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Past CLIDE AWARD Winners

One McKinney 2040 Comprehensive Plan

ONE McKinney TitleMcKinney is home to an estimated 187,000 people. With a significant change in population as well as the evolution of the development landscape the need for McKinney to create a new comprehensive plan became evident.

In October of 2018, the McKinney City Council unanimously approved the ONE McKinney 2040 Comprehensive Plan. The plan now serves as the definitive long-term planning and policy guide for the city and its extra-territorial jurisdiction. Establishing a vision for the community was the primary objective when crafting the ONE McKinney 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

Through considerable coordination with stakeholders, and numerous outreach events, the City gathered input from the community. It was apparent during the formation of the plan that a focus on regional impacts would be essential to the success of the city in the future. When establishing the plan, the integration of objectives from numerous institutions were taken into account, including independent school districts, Collin County, North Central Texas Council of Governments, and several others.

Originally approved and adopted on October 2nd, 2018, the ONE McKinney 2040 Comprehensive Plan will receive periodic updates through the coming years. Following the announcement of the US 380 Bypass study, the City of McKinney made a concerted effort to ensure the plan reflected potential future regional transportation and mobility initiatives. As these initiatives take a more concrete form, the comprehensive plan will be updated to reflect the changes accordingly.

These updates will also represent changes to the City'sMaster Thoroughfare Plan (MTP), expand upon and improve the direction of development patterns where possible, and modernize land use trends to better reflect the market as it continues to evolve and diversify in McKinney. The total area that this plan covers is approximately 116 square miles. This new comprehensive plan captures the vision of what the city has become, while also creating a narrative for where it wants to go.

Award Recipients: City of McKinney, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Strategic Community Solutions, and Ricker-Cunningham

 

Southwest Nature Preserve (Arlington)

Arlington's Southwest Nature Preserve comprises a 58-acre tract just south of I-20 along the east side of Bowman Springs Rd. Once slated for residential development, the property was acquired by The Trust for Public Land until Arlington voters could approve funds for its purchase in 2005.

Southwest Nature PreserveSouthwest Nature Preserve veg

Although open to the public, the area remained unchanged, with rudimentary trails and no parking, while a number of interested residents--who later formed the Friends of Southwest Nature Preserve--collaborated with APRD in the planning for and execution of the city's first nature preserve.

Today, this prime example of the Eastern Cross Timbers ecosystem boasts four marked hiking trails, four ponds, an upland oak forest, rare sandstone rock outcroppings, and a pollinator meadow--this last still a work in progress.

Unique ecological features include the iron "knobs" at the top of the ridge (aka Kennedale Mountain, reputed to be the highest natural feature in Tarrant County), a large stand of farkleberries far from their recorded range in East Texas, and an expanse of rare Yucca necopina on the eastern meadow. Two miles of soft-surface trails offer visitors access to diverse habitats across the preserve for low-impact activities such as birdwatching, plant- and wildlife observation, nature photography, and catch-and-release fishing. Improvements to the preserve included a boardwalk along a pond leading to a fishing pier, a small amphitheater for educational programming, new parking accommodations, and picnic areas. The preserve serves the entire Dallas-Fort Worth community by providing a splendid opportunity for plant and wildlife observation and enjoyment.

It has been a hot-spot for plant and animal photography and documentation the last two years during the City Nature Challenge events, and recorded the most bird species of any Arlington facility at the recent Great Backyard Bird Count. On a daily basis, the preserve offers visitors a place for restful contemplation, gentle strolling, fishing, or hiking with only nature's riches as a companion.

Award Recipients: City of Arlington, and Friends of Southwest Nature Preserve.

 

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Preservation Plano 150-A Heritage Preservation Plan (HPP) Update Project

Preservation Plano 150 is a highly graphic and user-friendly document with useful information for a variety of audiences. A primary goal of the project was to develop a plan based upon community values and feedback. This was done through a variety of methods, including three public workshops, stakeholder meetings, and an online survey. Methods use to advertise the plan and solicit feedback included: The project website, preservationplano150.com, was the primary source for the public to review information about the plan. Information accessible on the website included a summary of the project, links to past preservation plans, meeting dates and materials, online survey results, draft plan revisions, survey data, and much more. An online survey was available for three months for the public to comment on various opportunities and challenges facing the program.

The results were used to formulate the goals, policies, and actions. Workshops were held where the public was invited to participate, provide feedback, and comment on the development of the plan. The City of Plano Facebook, Twitter, and Next Door platforms were used to advertise meeting dates, the online survey, and the posting of the draft plan to the project website. A postcard was mailed to properties surveyed as part of the Preservation Plan update, and letters were also mailed to all properties which were ultimately included in the plan as Potential Heritage Resources. The overall project planning process was guided by citizens and two volunteer groups comprised of a 15-member stakeholder committee representing the city's preservation partners throughout the community and a timeline focus group comprised of several long-time residents and members of the community to review The Plano Story timeline.

The plan was adopted in November 2018 and its implementation is in the beginning stages through utilization of existing programs to preserve and maintain current heritage resources.

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Award Recipients: City of Plano, Winter & Company, HHM & Associates, Texas Historical Commission.

 

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DeSoto Market Place

A first of its kind in this region where an economic development corporation participates in the profits and serves as master tenant, subletting to over 40 incubator businesses in the 26,000sf anchor space. With the expertise of a local developer and property owner partnering with an Economic Development Corporation two things resulted; the space was quickly occupied with partial public funds (to be returned in the profit) which would not have happened in the private sector alone. The project included an unusually high level of engagement with citizens, elected officials, the DEDC, the Chamber, and city staff. .

Because there were few if any similar projects, new rules had to be created to permit the development and ensure high quality. The DeSoto Market Place project's Planned Development (PD) featured several innovative elements. This included an elimination of parking requirements; regulations that allowed the incremental redevelopment of temporary spaces; new categories of entrepreneurial uses; and zoning to allow housing in a historically-commercial district.

The DeSoto Market Place redevelopment project represents suburban repair by recycling a strip center on a site with limited demand. It provides a mix of retail, restaurants, offices, studios and (future) residential. The overall goal is to create a community - not just a consumer-oriented building - and to ensure that we grow entrepreneurs that learn how to achieve financial success. The project is already creating positive cash flow. It is anticipated that it will start returning capital back to the partners—including the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation and developer—later in 2019.

Award Recipient: City of Desoto, Options Real Estate, DeSoto Economic Development Corp., The Industry Hub, Ash + Lime

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Envision Oak Point

Lewisville Old Town at nightA community-driven guide to redevelop the Oak Point study area into a mixed-use activity center. Located in northeast Plano, the area consists of 730 acres and 6,785 people and is one of the most ethnically and racially-diverse areas in Plano.

Envision Oak Point is a compatible policy document with the guiding principles of development excellence that will change this area into a healthy, sustainable neighborhood with improved mobility and will continue to rely on engaged residents.

Community members were involved at all stages of the planning process which used multiple avenues to engage a broad cross-section of people and organizations with over 700 participants taking part in workshops, open houses, interviews, person-on-the-street discussions, and online surveys. Social media platforms such as the City of Plano's Twitter, Facebook, and Nextdoor pages presented opportunities to link interested citizens to the project website, post photos from public events, and present thought-provoking questions in over 70 social media posts between March 2017 and January 2018.

The Community Vision Map for the Oak Point area, developed through robust community engagement, serves as a guide for future land use and mobility improvements in Oak Point. Envision Oak Point is a dynamic document, designed to be flexible and respond to changing conditions and market demands. City Council recently called for a public hearing for possible rezoning of the Plano Event Center site. This will help kick-start changes throughout Oak Point as the Center is expected to become the social hub for the community.

With a large portion of the project area recognized by the State of Texas as an economic opportunity zone, it is only a matter of time before the Oak Point area experiences reinvestment. The result of this community-designed plan will be a place that embodies the best qualities of living in Plano. Envision Oak Point improves and enhances Plano's vision for the Oak Point area while honoring Plano's past, plans for reintegration of currently disconnected civic spaces, enhances area mobility strategies, and demonstrates a commitment to future public-private partnerships through the development process.

Award Recipients: City of Plano, Fregonese Associates, Tharp Planning Group, Walter P. Moore, Axianomics LLC, DRW Planning Studio, J Williams Group, JHP Architecture, and Strategic Community Solutions.

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Smart Growth for Dallas

smart growth mco An initiative to improve the social, economic, and environmental resilience of Dallas through the strategic use of parks, trails, trees, and greenspaces. The Smart Growth for Dallas platform includes powerful tools to search, query, and sort its various data and analyses, allowing users to identify intersections and opportunities for synergy. For example, users can search for all parcels of land within the City of Dallas that are publicly owned, vacant, larger than 2-acres, and located within a health priority zone.

The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the Texas Trees Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, used preliminary data from Smart Growth for Dallas to shape a major tree-planting in initiative. Called "Cool and Connected Oak Cliff," the initiative used Smart Growth for Dallas to find a neighborhood with strong overlap between the Cool, Connect, and Health objectives.

Trees are one of the most cost effective means of addressing these three issues: they improve air quality, reduce the urban heat island effect, and can improve pedestrian mobility by providing shade and serving as a buffer between automobile traffic and pedestrians.

Smart Growth for Dallas has been very successful in its goal of helping shape a healthier, more connected, and more resilient Dallas. By creating a public planning tool, helping the City to generate new funds for parks, and investing heavily in a high-need, park-poor community, Smart Growth for Dallas has created a foundation for the greening of Dallas. Smart Growth for Dallas is an enabling condition to facilitate park acquisition, trail development, and green infrastructure installation across the city.

Award Recipients: City of Dallas, Trust for Public Land, The Texas Trees Foundation, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP.

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Bois d'Arc Lake

This $1.6 billion reservoir, in Fannin County, will be the first major reservoir to be permitted and built in Texas in nearly 30 years. Construction on Bois d'Arc Lake began in May of 2018 with water delivery expected in the Spring of 2022.

While Bois d'Arc Lake's main function is a water source for the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), the lake will also be a recreational area and have homes and businesses along its shoreline. NTMWD is working with local partners to identify and implement strategies for protecting water quality and supporting the use of Bois d'Arc Lake as both a water supply and recreational source. The 16,641-acre BDL is a public project and expected to begin supplying water in 2022. It will eventually provide a firm yield of 108 million gallons of water per day (MGD).

State of Texas and Federal permitting efforts began in June 4, 2008. NTMWD obtained an uncontested water rights permit in 2015 and a Federal 404 Permit in 2018. Groundbreaking took place in May of 2018.

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Award Recipient: North Texas Municipal Water District, AECOM, Archer Western, Austin Bridge & Road, Black & Veatch, Bridgefarmer & Associates, CP&Y, Freese and Nichols, HDR, Garney Construction, Jacobs Engineering, RES, Fannin County, NTMWD Member Cities.

 

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Dallas Farmers Market

In 1941, the site at the corner of South Pearl and Taylor Street in the southeast quadrant of Downtown Dallas was officially sanctioned as the site for a municipally owned and operated farmers market for the sale of farm fresh produce.

Dallas Farmers MarketIn 1941, the site at the corner of South Pearl and Taylor Street in the southeast quadrant of Downtown Dallas was officially sanctioned as the site for a municipally owned and operated farmers market for the sale of farm fresh produce.
Three open-air sheds were constructed, at which the farmers' trucks backed into concrete docks, and customers' vehicles drove through the sheds, parked and shopped. Although for fifty years the market was vibrant and busy, it was characterized by exhaust fumes and a poor quality of light and was hardly a pedestrian friendly experience.

Because the City of Dallas was not ideally suited to manage their way out of the decline of the Farmers Market, they made the decision to put the real estate and management contract out to bid through an RFP process. Spectrum Properties successfully won the contracts to purchase the land and buildings from the City and operate the Dallas Farmers Market, based on a master plan vision, marketing and merchandising plan and stakeholder input, which dramatically changed the nature of the market, turning it into a pedestrian-focused mixed-use village with food as the anchor.

Attached to the redevelopment of the Market was the funding by the City of Dallas for 300 parking spaces in a nearby garage. This garage would become part of a four-story multi-family building situated on-site that took the place of two former sheds. With the existing zoning on-site not being compatible with the envisioned build-out, a rezoning was undertaken that enabled a greater variety of uses, more stringent design of the public realm and greater density.

Both the City and their Urban Design Studio were key partners in ensuring that the project would be both a success and that the transition of the Farmers Market to private management would be seamless. The Dallas Farmers Market, like the transition of the Dallas Zoo from public to private management, has been an unquestioned success story for promoting both a greater sense of placemaking in an area of downtown in great need, and increasing the land value of both on-site and adjacent properties.

Award Recipient: City of Dallas, Spectrum Properties, Good, Fulton and Farrell.

