, he will meow until you pet him. Bono ate very well before coming to the Animal Shelter as he weighs 23.5 pounds, which creates more to love. He is fully vaccinated and looking for a home that would be patient and help him become healthy. Let his sweet and shy temperament win you over and give him a chance at a loving home. If you are interested, please look into his profile on our website and schedule an appointment by going to https://richardsonanimalshelter.setmore.com/.
For information about animals available for adoption, visit the Animal Shelter’s web page here.
City Council Links
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