 

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Oaks 5th Street Crossing at City Station

A Public-Private Partnership intended to revitalize and transform its historic City Center into a thriving transit-oriented development. The project encompasses several city blocks centered at the city's cultural and administrative district. .

Dallas complete streets plan

Design and construction of the development required extensive coordination across a diversity of disciplines and interest groups. The development has achieved all this and more, standing as a concrete example of what cities can do to revitalize their communities if the will is there and the right players are involved.

The revitalization includes the modernization of the City Hall both in function and appearance. City Hall enhancements include the addition of a two-story entry lobby bathed in natural light with views to a south facing garden area on State Street.

Also included is a completely new energy efficient exterior envelope reflecting a contemporary Garland, along with a variety of interior upgrades, accessibility improvements and other spatial reconfigurations. This expansion of this City Center District is giving City Hall a new face and adding over 12,000 SF of mixed-use commercial and retail space along with over 300 urban housing units.

This is quickly transforming the daytime to a heavier involvement throughout the day and night, restoring new life to a beloved city core.

In a time where so many new urbanist developments are sprouting from nothing, this city, and this design team, are very proud that this series of projects could so efficiently work together to transform their urban environment.

Award Recipients: JHP Architecture, VAI Architects.

 

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TEXrail – Trinity Metro

TEXrail Trail

This new 27-mile commuter rail line that extends from downtown Fort Worth, northeast through North Richland Hills to downtown Grapevine, and then into Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport's Terminal B. TEXRail provides access to major activity/employment centers along the corridor; and connects with other local, regional and national transportation services including Trinity Railway Express (TRE), Amtrak, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) at DFW Airport, and Trinity Metro's extensive bus network at Downtown ITC/Fort Worth Station.

This commuter rail line consists of nine stations, two of which were existing stations that are shared with TRE in Fort Worth. The other seven stations were built specifically for TEXRail. Prior to TEXRail there was little or no transit option from downtown Fort Worth into northern Tarrant County and DFW Airport. The population of Tarrant County is projected to grow significantly.

The major roadways in this area struggle to maintain a reasonable level of service even with some recent improvements resulting in severe congestion. TEXRail helps mitigate that congestion and slow the growth of highway congestion by offering an alternative that was not previously available to the traveling public. It provides significant and reliable travel time savings in the corridor, as well as convenient and seamless access to major activity centers along the route.

TEXRail gives Tarrant County residents economical access to the regional transit network into Dallas, Denton and Collin counties. TEXRail also provides air quality benefits to the region and promotes sustainable development throughout the project corridor. TEXRail is a vital component of the DFW region's future multimodal transportation system to address current and expected population, employment, and economic growth.

TEXRail ridership exceeded 100,000 in the first 23 days of service.

Award Recipients: Trinity Metro

 

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City of Roanoke Downtown Expansion

Roanoke City Hall

As part of a public/private partnership, the Downtown Expansion project has been a catalyst in bringing new concepts, extensive retail, office, entertainment and additional eclectic restaurants to Downtown. The planning effort initially entailed assessing the existing conditions, identifying the strengths of the district specifically and the community generally.

The first phase was the development of the Roanoke Downtown Plan, the second phase included developing the zoning codes to implement the vision for Downtown Roanoke through a form-based code, the third phase included renovation of the existing roadway and infrastructure and the final/current phase includes the previous described Downtown expansion, including construction of a new City Hall.

As a result of the Downtown Expansion project, resulting zoning district and previous revitalization the city is currently experiencing an increase in development activity along the entire Downtown Corridor. In addition, the Downtown Expansion project exemplifies a successful planning effort that has created a public-private partnership to realize the established community vision for the heart of Roanoke. Annual sales revenues have increased from $573M to $794M. and development of a mixed-use City Center. Roanoke offers small-town charm and family friendly atmosphere with ready access to local amenities.

The community's natural charm was enhanced by this development process and the beautiful architecture preserved in the historic downtown. Downtown Roanoke was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 along with receiving a Texas historic landmark marker for a renovated Roanoke Visitor Center and Museum.

Roanoke was officially appointed by the Texas House of Representatives as "The Unique Dining Capital of Texas" in June 2009. This recognition was due to Roanoke being an immensely popular dining destination which is compelling for patrons due to the great variety of cuisines and fine dining experiences.

Award Recipients: City of Roanoke.

 

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Meissner-Brown Building

In 2014, the City of Fort Worth became a trustee of the property at 2717 Avenue B, formerly the Meissner Brown Funeral Home, due to tax foreclosure. The building was in extremely poor condition due to years of neglect. Facing multiple requests to demolish the structure, the City partnered with Historic Fort Worth, Inc. to find a buyer who was willing to rehabilitate it.

Meissner-Brown

In December of 2015, Dale Sellers and Phoenix I Restoration and Construction, Ltd. stepped up to the plate to purchase and fully restore the historic 1937 property. Work on the project included a full repair and reinforcement of the pier-and-beam foundation; replacement of the modern shingle gable roof with historical roof tiles (salvaged from another building), replacement of the flat roof, repair of the original truss roof system; new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; restoration of the original windows; original stucco repair and replacement in kind; repointing and stabilizing of the load bearing masonry walls; restoration of the original wood floors; and landscaping of the entire site. The total budget for the project was just over $1,800,000.00.

The rehabilitation of the Meissner-Brown Building not only revitalized a deteriorated historic structure, but also placed it back in use for the community by creating a mixed-use commercial space. The east side of Fort Worth, particularly around Texas Wesleyan University, for years has been lacking in quality commercial space that could accommodate a variety of uses.

Marketing 2717 Avenue B as an event space to be used for weddings, birthdays, small conventions, art shows, and other community celebrations fills a community need. The east side of Fort Worth is primarily residential, particularly in the area around the university. There are almost no commercial buildings within a mile-and-a-half radius of campus that can accommodate the variety of events that 2717 Avenue B can now; with over 6,000 sq. ft. of space that can hold up to 286 people.

The new event space at 2717 Avenue B allows for a mix of uses, returning a building to the community, and providing a new development model for the east side of Fort Worth that can meet the 21st Century needs of the community.

Award Recipients: City of Fort Worth, Phoenix I Restoration and Construction, city of Fort Worth Planning and Development, Historic Fort Worth, INC.

 

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Arlington City Center

The City of Arlington was faced with an aging central library and administration facilities ringed with large open surface parking lots, a car-oriented and disconnected University of Texas at Arlington campus, and an area redevelopment plan that had not gained traction in the marketplace. Rather than accept this condition, the City formed a proactive public/private partnership to create a mixed-use center of activity that has become the core of a newly connected downtown experience.

Arlington City Center

Known as Arlington City Center, this $95M redevelopment is complete and now inducing additional private development around it. Arlington City Center is based on the original downtown street grid that connects the City Hall area to the University. Over time, this area devolved through the addition of suburban-style pad site buildings and prior governmental buildings that eroded the urban form of the street grid.

The City Center plan has revitalized this grid through a core investment in the creation of a walkable mixed-use place programmed to induce new pedestrian traffic along pleasant streetscapes and open spaces. And while the master redevelopment is complete, it has created a new market comparable that is being utilized to finance additional private redevelopment within the larger downtown grid. It is anticipated this trend will continue to fill in the outer urban blocks over time to add to the already completed core urban experience.

The public facilities have met their programming obligations, with over 500 people visiting the library each day and the City administration facilities serving their public roles. 101 Center, the initial private investment, leads the Arlington marketplace in residential rental rate with certain units gaining over $2/sf rents. Its commercial rents are consistent with new construction elsewhere in the City, and the development itself has appraised for values that rival those in Legacy Town Center, Uptown Dallas, Las Colinas Urban Center, West 7th Fort Worth and other dominant mixed-use developments in North Texas.

Award Recipients: City of Arlington, Catalyst Urban Development.

 

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City of Fort Worth Preservation Ordinance Update

When Fort Worth's Preservation Program was established in 1986, a preservation ordinance was adopted by City Council at the behest of the community as the foundation for the program. This original ordinance underwent several transformations over the years, with updates being made or additions being added roughly every 5 years, until it got to the point where Fort Worth's preservation ordinance hardly reflected that original ordinance and its intent.

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In 2012, staff began the process of working with stakeholders to revise the ordinance. However, the effort was placed on hold due to a lack of staff resources. In 2017, staff began the process of updating the ordinance again.

The main goals of the ordinance update were: to increase staff efficiency, clarify vague language, align the ordinance with best preservation practices, and increase administrative review authority. Adoption of the new Preservation Ordinance is a major achievement for Fort Worth.

The project brought together a diverse array of stakeholders to create an innovative, forward-thinking document that served the needs of the community and laid the groundwork for conservation of Fort Worth's cultural resources.

Since the new ordinance was adopted by City Council on April 3, 2018, the number of administratively reviewed preservation projects has increased form 59% to 70% of all preservation projects. There has been a marked decrease in permit review time of preservation projects, as over 70% of all project reviews are completed in 2-3 days instead of 30+ days. Use of the Historic Site Tax Exemption program has been simplified for property owners resulting in a decreased application approval time (2-3 days) for 50% of all applications.

The ordinance update has created an opportunity for the City of Fort Worth to truly focus on conserving existing buildings and guiding compatible new development, thereby promoting promote cultural, environmental and economic sustainability.

The new ordinance has helped stakeholders to better understand historic preservation best practices and utilize those practices to conserve their historic resources for future generations. The new ordinance has proven to be immensely successful in the City's administration of its Preservation Program and will continue to be a positive guiding force for Fort Worth for many years to come.

Award Recipients: City of Fort Worth

 

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Stockyards Form-Based Code

The Fort Worth Stockyards was one of the largest livestock markets in the United States. As the industry changed, the Fort Worth Stockyards transitioned from an important center for the meat packing and livestock industry to a visitor destination, attracting residents from the region as well as tourists from across the nation and abroad.

Stockyards plan

Today, the Stockyards is challenged to set a direction for the future while honoring its working heritage. As the population of Fort Worth and North Texas continues to grow, development pressures are quickly transforming central Fort Worth. The Stockyards area is no exception.

The Stockyards Form-Based Code and Design Guidelines was created to promote rehabilitation and compatible new construction that is sensitive to the surrounding historic context. By preserving existing buildings and guiding compatible new development, this document helps to promote cultural, environmental and economic sustainability. The Stockyards Form-Based Code and Design Guidelines is a comprehensive ordinance for Fort Worth to promote a consistent reinvestment plan for the Stockyards District. The Code provides development standards for Fort Worth's most significant historic district through a series of character areas that have been meticulously refined by the public and private sectors. It is intended to guide Fort Worth's prosperous and sustainable future by providing clear development standards and processes that result in predictable, efficient and coordinated review processes. The adoption of the Stockyards Form-Based Code and Design Guidelines is a major achievement for Fort Worth. The project was able to bring together a diverse array of stakeholders to create an innovative, forward-thinking form-based code that serves the needs of the community and lays the groundwork for future development in the urban realm.

Since the establishment of the Guidelines, several major projects have been approved and permitted in the Stockyards that meet and exceed the principles laid out in the document. From the new Drover Hotel, to the rehabilitation of East Exchange Avenue, to the restoration of the New Isis Theater, community stakeholders have found the Guidelines easy to use and a boon to their projects. The Guidelines have helped these stakeholders retain the districts' existing historic character and complement character-defining features of the district with modern urban planning concepts, such as pedestrian-oriented streetscapes and state-of-the-art urban infrastructure.

The Guidelines have proven to be immensely successfully in the early stages of development in the Stockyards and will continue to be a positive guiding force in the district for many years to come. Out of the $175 million in proposed development for the district prior to the creation of the Code, a total of $14,302,676 in projects have been approved in the last year and a half since the Code was adopted.

Award Recipients: City of Fort Worth

 

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Urban Commons

This single-family, mixed-income, private development in North Dallas combines quality architecture, sustainable landscape, innovative planning, and community amenities to set a new standard for creative infill of overlooked, under-utilized urban land.

urban commons rendering

Planned in 2015, the project is expected to be completed in 2022. Urban Commons is located on an irregularly-shaped 9.5 acre parcel in North Dallas. The context consists of a variety of nondescript office buildings, hotels and storage buildings to the South, East, and West, and a townhouse development immediately to the North. The site is bisected by a heavily wooded branch (the Branch) of Ferris Creek that is prone to flooding.

The developer's goals for Urban Commons, in addition to making a reasonable financial return on investment, are to achieve a number of key planning, economic, environmental, and urban design priorities of the city of Dallas. These include the goals identified in the ForwardDallas! Comprehensive plan, Neighborhood Plus, Integrated Storm Water Management, and Complete Streets programs. Urban Commons will incorporate a number of sustainable features to ensure that its impact on the environment is low and positive.

Forty percent of the site is dedicated to natural open space, including the Branch and the Pond, a flood retention basin located at the west end of the site. The Commons are designed as rain gardens to retain and filter stormwater flowing toward the Branch.

The Pond will store additional water for irrigation of all common areas. An on-site well will supplement stormwater for irrigation, minimizing demand on municipal water supplies. Photovoltaic panels located on the garages and Mailbox Court will power common areas.

Homes will be designed and built to a nationally recognized "green" standard for sustainable home construction. Site lighting will be designed and specified to be full cut-off and "night-sky friendly." All new landscaping will be native or non-invasive, and existing trees - including most "trash" trees - are being retained to the greatest extent possible.

Award Recipients: DSGN Associates, Urban Edge Developers, Devin Sloan Studio, Macatee Engineering.

 

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Collins/Arapaho Transit-Oriented Development & Innovation District Study

The District's vision is to be the premier tech hub in Texas. Carefully outlining 10 strategies to achieve this goal, which ranges from diversifying land use and transportation options to marketing and branding. This study was accepted by City Council on December 3, 2018. The process included input from a wide variety of individuals including residents, businesses, workers, property owners, developers, and other stakeholders.

Collins Arapaho cover

During the implementation phase, both the City and the Richardson Chamber of Commerce led the actions. There was great collaboration between the City and the Richardson Chamber of Commerce. One of the key drivers for this study was the work conducted by the Chamber in 2017 to lay the groundwork for the innovation district. Both the City and Chamber worked closely during the last year to gain feedback and buy-in from the business community, and at the end of the process, collectively the City and Chamber have taken active roles in implementation.

The City lead the Zoning entitlement process to rezone the District (March 25 kickoff scheduled); Pop-up demonstration on the City's property in the District; Construction of the Duck Creek Trail (begins second quarter of 2019); Evaluation for additional staff member(s) to oversee implementation; Completion of a six-month demonstration and study for the Greenville Avenue "road diet" and Working with UT-Dallas to explore deploying GENI technology throughout the District. While the Chamber lead the District marketing, branding, naming; Development of the business association and the Managing and facilitating recurring meetings with institutional partners.

The District is well-positioned for the future having a "road map" established through the adopted Vision. New zoning regulations will be in place by the end of the year, with continuing outreach to the public occurring during the process.

New and continuing public infrastructure improvements are also in the works, with an innovative six-month pilot demonstration for the Greenville Avenue "road diet" testing nearing kickoff. These actions are a testament to the Collins/Arapaho Transit-Oriented Development & Innovation District's current and continued long-term success, and an example of Development Excellence.

Award Recipients: City of Richardson, Interface Studio, Ninigret Partners, Big Red Dog.

 

City Line

City Line building examplesEmerging from one of the last remaining greenfield tracts in the City of Richardson, CityLine is a dynamic development that rapidly took shape as a dense, transit-oriented neighborhood. Comprising a regional employment center; thousands of homes; extensive retail, restaurant and entertainment options; and a diversity of recreational amenities, CityLine is woven together by a coherent network of walkable streets and multi-use trails. CityLine's physical form is organized as two distinct districts—a compact, walkable urban core of approximately 120 acres and a more conventionally suburban periphery, about 80 additional acres, that buttresses the urban center while accommodating a less dense transition to nearby single family neighborhoods. CityLine provides pedestrian-friendly facilities throughout the development through a network of broad, sidewalks and multi-use trails.

City Line aerial view

Award Recipients: City of Richardson

"Building a park and green space is a nice gesture to attract people to use it, and they are within a stone's throw of a massive freeway intersection, and that is remarkable. Cityline is a world in and of itself."

 

 

Village of Rowlett

The Village of Rowlett is the realization of the City's downtown strategic redevelopment plan enacted in 2012. This $40M development is being implemented through a public/private partnership that expands the downtown into a series of walkable streets and open spaces defined by unique mixed-use and mixed-density residential buildings.

Village of RowlettVillage of Rowlett

The transit-oriented development plan creates a new street grid with high quality streetscapes that integrate the existing DART light rail station, includes the new central library for the City, restaurants with outdoor dining along Main Street, and a range of new housing types including 3-story lofts, ground level live/work units, 2 story bungalow court homes, and 2 story townhomes. The design is based on an agrarian urbanism concept that incorporates agri-industrial architectural forms, is organized around a large central community garden and preserves large stands of existing trees and wetlands. The development will be truly unique within DFW as example of a sustainable, high-design, new development that is fully integrated into its historic context to create a new center of community and activity for this suburban City with an identity all to its own.

Award Recipients: City of Rowlett, Catalyst Urban Development, Integral Development.

"The scale of it and the feel of it makes a remarkable transformation into an interesting place, creating a sense of place and sense of community."

Village of Rowlett

 

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Tyler Station

Tyler Station is the private renovation of a 1920's industrial property, originally occupied by Dixie Wax Paper Company, into a light manufacturing, retail and office co-working community. The idea to house a community of multi-purpose industrial, retail, and office users was born while searching for a buyer for 1300 S Polk Street in Dallas. Monte Anderson and his Options Real Estate team knew this iconic building had a better future than the landfill. With vision, experience, and financial creativity, the right team was assembled and Tyler Station LLC began its journey in May 2016. At 110,000 square feet, Tyler Station will provide an entrepreneurial workplace destination while connecting the DART light rail Tyler Vernon Station to the neighborhoods of Elmwood and Polk-Vernon.

The first success was to save the building. Tyler Station is currently 50% complete and 20% occupied with pre-leases signed for 70% occupancy. They plan for Tyler Station to be very successful, provide return on investment to the partners and to be a destination along the southern Dallas DART Rail line.

Tyler Station Aerial View

Award Recipients: Options Real Estate Investments Inc., Dallas Area Rapid Transit City of Dallas, Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, Elmwood Neighborhood Association, Polk-Vernon Neighborhood.

"From a redevelopment aspect, they have a variety of different users that have come together to bring new life and energy"

Tyler Station Front View

 

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East Rosedale Renaissance

Fort Worth's East Rosedale Street connects a population of approximately 12,000 to the City's downtown to the west and to the neighboring City of Arlington on the east. The project limits span approximately two miles. The East Rosedale project is located in the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood and is bounded by regional highways – I-30 on the north, U.S. Highway 287 along the southeast edge, and East Loop 820 on the east. Rosedale has long served as a Main Street for the area's diverse population, anchored by Texas Wesleyan University (TWU), Polytechnic High School, and several churches and retail centers along the south side of the street. In recent years, Polytechnic Heights has been the focus of both public and private projects dubbed The East Rosedale Renaissance.

East Rosedale

Working with residents, TWU, Tarrant County, Fort Worth Public Art, and business leaders, the City of Fort Worth and the design team produced a design and construction program that helped improve traffic flow, increase traffic safety, enable more and safer pedestrian activity, enhanced the area's appearance, improved drainage particularly in the area's largest park, incorporates public art, and moves the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood closer to its vision as a center for urban life.

East Rosedale

Award Recipients: City of Fort Worth, Freese and Nichols, Texas Wesleyan University, and the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

"The efforts to recapture what had been a suburban strip court was a pretty remarkable effort. This community has come a long way."

 

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Lewisville Old Town - Wayne Ferguson Project

Lewisville Old Town at nightThe Wayne Ferguson Old Town Plaza is a 1.5-acre urban park and community gathering place located in the heart of Old Town Lewisville. The plaza sits across the street from Lewisville City Hall and the Medical City of Lewisville Grand Theater and is adjacent to the historic Main Street commercial district. The plaza was originally known as the Old Town Plaza but was named the Wayne Ferguson Plaza with the dedication ceremony held on October 13, 2015. The Plaza is a place-specific gathering site that harmonizes environmental stewardship, economic development, and a commitment to the arts—and strengthens Old Town as a destination for both locals and visitors. Lewisville had invested in reestablishing itself in Old Town through the construction of a new City Hall in 2002. Existing improvements to Main Street were helping to identify character and enhance the pedestrian environment.

The Plaza has become the heart of Lewisville and a place for community. The Plaza hosts numerous events throughout the year that bring visitors both local and from afar to the Lewisville. The bigger events that throughout the year have an impressive economic benefit to the City.

Lewisville Old Town

Award Recipient: City of Lewisville

"It is at its core a town center gathering space, with the story and the flow and elements. I liked the feel of it and can imagine myself sitting their experiencing it. They did a lot with a small space."

 

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Cool Schools

Cool Schools planting trees at schoolTexas Trees Foundation launched its Cool Schools Program in early 2016 to provide outdoor learning centers and enhanced tree canopies on Dallas ISD elementary campuses that will ultimately serve to educate our children on the benefits of trees in healthier outdoor environments, and to reduce the urban heat island effect through the cooling effects of improved tree canopies. Each school landscape design is developed with input from a Green Team of teachers and students so the budget varies but is approximately $75K per school.

One of two pilot schools for 2016 is Onesimo Hernandez Elementary located in the Medical District where tree canopy is only 7% (a healthy tree canopy is 40%). The Medical District is one of the hottest areas of Dallas in need of mitigation through the planting of trees to provide shade and other environmental benefits.

With the success of the pilot program, Texas Trees Foundation are moving forward with two additional Cool Schools in 2017 and eventually all 151 DISD Elementary campuses.

Planting trees around campus

Award Recipients: Texas Trees Foundation, Dallas Independent School District.

"The notion of taking these places and adding trees to them has a really great impact on the community and can give a sense of joy... It's an important piece of the puzzle for the DFW Metroplex."

 

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Greater Dallas Planning Council

Greater Dallas Planning Council meetingThe Greater Dallas Planning Council (GDPC), founded in 1946, is the oldest Dallas area civic organization that focuses on issues shaping regional growth. The GDPC's membership is comprised of a group of successful professionals from architect design firms, planning consultants, construction and engineering firms, developers, real estate industry leaders, community and civic organizations, corporations and municipal entities. The GDPC members evaluate local and regional policies in order to promote the long-term sustainability of the City of Dallas and surrounding region.

Urban design issues, economic development, transportation, water issues, energy and education remain a core focus of the organization. A variety of issue task forces bring together professionals concerned about the future of the region and evaluate policies and new design concepts. The members of the task forces evaluate information, invite area leaders to their meetings and develop policy recommendations that are forwarded to local leaders and the media. In order to promote a better understanding of issues facing the region, the GDPC sponsors monthly breakfast meetings open to members and non-members. These breakfast meetings include a presentation by local politicians and leaders on issues ranging from urban development, education reform, transportation changes, water planning and other timely issues.

Greater Dallas Planning Council Logo

Award Recipient: Greater Dallas Planning Council (GDPC)

"Other cities have multiple organizations that aspire to this, but they aren't comprehensively gathered the way the GDPC seems to be. You see it reflected in the Dallas that you witness today."

 

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Berry/University Development Plan and Form-Based Code

The Berry/University Urban Village/TOD Development Plan and Form-Based Code was funded through NCTCOG's Sustainable Development Program. Additional funding was provided by the City of Fort Worth, Fort Worth Transportation Authority, Texas Christian University, and the Berry Street Initiative.

Berry/University Development PlanThe Berry/University Development Plan assessed market opportunities and provided detailed recommendations supported by extensive graphics for activating Berry Street, including expanding pedestrian and bicycle-oriented streetscape improvements, adaptively reusing existing buildings, and connecting to nearby centers. The plan also provided recommendations for preserving surrounding neighborhoods by promoting more affordable higher density residential close to Berry Street and facilitating a range of "missing middle" housing choices, while improving walkability in the neighborhood and connection to the Trinity Trails system and other destinations. The plan embraced transit, and particularly the future TEX Rail station and transit center at Berry & Cleburne, providing tactical urbanism recommendations, identifying targeted short-term improvements, and addressing needed stormwater management improvements that support higher density, amenity rich development.

Award Recipient: City of Fort Worth, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth Transportation Authority, Berry Street Initiative

"This is phenomenally thorough, well-illustrated, and well-done. They really did try to reach out to the neighborhood to arrive at what you see here."

The following comments were made regarding Sandra Dennhey and Linda Clark, two contributing partners in the project who have since passed:

"Linda Clarke and Sandra Dennehy were cut out if the same cloth when it came to advocacy. They both loved their City and were passionate about their neighborhood. Face to face meetings were their mode of operation. Dialogue led to plans; plans to action. They organized neighborhoods groups and stakeholders-- always taking time to ensure that everyone knew how a zoning issue or a develop would affect their neighborhood. After Linda passed away, Sandra made it certain that no BSIs momentum would be lost - and none was. Once a neighborhood group from the other side of Fort Worth asked Sandra how BSI could get things done overnight - Sandra said, if your definition of 'overnight' is 17 years, then I guess we are pretty fast!! She went on to say - it takes time to fight for your city. You listen, you build coalitions and don't take 'no' for and answer."

 

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City of Dallas Complete Streets Design Manual

The Dallas Complete Streets Design Manual was adopted by City Council Resolution in January 2016 as a policy guide to be used by every city agency responsible for transportation projects. It also serves as a guide for developers to improve the quality of public spaces and transportation networks adjacent to their projects. The city launched its Complete Streets initiative in June 2011 with a series of public meetings and workshops. Over the next several years several compete street infrastructure projects have been constructed based on recommendations from the Complete Streets Manual, with many more in various stages of design.

Dallas complete streets plan     Dallas complete streets example

The manual's goal is to serve as a design guide for creating more sustainable, multi-modal streets while making Dallas' infrastructure design process more transparent and community-oriented. Design guidelines range from preferred street component widths, bike lane recommendations, pedestrian safety improvements and various other design suggestions which inform the roadway design process. The manual also includes a checklist to be filled out at the very beginning of the planning process to ensure every complete street component is considered for each infrastructure project on a case-by-case basis.

Award Recipients: City of Dallas, Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), Kimley-Horn.

"Bravo. This is a thoughtful approach that other cities will be benefited if they modeled after it. They have done a thorough job of taking the streets and making them more walkable, vibrant, and livable."

 

The Belmont Hotel Development

Belmont HotelThe Belmont Hotel Development originally began in 1999 with the cleaning of a brownfield site adjacent to the hotel. The hotel redevelopment began in March of 2004. It has been painstakingly restored back to its original form. With an approximately nine acre development site, The Belmont Hotel is neighbors with The Villas residential development, an award winning restaurant, urban veterinary clinic, health club, photography studio and future kiosk retail site.

The Belmont Hotel was built in 1946 by JB Malone and designed by famed regional architect Charles Dilbeck as an example of the Art Moderne design. The new development around the hotel respects the original architecture of the hotel. For example, the Villas Development took cues from the hotel in it’s design. It also takes advantage of the hill which provides residents of the Villas Development and patrons of the hotel with magnificent views of the Dallas city skyline. The whole development has been enhanced with xeroscaping. What was once a neglected hotel has transformed into a place that encourages residents, locals and tourists to gather at the hotel bar, restaurant, health club and at the open markets.

Inside the Belmont HotelView from the Belmont Hotel

In its infancy the Belmont Hotel Development included a decrepit, “pay by the hour”, asbestos filled hotel, the shell of a long shuttered restaurant, an old print shop and an abandoned 1920’s Tudor residence. It also included a four acre Brownfield site at the top of the hill. The combined value of all these properties was a very generous $2,600,00.00. Yet through a combination of vision, fortitude, perseverance, and a little luck the Belmont Hotel Development now consists of a renovated 1940’s art moderne hotel named by Southern Living Magazine as one of the best hotels in Dallas, the Nationally recognized Smoke Restaurant, the Clairvista Vitality Health Club, the Manny Rodriguez Photography studio and MetroPaws Veterinary clinic, and now resting on top of the hill is the thirty three lot Villas at Dilbeck Court. Discounting the intrinsic value this remarkable transformation has created for the North Oak Cliff area, the actual asset value of these renovated, retro-fitted, re-imagined properties is now over $40,000,000.00.

The Belmont Hotel Development

 

 

July 2014

City of Frisco Water Resources Department

As one of the fastest growing cities in the US, Frisco Texas has needed to balance a population influx with a water-taxed region. Frisco has grown from 33,714 in 2000 to 146,480 residents as of March 2015, comprising primarily of a demographic with a historically high outdoor use of water. As the population grew and development increased in the area, so did water use and drought conditions - resulting in low lake levels that have placed an additional burden of educating the new water customer.

Frisco Water Resource’s goal was to create programs that would encourage residents to make responsible choices about their water use habits voluntarily, rather than just through mandatory restrictions. In Frisco, approximately 70 percent of water used in the city is for residential outdoor purposes. With the targeted audience identified, Frisco Water Resources intended to take an evidence-based approach to educate water customers in the city, and to provide them with a resource to help them determine the need to water their lawns and landscapes.

In order to accomplish this, a Campbell Scientific weather station was installed in 2006, which calculates daily evapotranspiration using the Penman-Montieth equation, and an automatic rain gauge located in each quadrant of the city. Texas A&M methodology is applied to the data collected to calculate weekly watering recommendations that are distributed to residents via a weekly online newsletter (sent to over 11,000 subscribers). a weekly video, and a 24-hour phone line. The data is also used as a platform basis for Frisco’s water education programs, including the popular free Sprinkler Checkup Program. It has also been tailored to be as simple as possible to help residents determine whether they need to water in a given week.

As a result, water usage has dramatically decreased. Since the weather station went online in 2008 and the implementation of the watering recommendations in 2009, the GPCD has fallen from 234 GPCD in 2008, to 148 GPCD in 2014, which is very close to the current state goal issued by the Texas Water Development Board of 140 GPCD. Cost of purchase and installation of the Campbell Scientific weather station was approximately $30,000 in 2008. Frisco’s water rate as of 2013 was $3.39 per 1,000 gallons. Using the 2008 GPCD values and the 2013 water rate, Frisco saved over $21 million in 2013, and has saved an estimated $141 million from the water conserved since the installation of the weather station.

By providing an educational and evidence-based approach to water conservation, the Water Resources team intends to create a shift in thinking about our water use that will engender more sustainable consumption of this precious resource over the long-term.

City of Frisco

 

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June 2014

Continental Bridge and West Dallas Gateway

Continental BridgeThe Continental Bridge and West Dallas Gateway (Continental Bridge) spans 2,000 feet over the Trinity River. It carried vehicular traffic to and from downtown Dallas and West Dallas in the form of a four lane roadway since 1931. In 2012, the signature Margaret Hunt Hill (MHH) bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava, opened to traffic, adjacent to the Continental Bridge, allowing for Continental to be closed to vehicular traffic and transformed into a linear open space.

The engineering and architecture team developed an economical design for the bridge that shaped it into a sustainable destination that supports the West Dallas community and draws citizens and tourists to the neighborhood from all Dallas neighborhoods.

The City had long envisioned the breathtaking space over the Trinity River upon completion of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and was able to work with a responsible and creative design team in CH2M Hill and WRT to focus on elements that would increase the safety of the aged bridge, highlight its historic nature, be low maintenance and include amenities that would appeal to people of all ages and from all walks of life. In 2009, the Trinity Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising private funds and providing community outreach to assist with the implementation of the Balanced Vision Plan for the City of Dallas’ Trinity River Project, secured an anonymous donation in honor of Margaret McDermott Cook in the amount of $8,000,000 to convert Continental into a recreational facility. The City funded a portion of the total project with $3.6 million in 2006 bond funds. This $11.6 million public/private investment has led to identifiable economic benefits along with a number of Principles of Development Excellence.

Continental BridgeContinental Bridge 

The public amenities of the Continental Bridge include space to walk, lounge, play, cool off, and engage in games of chess and bocce ball. It is a population destination during the day and through the evening, drawing from the West Dallas neighborhood, visitors of Trinity Groves and many others that come for a programmed event, to play or simply to enjoy the serenity of being in the City of Dallas’ expansive Trinity River floodway. Since the June 2014 opening through February 2015, 88,150 visitors have discovered the Continental Bridge and over 357 programmed events have taken place. The programmed events attract both kids and adults and include fitness (as examples, Zumba and yoga classes), education (as examples, the science lady and storytelling), and fun (as examples, movie nights and holiday events). Partnerships with local childcare and camp providers during the summer months have allowed for educational and fun outings on the Continental Bridge.

Continental Bridge

 

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May 2014

Heritage Creekside and the Plano UMU

Heritage Creekside is a 121 acre mixed use urban neighborhood plan zoned under the new Urban Mixed Use (UMU) Zoning Ordinance of Plano. This story of the public-private implementation of the UMU through Heritage Creekside as the inaugural UMU neighborhood started more than a half century ago when the Hunt Family purchased the site for investment. The property is owned today by the Rosewood Property Co. led by Caroline Rose Hunt.

Sitting just southwest of the aging Collin Creek Mall on the PGBT, the property has sat for decades with outdated single-use commercial zoning. Unlike West Plano anchored by Legacy Town Center and newer greenfield development, the area in South Plano in which the site is located faces the question of reinvention or continued leakage in values due to its aging suburban context. Originally buoyed by the Telecom Corridor to the South down US 75 (Central Expressway) and the construction of the PGBT Toll Road on its southern perimeter, the property was up against the paradox of its amazing location limited by its outdated suburban zoning.

Heritage CreeksideRosewood Property Company always believed the site was a strong location for headquarter-anchored office; but the conventional single-use zoning applied to the site in the 1980s had been passed by in favor of planning and zoning that facilitates consumer and corporate preferences for live-work-play contexts. So Rosewood Property Company joined forces with Carbon Thompson, a mixed use office developer, to reposition the property as an urban neighborhood in a suburban location. A team lead by Gateway Planning and planner turned attorney, Bill Dahlstrom, was assembled by Rosewood to engage Plano to reinvent the story of the site. The team also included Kimley Horn to understand the complexity of access to the toll road on the south and Sarah Dodd to engage the aging single-family neighborhood to the north. The Rosewood Team approached Plano’s Planning Department in the summer of 2014, and together they decided that the site was a great candidate for the City’s UMU Zoning District, which had not yet been successfully utilized. The Rosewood Team and the Plano Team agreed to work to simultaneously consider improvements to the UMU through the contemporaneous planning and zoning of the site.

Developing true mixed use neighborhoods in aging suburban locations faces the challenge of attracting higher quality retail and other non-residential uses when much of the surrounding context is typically “over retailed” and replete with plenty of “competing” commercial sites. Working with the adjacent neighborhoods and the Plano Staff, the site was planned under the UMU as Heritage Creekside. Turning out strong support at the City Council adoption meeting October 27, 2014, the neighborhoods understood that Rosewood was using the UMU to give birth to Heritage Creekside as a legacy neighborhood rather than just the next glorified apartment project. Through the process, the neighborhood leadership became convinced that an adjacent dense walkable community—rather than more “value” office under the old zoning— would provide quality-of-life amenities for them and upward support on property values.

 

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April 2014

Lancaster Urban Village

Lancaster Urban VillageLancaster Urban Village is one of the first completed developments of the City of Dallas’ Grow South Initiative. Situated across from the VA Medical Center of Dallas, and adjacent to the VA Medical Center DART station, the $30M transit-oriented development is a classic proactive redevelopment in which a blighted built context was assembled and demolished to make way for an urban mixed-use and transit oriented development district that now offers an improved urban block format with pedestrian streetscapes, redefinition of the historic Lisbon Cemetery, two new urban pocket parks, 193 residential units, 15,000 sf of retail, restaurant and small office, and an expanded urban campus for the Urban League of Dallas.

The development is the result of a public/private partnership between the City of Dallas, Citywide (non-profit CDC), and Catalyst Urban Development (for-profit developer). To mitigate the difficult market context, a sophisticated and diverse capital stack was utilized that included City of Dallas Economic Development Bond funds, New Markets Tax Credits, HUD Section 221(d)(4) loan, HUD Section 108 loan, TIF financing, and private investment.

Lancaster Urban VillageLancaster Urban Village

The LEED-certified project required the assembly of 18 blighted low-density and vacant properties, the removal of old and illegal deed restrictions through the County Courts, the creation of a form-based and mixed-use planned development zoning district allowing the 3 and 4 story development form now completed, the reconstruction of neighborhood infrastructure that now serves an 80-acre development district, a shared parking garage serving the residential, retail, office and Urban League, and an architectural style and project materials that work together with the Urban League and VA Medical Center buildings to present a quality urban experience within its blighted context.

There had not been any new mixed-use and multifamily development within the primary market area for over 20 years. Within the immediate market area (excluding the VA and DART), there had not been large scale new investment in over 50 years. Despite these lack of market comps, the project was completed, has leased up 30% more quickly than anticipated, at rates that are 35% higher than existing market (and 10% higher than anticipated). National retail tenants are now leasing the commercial space for the first time in two decades in the immediate market area and at market lease rates. The portion of the residential units that are not income constrained (due to financing requirements) have leased up most quickly, showing the overall strategy for market enhancement is working. The development has created a new comp that new developments can point to moving forward.

Lancaster Urban Village

 

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March 2014

Northwest Sector Study Phase 1

Northwest Sector Study CoverThe Northwest Sector Study Initiative is a sector study of the largest portion of undeveloped land in the McKinney’s ultimate planning area (city limits and ETJ). At roughly 30,000 acres in size, the Northwest Sector is dotted with rolling hills, creeks, and dense groves of trees. This area of McKinney is renowned for its quiet and pastoral beauty and agrarian land use types. However, as one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, McKinney’s growth and development is beginning to push north, and the sparsely populated Northwest Sector is poised to experience rapid growth over the coming years. As a proactive step towards preparing for this, the City launched the Northwest Sector Study Initiative in 2013 to identify the priorities and principles that should influence how this area of McKinney should grow over the next several decades. At its core, the ultimate challenge facing the Northwest Sector will be balancing exponential growth and demand with the unique culture and landscape that make the area so special today.

With its large size, there are a number of different stakeholder groups who all have a vested interest in the future of the Northwest Sector — from those concerned with protecting legacy farms and family properties to those with large land holdings concerned with economic and development opportunities. As such, the public process was designed to effectively and accurately capture the different concerns and ideas from each stakeholder group in order to create a unified vision that is representative of a common set of goals.

Northwest Sector Study

Over the course of 18 months and with a budget of $169,000, City Staff and a team of consultants hosted large, open house-style meetings and workshops as well as small group interviews, discussions and workshops. The input and desires received at the large group sessions were used to guide dedicated discussions with smaller focus groups and interviews. The result is a vision that is founded on the common core values of all stakeholder groups in the Northwest Sector and is reinforced through a series of specific area and place type priorities that aim to ensure that future choices are consistent with these desires.

The Northwest Sector Study Phase I Report serves at the conclusion to the Phase I process and was unanimously approved by McKinney City Council in February 2015. The ideas and priorities outlined in the report now serve as the long-term planning and policy guide for future development in the Northwest Sector. Phase II of the Initiative is set to begin in the spring of 2015. It will build upon the planning principles outlined in Phase I by focusing on the implementation tools that will make the vision a reality.

Northwest Sector Study

 

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February 2014

Richardson's Spring Creek Nature Area Expansion Acquisition

Richardson Spring CreekAs North Central Texas continues to grow in population and employment, natural environments are rapidly disappearing due to development pressures. The City of Richardson, a first-ring suburb, is land locked with limited developable land, becoming more urban as population and employment grows. However, there is a vast, rare hardwood forest that has deep ties to the history of the region. Caddo Indians who lived in the area hunted buffalo and deer here. In 1849 Jacob Routh purchased the land, where he established a mercantile and a bed and breakfast for travelers half way between Dallas and McKinney. While he farmed many acres around the woods, he never cleared the land allowing it to grow. The land eventually shifted to the Margaret Hunt Hill family, who has owned the woods for generations.

In 1990, 51 acres of this forest was donated to the City by the Hunt Trust and named the Spring Creek Nature Area. A grant received from Texas Parks and Wildlife provided funding for a 1.9 mile multi-use trail that has become a mainstay for Richardson’s residents and employees alike. With its refreshing woodland escape, the nature area provides instant relief from urban hustle and bustle. In late 2014, the City took steps to further preserve a remaining portion of the hardwood forest by entering into an agreement to purchase approximately 60 acres located adjacent to the Spring Creek Nature Area, doubling the size of the nature area. The goals for the additional property include expansion of hike and bike trails thus providing additional connectivity to a regional trail system, and nearby mixed use and single family residential neighborhoods; preservation of the Routh family cemeteries; and restoring the property’s ecosystem by removing non-native species.

Richardson Spring Creek Nature AreaImportant to the preservation of the forest was transferring development rights to land that supported the city’s goals for responsible development, including transit-oriented development and increasing vitality for the Galatyn Park Urban Center. Per the purchase agreement, the City transferred multi-family and nonresidential development rights from the forest to properties owned by the Hill family, resulting in 1,850 units within walking distance of the Galatyn Park Station.

The hardwood forest is a unique environmental asset in the urban/suburban development of Richardson and the DFW area. This land purchase and transfer of development rights furthers the City and region’s goals in a number of ways. It preserves a long-standing forest, and expands the Spring Creek Nature Area to complement the Bush Turnpike Station, CityLine, Caruth property, and Galatyn Urban Center developments. The movement of multi-family units shifts residential development to mixed-use, multi-modal sites thereby supporting transit-oriented development principles by enhancing the built environment context at the Galatyn Park Station, through increased density and diversity of land use types thus maximizing the development potential around the station. The agreement secures the long-term caretaking of the Routh Family Cemeteries, historic sites harking back to the beginnings of Richardson. The effort enhances the quality of life of the city’s residents.

Richardson Nature Trail

 

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January 2014

Rogers Road Pavilion

Rogers Road PavilionSited at the SE corner of Rogers Road and Riverfront Drive on a small triangular piece of under-utilized property, the Rogers Road Pavilion (now known as celebrity chef, Tim Love's Woodshed Smokehouse) provides an idyllic setting to enjoy the serenity along the banks of the Trinity River. The site, created by the re-routing of the Trinity River for flood control in the 1960s is just south of the present-day University Park Village shopping center. Along the Trinity Trails system, this site has been revived, creating a dynamic outdoor dining environment (4,800 sf) and trail head offering access to a variety of amenities to the many pedestrians and cyclists on the trails. The project was a collaboration of the Tarrant Regional Water District and Streams and Valleys, a community organization committed to its vision of saving, sharing and celebrating the Trinity River and Trails.

Serving as a launching pad to the Trinity River's recreational renaissance, Rogers Road Pavilion was designed to meet the community's current needs and bring the river's amenities up to a new holistic level while setting the tone for planned future development on the river. With no similar project in the area, Rogers Road Pavilion was successful in setting an example of how sustainable development can occur along the river while creating synergy with the natural environment and responsibly spurring on economic development of the area.

Its desirable location along the busy Trinity Trails system, made it ideal for an active lifestyle restaurant and new trailhead. Extensive site work and trail improvements were completed in order to make the building and coordinating trail head a dynamic and integrated part of the trail – rather than just being a business on the trail. Its courtyard was designed to be open and inviting trail users.

Trinity RiverRogers Road Pavilion seating

Materials such as corrugated metal, exposed wood and wall ventilation fans reflect the industrial vernacular historically found along the river and in the nearby rail yards and were used consistently throughout the project’s components. As with most projects, budget was a primary concern for this effort. It's public funding meant the project had to be efficient with each dollar spent. The technical successes of the project stem from the creative use of materials, and innovations used to create a cost effective sustainable design that would prove to be highly successful for the client and the eventual tenant.

Rogers Road Pavilion is a resounding success in changing perceptions of the Trinity River.
The development makes a powerful statement about the level of success that can be achieved when a client, the city, stakeholders, designers, community groups, donors, designers and builders listen and work together as partners for the betterment of the community. Collaborative spirit flowed through the design process at every stage amongst the team. Though the project is a commercial development with a community component, the project successfully brings the community, business interests and natural environment together organically.

Rogers Road Pavilion walkwayRogers Road Pavilion seating

 

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December 2013

Transit Oriented Development Tax Increment Finance District Reinvestment Zone 17

The genesis of the District was started in 2007 by Prescott Group and the City of Dallas with final adoption of the Transit Oriented Development (“TOD”) TIF Project Plan in April 2010. The concept was to create incentives to develop sustainable, higher density, appropriate redevelopment/development around transit stations in the northern/southern sectors of Dallas. The stations and surrounding areas became known as “a string of pearls” where development/infrastructure improvements could occur with assistance of the TOD TIF. The district consists of four sub-districts and contains 1,167 acres not including right-of-way. The unique financial structure to insure success of the TIF district was that tax revenues from sub-districts could be exported/shared to fund projects in sub-districts where tax increment is not created due to economic/land use factors. Export of tax increment was unique in Dallas and Texas. When combined with a focus on responsible TOD, Reinvestment Zone 17 and its structure were the first of its kind in the US.

 

Transit Oriented DevelopmentTransit Oriented Development

The following sub-districts of the TOD TIF are located in/around DART light rail stations:

Mockingbird/Lovers Lane Sub-District
Despite the sub-district’s close proximity to Mockingbird Station mixed-use center and density commercial/hotel uses along the Central Expressway frontage, there is an older area of property with redevelopment challenges. Surface parking lots and underutilized warehouse, office/retail uses can be found between the Mockingbird and Lovers Lane DART stations.

Cedars West Sub-District
Located at the intersection of Belleview and Wall Streets, two blocks east of Lamar - the land uses are predominately industrial in nature with aging infrastructure. Redevelopment of this area is a high priority as part of the Trinity River Corridor Project.

Transit Oriented Development Lancaster Corridor Sub-District
(Blue Line) 8th and Corinth Station, Illinois Station, Kiest Station, Veterans Hospital Station, Ledbetter Station.
These five rail stations are complex in current land use with established neighborhoods that are transitional and surrounded in general by a variety of incompatible land uses. A variety of housing types from single family to apartments (Dallas Housing Authority, low income, market rate) to townhomes and senior living are present with a variety of conditions and ages. Large tracts of vacant land, retail and parking lots provide redevelopment opportunities depending on employment/educational centers at the stations. The largest employer in the area with the greatest number of visitors arriving by rail is the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital located at Veterans Station. The DART rail line serves as a dividing line for Lancaster Road, with the Veterans Memorial Hospital located to the east. West of the rail is “Lancaster Urban Village” - a public venture with the Urban League and the City of Dallas.

Cedar Crest Sub-District
Includes a 200-acre site with potential to be a master planned development for the former Kiest landfill site and adjacent property. The existing land uses include the Cedar Crest Golf Course, a residential area with single family homes and vacant lots between the Golf Course and Kiest Boulevard, retail and storage/warehouse uses along Kiest Boulevard, a Dallas Housing Authority apartment complex, and a DART bus facility.

Since the downturn and recession of 2009-11, the tax values in the district were artificially suppressed except for a few projects that were focused as catalyst projects to generate increment and continue to add overall tax value of the district. The projects in the district have occurred due to the City of Dallas economic development office working with other city departments (planning) and the private development sector. The value of the completed or planned projects including those that did not take any TIF award is over $197 million. The District also achieved a milestone by creating surplus increment in 2013 which will provide a foundation to build upon for additional gains in value throughout the district. Due to the long term nature of the TIF District’s tenure, the success will be built over a number of years. The foundation for the District’s success is in place through the goal setting and efforts of a number of stakeholders in the District and within the City of Dallas. Ongoing promotion to the private sector and a proactive development mandate by the public sector throughout the District will accelerate the mission and the attainment of the goals.

Transit Oriented DevelopmentTransit Oriented Development

 

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November 2013

Wylie Municipal Complex Project

Wylie Municipal Complex CourtyardThis project is the Wylie Municipal Complex, a dynamic, evolving facility that provides a civic center for the citizens of Wylie. Through recreational programming, educational initiatives, community outreach, special events, civic activities, and environmental stewardship, this facility has become a community gathering place and destination point. The multi-use complex includes Wylie’s City Hall, Wylie Recreation Center, and Rita and Truett Smith Public Library, three separate buildings connected by an 800-foot long serpentine wall of native Texas limestone. 280 acres of open space, including prairies, woods, and trails, surrounds the facility.

During spring and summer of 2005, in preparation for an upcoming bond vote, City staff conducted multiple town hall meetings to gather input from citizens and stakeholders. Based on the information gathered, a select Citizens Bond Advisory Committee was formed, and it developed the Municipal Center concept as one to be taken to voters. The bond was approved in late 2005, and construction began in 2008. Building construction cost nearly $34.5 million dollars, and the facilities opened in the first quarter of 2011.

The buildings were designed by Holzmann Moss Bottino Architecture and ArchiTexas and constructed by Byrne Construction Services. The total of 137,000 square feet of building space is roughly split equally among the three facilities. Designed to meet LEED Silver standards, the decision was made to include the green elements, such as a solar array, rainwater harvesting, and high-efficiency fixtures, without the cost that is associated with the certification process. Special consideration was taken to ensure that the unique design compliments the beautiful landscape and takes full advantage of the open meadow, sloping topography, trees and creek.

Wylie Municipal Complex side

Combining and interconnecting three facilities on one site has allowed the City to enhance its level of service to the public, leverage resources to provide an exceptional value for the bond funds expended, and provide the hub of a new city center for a growing community. The total number of visitors to these buildings is estimated at 500,000 annually.

The City of Wylie remains committed to providing an outstanding experience for citizens and visitors at the Municipal Complex and has continued to add value to the site through development of the surrounding grounds. Due north of the complex, approximately 17 acres of the site are undergoing a restoration to native Blackland Prairie through the City’s collaboration with the Texas Master Naturalists. And, over $400,000.00 in grant funding, along with matching funds from the City, are currently being put to work building a mile-long, concrete trail across the property, connecting the complex with schools and neighborhoods.

The Wylie Municipal Complex is a quality place for citizens of Wylie to gather and for visitors to experience. Through a robust public art program, special events, comprehensive recreation programming, and library activities, the complex has become a popular destination.

Wylie Municipal Complex frontWylie Municipal Complex

 

Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren ParkKlyde Warren Park serves as a central gathering space for Dallas and its visitors. This tree-filled 5.2–acre urban green space built over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets in downtown Dallas serves as a vital connector between Uptown, Downtown and the Dallas Arts District. It engages downtown residents, workers and visitors with walking trails, a dog park, botanical garden, performance pavilion, a children’s park, games area, and local food trucks. Klyde Warren Park is a highly active space, providing daily free programming for the public ranging from yoga to book signings to outdoor concerts and films. The park is owned by the City of Dallas, but is privately operated and managed by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. Connectivity was an important consideration when Klyde Warren Park was built. Easily accessible by foot, trolley and bicycle from Uptown, Downtown, and the Arts District, the park contributes to a more walkable city center.

Plants in the botanical garden are primarily native Texas species. More than 300 new trees will act as a natural bio-filter, reduce storm water run-off, and mitigate urban heat island effect. Solar panels on all light poles will provide power as part of a high-efficiency lighting management system. A below-surface irrigation system will control water use saving an average of 300,000 gallons per year compared to a conventional overhead spray system.

The concept of building a deck park over Woodall Rodgers Freeway may have originated in the 1960s when Dallas Mayor J. Erik Jonsson decided to recess the freeway. Many years later in 2002, the idea resurfaced in the real estate community. In 2002, The Real Estate Council initiated local and state advocacy efforts to explore the possibility of building a park over Woodall Rodgers Freeway. The organization's members donated pro-bono legal services, planning, website design and research, and funded the feasibility study required to launch the project with a $1.5 million Impact Grant in 2004. That investment spurred Klyde Warren Park, which broke ground in September 2009 and opened in October of 2012.

Klyde Warren Park food truckKylde Warren Park Performace

According to the Insight Research Corporation’s economic impact study, Klyde Warren Park is estimated to create $312.7 million in economic benefit, including 182 new jobs and $12.7 million in tax revenue. In March 2009, the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation received $16.7 million in federal stimulus funds as a “shovel-ready” transportation enhancement project that will create approximately 1,000 immediate jobs and stimulate additional economic development and job growth in the future. The park is a model of a successful community catalyst from which others can learn and benefit. Bringing together municipal, state, federal and private sources, Klyde Warren Park is one of the most significant and successful public-private ventures in Dallas history.

Kylde Warren Park Before and After

 

 

July 2014

White Buffalo

White BuffaloThe White Buffalo is located in the heart of Fort Worth’s cultural district, just a short walk from the shops and restaurants along West Seventh Street. Historically, the area has been a cultural destination, and recent developments of mixed use projects have infused a lively atmosphere to the neighborhood. The White Buffalo consists of a micro unit design, which is a design concept that responds to the need for a smarter, urban housing prototype.

The project was a redevelopment of an urban site that was part of an older, under-utilized warehouse area. As an urban infill site, the White Buffalo has little impact on existing natural features or stream corridors. Being part of greyfield site redevelopment, new infrastructure has been placed to ensure ground water quality was not compromised by the project. As a planned development, the parking requirement is reduced to a minimum of only one car per unit to help minimize footprints and physical impact.

White Buffalo is efficient, especially on such a small urban site. With very strategic space planning, units provide a nearly identical experience to larger apartments for less rent. Units are designed with efficient and modular kitchen and bath layouts, closets sharing circulation space with rooms, fewer dividing walls, ten-foot ceilings, large windows providing ample natural lighting and sliding / barn doors instead of swinging doors. The building facade is placed as close to the street as zoning and utility setback permits, keeping with the urban character of the project. At the easternmost edge of the project, four townhomes line the street, featuring undercover parking; individual stoops to the sidewalk and private roof top decks. Given the advantage of the location, each roof top deck provides a sweeping view of downtown Fort Worth.

By utilizing smaller units and a smaller building footprint, the developer was able to build on significantly smaller parcels of land and proves that quality, not quantity drives success.

White Buffalo courtyardWhite Buffalo unit

 

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June 2014

East Fork Raw Water Supply Project

East Fork Raw Water SupplyIn 2004, the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) faced a critical raw water supply shortage. Water demands in NTMWD's rapidly growing service area north and east of Dallas, Texas, would soon outpace their capability to meet them from their existing raw water sources. New surface water supplies planned at that time would not be completed in time to contribute to the solution. NTMWD addressed this problem by developing an environmentally friendly, fast-track project that would yield the raw water supply needed to meet the increased water demand: the East Fork Raw Water Supply Project.

The project works like this: NTMWD diverts treated effluent (return flows) from the East Fork of the Trinity River that have been contributed by NTMWD- or customer-owned wastewater treatment facilities into a 2,000-acre constructed wetland for removal of sediments and nutrients from the water. The wetland-treated water is then conveyed 43.5 miles to Lavon Lake for storage, subsequent treatment, and use by NTMWD customers. The East Fork Raw Water Supply Project is capable of providing enough water to serve 500,000 people per year. This is comparable to the yield of a new reservoir, but was completed at a cost of less than 25% of developing a new reservoir and in about 20% of the time.

John Bunker Sands Wetlands Center 

The wetland habitat created through this project has had a tremendous positive effect on the community and region. Over 250 species of birds have now been documented at the site, hundreds of students have experienced nature up close through the educational programs established at the Wetland Center, and university researchers are utilizing the facility to advance environmental science.

The East Fork Raw Water Supply Project is a major achievement for the North Texas Municipal Water District (a regional utility) and Rosewood Corporation (a private corporation) in that a public-private partnership was formed that pursued and accomplished the implementation of a water reuse strategy that did not rely solely on a traditional concrete, steel, and chemical treatment facility, but rather one that used the power of nature to clean the water. Over three square miles of wetlands were built as a result of this project, creating a wetland habitat in a location where very little previously existed.

East Fork Raw Water Supply Project

 

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May 2014

Flood Safety Awareness Novella - The Rescue League Academy

Flood Safety AwarenessIn 2010, remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine caused widespread flooding in Arlington, submerging many low-lying pockets under several feet of water. Firefighters had to use ladders and boats to reach stranded residents and over twenty roadways, including several arterial streets, were flooded and closed due to hazardous conditions.  The flooding caused intermittent power outages, temporary road closures, evacuations, contaminated water supplies in some areas, and hazardous post flood conditions.   Approximately 250 homes were flooded or left uninhabitable throughout the City.  Residents were confused about why their homes flooded and why the City was unable to prevent the flooding.  Many did not have insurance or were unaware that their homeowner’s and renter’s policies did not cover flood damage.  The City used the disaster to try to educate citizens and City leaders about the dangers of flooding, the need for projects to reduce flooding risks, flood insurance, and the Turn Around, Don’t Drown campaign.

Novella excerpt

As a result, the City of Arlington Stormwater Management Division has developed a unique way of spreading awareness about flood preparedness with the creation of a graphic novella (comic book), “The Rescue League Academy: Sink or Swim.”  This novella demonstrates the importance of being prepared for floods in a way that people of all ages will understand.

This novella lays the foundation for residents’ initial understanding of flooding and flood preparedness before, during, and after a flood.  As flooding can happen anywhere and at any time, residents must be made aware of the dangers of rising floodwater and specific behaviors that could help protect lives and property.  This novella will help to foster an understanding of flooding and flood preparedness, as well as a respect for our natural resources.  Simply, the novella serves as an entertaining and also educational resource for residents who need information regarding flooding and flood preparedness.

Sink or Swim excerpt

 

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April 2014

Fort Worth ISD 2007 Capital Improvement Program

Fort Worth ISDAs the planning phase started in 2007 for a new Capital Improvement Bond Program, the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) took steps to ensure a successful program, begining with a needs assessment. Among their findings; more than 60% of school buildings were over 50 years old, classrooms lacked technology that would facilitate teaching and learning, and the previous 1999 bond program ran behind schedule, over budget, and led to allegations and an FBI investigation.

In November 2007, voters approved a $593.6 million bond referendum, including $551.9 million for construction of new schools, additions, and renovations to existing schools and athletic facilities in the Fort Worth Independent School District. The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) began with the Architects Selection Process on November 7, 2007, just one day after passage of the bond. This rapid start, and the subsequent success of the CIP implementation, was possible due to the planning and preparation by FWISD and the Program Manager (AECOM) in the months prior to the bond election.

Rosemont Elementary

To gain back public trust, FWISD front loaded the bond program with quick, visible projects like resurfacing the running tracks at every school. The 2007 Capital Improvement Program renovated all 130+ schools with equity a guiding principle. Critical needs were addressed at all schools in all parts of the District — following the same priority standards. The goal was to level the playing field regarding facilities and services offered by the schools to the students, faculty and community.

The 2007 Capital Improvement Program was completed in November 2011 and consisted of 3 phases, including 5 new schools, 8 additions, and 123 renovations - all of which were completed on time and on budget. Because of the money saved, the program has been extended to provide additional improvements District-wide. Phase 4 includes 2 additions and 21 renovations. All of which will be completed on time and on budget. A few key performance indicators include zero claims or legal actions in over 3,000 contracts, only 3 minor safety incidents in four years of construction, an average of 8 proposals per solicitation, over 40% historically under-utilized business participation, and $92.5 Million in savings and credits.

John T. White Elementary

 

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March 2014

Downtown Plano Vision and Strategy Update

Downtown PlanoThe “Downtown Plano Vision and Strategy Update”, adopted by the Plano City Council in February 2013, charts the course for the continued transformation of Plano’s historic downtown into a vibrant urban center based on the concepts of transit oriented development. In 2002, Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Downtown Plano light rail station opened and provided the spark for renewed interest and reinvestment by developers and small business owners in partnership with the City of Plano. Since then over 750 new housing units in a mix of urban apartments, condominiums and townhouses have been constructed. A diverse assortment of new stores, restaurants and bars has occupied new commercial space and restored historic buildings. Public-private partnerships have been key to the success of many projects, with the city utilizing funding from a Tax Increment Finance district and capital improvement bond program, fee waivers, land banking and other programs to supplement private sector efforts.

The “Vision and Strategy Update” establishes goals to continue and expand the revitalization program outside of the core downtown area to the entire DART rail corridor. Plano is presently served by three stations on the Red/Orange light rail lines, and a station on the proposed Cotton Belt rail line is being considered at 12th Street, just south of Downtown Plano. With the addition of this station, the entire two and one-half mile corridor from the Bush Turnpike station on the south to the Parker Road Station on the north would be within walking distance of one of the four stations.

Downtown Plano Transit

This expanded area contains numerous opportunities for urban infill and redevelopment projects, and the “Vision and Strategy Update” envisions the addition of at least 3000 new residential units within the rail corridor and the development or revitalization of 500,000 square feet of non-residential space. Street, trail and sidewalk improvements are also planned to create a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment and better connections between the adjoining neighborhoods, mixed-use centers and transit stations. Some of Plano’s oldest neighborhoods abut the rail corridor, offering opportunities for infill housing and revitalization. Finally, the “Vision and Strategy Update” recommends the continuation of the economic and tax base growth required to provide public improvements, services and reinvestment incentives.

Downtown Plano’s success is evident in both tangible and intangible ways. The additional residential customer base has spurred merchants in the older downtown buildings to reinvest and renovate. Downtown Plano no longer “rolls up the sidewalks” at 5:00 pm. The residents of Downtown Plano and surrounding neighborhoods are out walking their dogs, dining at the beer garden, and hurrying to catch a performance at the theater. Developers and small businesses have found Downtown Plano to be a profitable place to invest. The revitalization projects have served as a laboratory for the city to be an effective and supportive partner in public/private partnerships. The “Downtown Plano Vision and Strategy Update” will guide the continued use of mass transit and the principles of new urbanism to expand an urban activity center and provide a sustainable development strategy for a maturing suburban city.

Plano Festival

 

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February 2014

West Seventh Urban Village

West Seventh Urban Village Fort WorthThe West Seventh Urban Village is a 200-acre redevelopment district just West of downtown Fort Worth and East of the many museums found in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. The Commercial Corridors strategies, which outlines specific strategies and short and long-range opportunities for reinvestment, have been implemented through the City’s Urban Village Program, which ultimately assisted the West Seventh Urban Village in exceeding redevelopment performance expectations. Within ten years, property values in the village have more than quadrupled; sales tax revenues have greatly increased; over 1,300 new housing units have been built; and over one million square feet of retail/office development has occurred.

The Urban Village Program applies mixed-use zoning in designated urban villages to incentivize higher density, walkable communities with urban design standards meant to foster desired building forms. In addition, economic incentives help close funding gaps and bring central city redevelopment costs more in line with greenfield costs. Targeted capital improvements within the villages help update aging infrastructure and retrofit roadways for multiple users.

Norwood St Fort WorthWest Seventh Urban Village includes four major mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented developments completed since 2005 as well as several developments currently under construction. Two of the developments, Montgomery Plaza (Kimco Development) and Museum Place (Jagee Properties), are previous individual CLIDE award winners for redevelopment, and their performance is impressive. Each development contributes living, dining, entertainment, and shopping experiences for its visitors and residents.

Infill development has played a key role in completing the village. New businesses have located in vacant or underutilized buildings previously occupied by warehouses, auto repair facilities and other light industrial uses. Today, the City of Fort Worth continues to work with the Cultural District Alliance (CDA) and many development partners to maintain success and promote quality future development. CDA is in the process of creating a form-based code to address the remaining developable land and ensure that appropriate transitions are made between intense core development and the surrounding single-family neighborhoods and the nearby Trinity Uptown District.

Montgomery Plaza Fort Worth

 

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January 2014

Cottonwood Trail

Cottonwood TrailDallas County is working to provide 35 miles of contiguous trail system from the northern tip of the County, through downtown Dallas, to Fair Park and the Trinity River Corridor. Serving as a vital link between the Preston Ridge Tail north of I-635 and White Rock Creek, Katy and Santa Fe Trails to the south, the Cottonwood Trail allows residents to freely travel by trail from Plano to Downtown Dallas, a distance of nearly 20 miles. The Cottonwood Trail is a 4 mile multi-use trail that promotes walking, running, cycling, rollerblading, and more. As a critical link in the city and regional trail system, the Cottonwood Trail provides a multi-modal route through the heavily traveled and previously impenetrable by foot, U.S. 75/I-635 corridor. The Cottonwood Trail provides direct access to 2 DART stations and major employers such as Texas Instruments. Other important connections include Medical City, Hamilton Park, multiple residential areas, schools, retail and commercial areas.

Vitruvian Park RenderingThe Cottonwood Trail project is unique for a several reasons. TxDOT laid the foundation for this trail when they constructed the initial piece of the Cottonwood Trail beneath the High Five overpasses as a part of the High Five project which was completed in 2005. At that time Texas Instruments, NCTCOG, TxDOT and Huitt Zollars (a national engineering consultant) were all committed, but it wasn’t until Dallas County stepped up to take that lead and provide $3.2 million along with a grant of 1.8 million secured from State funds and the promise of “pro-bono” design from Huitt Zolars that the project was able to take off. Although a public project, the partners involved in completing this project included several private participants. The project is the first example for Dallas County of a truly multi-jurisdictional transportation project with many other symbolic “firsts.”  Had it not been for the flexibility and willingness to try new things by the agencies involved, this project would have never been possible, not to mention, unprecedented commitment from the community, politicians and staff members of this multi-agency project.

Cottonwood Trail Ribbon CuttingRiding Cottonwood Trail

 

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December 2013

Duncanville Main Street Revitalization Projects

The Duncanville Main Street Revitalization Project began in 2000 when Options Real Estate began purchasing and rehabilitating older buildings in the downtown area. The focus was to redevelop properties on and near the downtown area to encourage a more walkable and bike friendly commercial corridor that would be the center of activity in the community. Today, this revitalized center of Duncanville is now ready for the extension of the urban rail system which will ultimately connect Duncanville to Dallas. The end result will be a downtown core that is both vibrant and economically sustainable.

 

Duncanville Main Street

After the creation of the original master plan and form-based code, the Main Street Committee (city and citizens), the consulting team (developers and partners) and the business owners held a series of meetings to create a vision for the development that would encouraged connectedness and community. These meetings were followed by a formal charette to document the ultimate positive solution for the city, the community and the business owners. From this charrette came The Form-Based Zoning and Infrastructure Plan which was used by the City of Duncanville to receive two NCTCOG Sustainable Development Grants to build the streetscape along the Main Street corridor. In addition, this plan has set the stage for the continued capital investment in vertical infrastructure of Main Street.

In 2002 Main Station, a 22,000 square foot mixed use development was created to serve as the catalyst of the new downtown. This corridor was re-zoned to a Form-Based Code which included a complete redesign of Main Street infrastructure. The new form-based zoning and initial four blocks of the reconstructed Main Street has created new infill and small businesses. Occupancy rates have improved dramatically and leasing prices per square feet continue to increase. Additional foot traffic and leasing of vacant properties has created a neighborhood feel for both the owners and the shoppers. Sales taxes continue to increase annually along with property valuations.

The Main Street Corridor will eventually become an actual Main Street populated with successful businesses and citizens able to work or cycle to City Hall or the Public Library and who will be able to walk to the train for a trip to Dallas. The infrastructure has been completed for a twelve square block area and eleven new and/or repurposed structures have been built.

Duncanville Main Street Concept

 

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November 2013

McKinney Avenue Downtown Trolley Circulator & Olive Street Extension

McKinney Avenue Trolley ConductorIn the spring of 2012, the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority entered into a Public/Private partnership with the City of Dallas and Dallas Area Rapid Transit and began construction on an extension to the existing trolley line in Downtown Dallas that would place trackage on Olive Street, all the way to Federal Street. Work on this project began in April of 2012 and project completion is slated for September 2013.

The Trolley Circulator will provide high capacity transportation of visitors to the project area and help to address the problem of very limited parking. Additionally, the trolley will provide alternative transportation and help to decrease the number and necessity for short distance automobile trips within the project area thus reducing traffic congestion and the producton of NOS emissions. Frequently scheduled trolleys will provide an efficient, environmentally friendly, fun means of circulating within a high density activity area. The trolley lines will now connect pedestrians to The Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Garden, the Crowe Museum of Asain Art, the Winspear Opera House, Myerson Symphony Hall, Klyde Warren Deck Park, the Margot Perot Museum of Science and Nature, the Bishop Lynch School for the Performing Arts, the Dallas Theatre Center, and numerous businesses and hotels along the route. The trolley lines will also connect to DART rail stations.

Trolley - RosieGreen Dragon Trolley

Trolley ridership has steadily increased since 2004, to nearly 350,000 yearly riders. It is expected that residents and visitors to the area will opt to utilize the free trolley for transportation as their primary transportation around downtown Dallas. MATA will be adding three additional trolley cars to its four car fleet. One trolley, built in 1909 has been in continual service for over 100 years. All the trolleys that will be in operation are restored vintage trolleys from different time periods and different locations around the world and all provide zero emission transportation.

Cityplace Trolley Turntable

 

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October 2013

Terrell Carnegie Library Master Plan

Terrell Carnegie LibraryThe Terrell Carnegie Library cornerstone was laid on September 29, 1903 and was dedicated on March 15, 1904. Andrew Carnegie, the prominent steel industry magnate, endowed the Carnegie Foundation which granted funds for the building of hundreds of libraries throughout the world and United States between 1890 and 1961. Thirty-two Carnegie libraries were built in Texas, Terrell being the twelfth, and is only one of thirteen remaining in the state. The Original deed stipulated continuous library use or the city would forfeit ownership. This year marks the 109th anniversary of library and museum use. The Terrell Carnegie Library is a designated landmark in the National Register of Historic Places, the Texas State Archeological Landmark (SAL) and Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.

The Terrell Carnegie Library Master Plan was initiated as part of the FY 2011 Hotel Occupancy Tax Funding intended to determine priorities and costs for preserving the historic building and enhancing the use of the structure. The plan evaluates the current state of the structure and systems, the space usage, functional considerations, and archival storage. It identifies work scopes for restoration and repair in accordance the the Texas Historical Commission, and sets priorites for rehabilitation of the building with budgets to guide annual investment. The Plan also provides for ongoing cyclical inspection and maintenance.

This cultural and architectural landmark is a valued treasure not only for the City of Terrell, but for the entire region.

Terrell Carnegie Museum

 

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September 2013

McKinney Town Center Study Initiative

McKinney Town CenterMcKinney’s historic Town Center is blessed with and well-positioned to leverage its location, physical assets, history (160+ years), character, community pride, vibrant businesses, cultural arts, and diverse demographic composition.  However, like many city centers, the challenge facing McKinney’s Town Center is learning how to create a renewed emphasis on its authentic form and character while still embracing growth and planning for the future.  As a proactive step towards this end, the City of McKinney launched the Town Center Study Initiative in 2006.

The vision is to have the Town Center anchored by two thriving urban villages (the historic downtown core on the west side of State Highway 5 and the transit-oriented village on the east side of State Highway 5) surrounded by stable and preserved single-family residential neighborhoods. These two villages will be compact, walkable, and diverse urbanized places that will have a concentration of jobs, housing, commercial uses, public spaces, public transportation, and pedestrian activity. To create a healthy synergy between the two villages, the State Highway 5 corridor will embrace and unite, rather than divide. Different but compatible land uses will be mixed horizontally or vertically. Buildings for infill development will relate to their associated street types in terms of size, scale, mass, orientation, and frontage. A variety of urban residential infill buildings with minimal setbacks from the street will help to achieve a density necessary to support transit and local commercial activity.

Pedestrian Oriented McKinney Town Center

McKinney’s historic Town Center is poised to fill a market niche for people who want an urban lifestyle but with a small town feel. As the vision is fulfilled, the Town Center will prove to be an appealing alternative to generic suburban subdivisions, strip shopping centers, and congested auto-oriented roads, offering many of the positives of a big city lifestyle without many of the negatives typically associated with a big city.

Over the last 4 years, City Staff has made over 50 presentations to a diverse array of stakeholder groups (downtown business owners, private developers, property owners, neighborhood associations, residents, etc.). The continued engagement and participation of stakeholders in reviewing proposed public improvements, development standards, and other implementation tools cements the necessary buy-in from the private and public sector for making the Town Center vision a reality. Success is also evident in the way that these implementation actions have helped to catalyze a renaissance seen in the core of McKinney’s historic Town Center and have re-established the core as the heart and soul of the community for citizens and visitors alike. Economic development and redevelopment activity has greatly increased as a result. In addition to helping to weather the recent economic recession, these implementation actions have collectively increased activity after 5pm, increased sales per square foot, increase demand for downtown housing, and an increased sense of community pride.

McKinney Town Center after dark

 

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August 2013

Bexar Street Redevelopment

Bexar Street Clock TowerIn 2004 under the Neighborhood Investment Program (NIP), the City of Dallas, in partnership with the Bexar Street community, developed a comprehensive master plan for the Bexar Street neighborhood and soon began acquiring dilapidated commercial and residential properties for redevelopment. This plan represents the shared long-term vision of residents and neighborhood stakeholders and was conceived over a series of meetings and planning/design workshops.

The redevelopment of the Bexar Street neighborhood embodies a holistic community development approach. Infill development, code enforcement, housing and infrastructure improvements within the residential neighborhoods abutting the Bexar Street mixed-use corridor are underway to maximize the impact of targeting public resources and stem the process of neighborhood decline. At the same time, efforts are underway to create an employment and vocational training complex within the Bexar Phase II development to provide employment skills and job readiness training for area residents.

Bexar Street

The city’s master plan for this area calls for 30,000 square feet of mixed-use office retail space, a police satellite station, new rental apartments, and for sale townhomes. Public infrastructure improvements, green spaces, targeted code enforcement, and infill housing development on 100+ land bank lots are also planned or underway. To date, new street and streetscape improvements and the first phase of townhomes have been completed. It is estimated that development of the vacant land bank lots will return approximately $9.2M to the tax rolls, while the redevelopment of Bexar Street, as master planned, will increase sevenfold the city’s initial land investment of $1.09 M, returning approximately $6.6 in new taxable value to the city tax rolls.

The redevelopment of Bexar Street will serve as prototype for other redevelopment initiatives within the city of Dallas. In fact, the city has already committed public improvement and land acquisition funding to replicate this process within one other Neighborhood Investment Program target area located close to Bexar. It is the city’s hope that this innovative and strategic approach will help stabilize declining neighborhoods and bring greater choice and options to the southern sector to help stem the north / south divide.

Bexar Street Mixed UseBexar Street Dedication

 

Desoto Town Center

DeSoto Town CenterThe Desoto Towncenter redevelopment was a public/private collaborative project which embraced SmartGrowth & New Urbanism concepts with a mix of retail and residential units tied to the existing City of Desoto Municipal complex. The design and planning concepts provided for the daytime customer traffic for retail/commercial establishments, along with the municipal traffic for the library, City Hall, and recreation center, as well as evening activity/traffic of residents (and hopefully returning home to patronize shops and restaurants in the development).

The Town Center project was the city of Desoto's catalyst project toward the goal of revitalizing the Hampton Road Corridor. The Towncenter Redevelopment project was developed around the existing City municipal complex in Desoto and a public/private partnership with the city TCC High Street Development LLC (Developer) and JHP (architects/planners) sharing a vision for a new Center/Place for the city of Desoto as this new town center.

The vision became a reality with completion in April 2009 and includes more than 35,000 sf of retail and office space, 135 one and two bedroom residential units and a "Shared" structured parking garage for the residents, retail, office, recreational and City municipal users. Being one of the first of its kind in southern Dallas county, this development was designed with to reflect the trends/principles of new urbanism and Smart Growth combining retail, office and residential units with Desoto's existing municipal complex.

DeSoto Town Center is a grey-field redevelopment located in a 2nd-tier suburb of Dallas - Desoto. An underutilized "typical" strip-retail center on the northeast corner of Hampton Road and Pleasant Run Road was earlier converted into the City of Desoto's Civic Center including City Hall, library, community center, and recreation center. The existing retail parking lot was later identified in economic redevelopment studies to be a prime mixed-use redevelopment Opportunity/site to include structured parking, walk-up retail, office, and rental housing offering the city a 24/7 towncenter presence while upgrading the civic experience of the City's residents.

DeSoto Town CenterDeSoto Town Center

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October 2012

Trinity River Vision Neighborhood Plan

Trinity River Vision areaThe latest census shows that Fort Worth’s population has grown by over 38% in the last decade. If this is any indication for our future growth, then as regional planners we must provide quality of life for our citizens to ensure a sustainable future for our city. The Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) recognized this need and became the lead agency in developing the Trinity River Vision (TRV) Neighborhood and Recreational Enhancement Plan (NREP) which is a 10-year implementation plan for 90 community- requested capital improvement projects within the Trinity River greenbelt. It puts the Trinity River Vision Master Plan into action by identifying, prioritizing and scheduling these projects on a year-by-year basis.

The goal of the program is to connect every neighborhood in the city to the Trinity River corridor with new and improved recreational amenities, environmental enhancements and event programming. This plan greatly increases river access and when complete, partners will have delivered over 35 miles of new hike and bike trails and over 3,000 acres of dedicated open space to the community. The projects vary from new Class I trailheads, neighborhood connectivity linkages, trail extensions, wayfinding signage, upgrades of current trailheads to new boat launches, park amenities and pavilion areas.

The TRWD worked collaboratively with other TRV partners including the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and Streams and Valleys, Inc. in developing the plan. The partnership between agencies allows for the plan to happen by leveraging multiple partners resources to fund and construct more than just one single agency could do on their own. This partnership continues to be a model for working together to deliver community projects in cross jurisdictional areas. The boards of all of the partnering entities formally adopted the implementation plan.

Community input was critical in developing the plan. A collaborative team consisting of program managers from each partner and consultants gathered input, ideas and priorities from the citizens of Fort Worth. Seven public meetings were held at neighborhood locations near each river segment. The community could also provide input through questionnaires, email and the TRV website. All of the projects and suggestions were then prioritized by the partners based on construction feasibility, level of community interest, and funding availability. The team returned to the community with three additional public meetings for further public comment and an update of the new plan.

Over 90 major ideas and capital improvement projects suggested by the public during all these city-wide public meetings make up this plan. The projects are divided up based on the segment of river (West Fork, Clear Fork, Marine Creek, and Sycamore Creek). Construction of the first projects began in 2010. All 90 projects are expected to be complete by 2011. The first projects along Marine Creek, Sycamore Creek, West and Clear Fork have either been complete or are currently under construction. An interactive website (www.trvexperience.com) where citizens can find out what projects are happening in their neighborhood was launched along with a river program calendar.

Trinity River Vision

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September 2012

The Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center In Dallas

Texas AgriLife Urban GardensThe Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas has transformed its extension education and research programs to better serve the rapidly urbanizing population of North Texas. The Urban Solutions Center, with its private and public partners, will build a 1.1 million square foot, multi-use, low-impact, transit oriented development and a LEED Platinum model home and education center which will help raise public awareness about environmental stewardship and resource efficient development for North Texas.

Texas AgriLife

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August 2012

The Denton Downtown Implementation Plan (DTIP)

Denton Downtown Implementation PlanDowntown Denton is the cultural, social, and historic center for the City of Denton, the heart of the community. The purpose of this Downtown Implementation Plan (DTIP) is to achieve the set of physical plans; while providing the implementation strategy to coordinate public and private investments; while increasing economic development downtown. The DTIP defines specific action items to be initiated by the City to implement the recommendations, and it establishes strategies for when and how these action items should be implemented. The recommendation is divided into two primary groups with a phased implementation strategy to address the physical development and ensure that adequate infrastructure exists to support development as it occurs. This helps to organize and detail the specifics.

The groups and some subsets are noted below:
Land Based Recommendations - Land Use (Form Based Code) Mixed Use Development Pattern Building Form (tri-partite architecture) - Parks and Open Space Music/Arts Venues Quakertown Park Concept Plan - Architectural Design Contributing Architecture Elements Sustainable - LEED Certified Transit Oriented Development Infrastructure Based Recommendations - Street and Linkages Street Typologies Complete Streets - Bicycle Mobility 100% Bicycle Mobility Shared Lanes Dedicated Bike Lanes - Automobile Parking On-Street Shared Parking Public Parking Lots - Solid Waste

Downtown Denton Rendering

The DTIP covers the approximately 155-acre “Downtown Core” area and was carefully coordinated with city staff. It was prepared with extensive community engagement so that the document reflects the values and preferences of the public. The implementation strategy is designed to give Denton the roadmap to realize this study’s recommendations for downtown. It shows the relationship of the DTIP and its important FBC implementation tool to downtown’s master plan concept; it establishes a suitable organizational structure to implement the DTIP; it identifies and evaluates potential funding mechanisms and development incentives; and it details a prioritized step-by-step implementation strategy, presented in a user-friendly matrix format with case studies.

This strategy builds a framework for strategic investment and provides short, medium and long-term action items that City decision-makers can execute in a tactical way.

DIP Public Involvement

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July 2012

Grand Prairie Downtown / Main St Redevelopment Plan

Denton Downtown Implementation PlanIn the last five years the City of Grand Prairie has started making steps to redevelop its downtown areas with the purpose of preserving historic structures while creating a pedestrian friendly, quality place that focuses on entertainment and community. Phase I of the downtown revitalization project began in 2005 with the purchase of the Uptown Theater, a 1950's era entertainment venue that hosted first-run movies and live performances. The objective of this project was to restore a cultural building block in the heart of Grand Prairie's downtown center to host civic and cultural events and foster a better sense of community. The preservation of this significant historic structure was completed in 2008 and ushered in Phase II of the city's objective.

To begin Phase II, the Grand Prairie City Council commissioned a branding survey to understand the city's position in the marketplace. The survey revealed a desire from citizens and the business community for a revitalized town center that would bring neighborhoods together and compliment the newly constructed Uptown. In keeping with the identified goals of its citizens and local businesses the city began three separate endeavors to achieve this vision.

The first, Market Square, was a one-half acre park and open air farmers' market set along the historic Highway 180 running through Grand Prairie's downtown center. The architecture for this project is reminiscent of a modern red barn with a corrugated tin roof that evokes ties with the city's history as well as its future. The included "pot belly" water tower situated at the corner along Main Street is redolent of a similar tower that stood on the same spot in the early 1900's, and helps create a unique historical presence in conjunction with the Uptown.

DIP Public Involvement

The second undertaking in Phase II was to create a public-private partnership with local businesses to support the completed projects, natural assets and redevelopment plans for this corridor. To achieve this goal the Economic Development Department created incentives for downtown improvements that have and will continue to help enhance and promote the unique character and identity of the downtown area. The Main Street Façade Improvement Program offers grants and no interest-rate loans to assist property owners in improving their building's street frontage in order to develop a more coherent, creative and attractive appearance.In addition to grants and loans, the city has supported this effort through code, ordinance assistance, and improved design guidelines. The new guidelines provide detailed requirements for the renovation of existing buildings and for the creation of new developments.

The third objective in Phase II was aimed at improving the existing infrastructure. The Sidewalk Improvement Program and New Uptown/Downtown Parking Plan were both aimed at providing citizens more access to the town's center. The Sidewalk Improvement Plan is a State and Local partnership between Grand Prairie and TXDot aimed at creating a more pedestrian friendly design and to promote reinvestment and redevelopment in the downtown areas.

Through the vision of the City Council and its Citizens and through various private/local and state/local partnerships the City of Grand Prairie's various city departments have started to transition the dated and declining urban area into a new community focused town and activity center.

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June 2012

The Citizen's Guide to Stormwater Pollution Prevention, Arlington

Citizens Guide to Stormwater Pollution PreventionEvery year, thousands of gallons of water flow into the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) and most people do not think about how this water is collected or where it goes. Thus, a special, on-going, community-wide public awareness project was created: The Citizen’s Guide to Stormwater Pollution Prevention (The Guide).

The Guide was created specifically to increase residents’ understanding of non point source pollution (stormwater pollution) as it relates to water quality. In 2004, the City of Arlington surveyed residents on their attitudes and behaviors toward non-point source pollution. Of the 400 adults surveyed (ages 18 and older), only 26% of respondents could correctly identify that water traveling through storm drains go to local water sources and not to wastewater treatment plants (14%), or other areas (23%). Thirty-seven percent of respondents had “no idea” about the water’s destination.

More recently, between July and October 2009, adults present at education and outreach workshops were given pre-presentation surveys to gauge knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors toward non point source pollution in the City of Arlington. Respondents were asked to answer “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know” to several basic environmental questions/statements concerning non point source pollution (stormwater). Of the sixty-six surveys returned, most surprisingly, when asked to respond to the following statement: “I live in a watershed,” almost half (47%) responded either “no” (32%) or “I don’t know” (15%).

Don't Feed the Storm DrainThe Guide lays the foundation for a common understanding about stormwater by raising awareness about the causes and consequences associated with water pollution and outlining specific behaviors that help combat water pollution problems. It helps to foster an appreciation of the environment and the value of our natural resources. Simply, it serves as a “one-stop” source for answers regarding stormwater issues. This comprehensive guide provides citizens of Arlington with information and step by step instructions on simple things they can do to improve and manage stormwater on their property and the larger community.

This guide not only aids us in protecting our invaluable water sources, but also helps green the city, improves quality of life for all residents, and encourages environmental sustainability. Local residents, civic organizations, and homeowner associations can now, with the help of the Guide, manage stormwater in a way that will protect our valuable water resources. Since we all play a part in creating water pollution, we all must therefore play a part in actively converting our streams, creeks, lakes, and rivers into healthy systems that local residents, along with native fish and wildlife, can use as amenities, sanctuaries, and habitats. The Guide helps us achieve this goal.

 

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May 2012

Near Southside Development Standards and Guidelines, Fort Worth

Near Southside Fort WorthThe Near Southside is an approximately 1,400-acre area located just south of Downtown and is Fort Worth’s second largest employment center. The area was originally developed in the early 20th century and quickly became a vibrant mixed-use district. Development trends over the last 50 years eroded that character, and by the early 1990’s the area was blighted. At that point the district’s five major hospitals halted further investment in their facilities and were considering new locations unless conditions improved.

Fort Worth South, Inc. (FWSI) has worked since 1996 with the City to promote the area’s revitalization. FWSI promotes infill development that builds on the district’s urban character, which FWSI views as a competitive advantage. FWSI has focused on updating development standards and implementing public improvement projects that, together, will create an inviting and vibrant district. Educational outreach about urban design principles created an environment for consensus when the initiative to establish a form-based development code began in summer 2006. In addition, the Comprehensive Plan established a policy framework by designating the area as a “mixed-use growth center” and by including policies related to the application of urban design standards within growth centers. A similar form-based code had already been established for the Trinity Uptown area in 2006.

FWSI worked closely with City staff and City Council members to achieve consensus on the effort’s merits and outline an appropriate strategy. The goal would be to create a new Near Southside zoning district and a regulatory document containing both development standards (required for all projects) and guidelines (encouraged but not required). A flexible review process would combine administrative review and approval by City staff (for clearly conforming projects) and discretionary review by a City Council-appointed body (for non-conforming or exceptional projects). The rezoning application would be City Council-initiated, and FWSI committed to achieving broad community consensus on the effort beforehand.

Near Southside Fort Worth

The rezoning required a tailored approach. Development conditions range from single-family houses and small apartment buildings to large institutional and industrial campuses. The development zone classification system is based on Transect Zones T4 and T5. There are two types of sub-categories intended to respond to two of the goals: “N” Neighborhood Zones, within which no single-use, non-residential buildings are allowed; and “I” zones, which are intended to allow greater flexibility taller buildings in areas dominated by hospital campuses and industrial uses. The height bonuses in the non-“I” zones are intended to promote a mix of uses within buildings as well as the development of new public spaces.

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April 2012

Vitruvian Park, Addison

Vitruvian Park Construction in AddisonVitruvian Park is a 117-acre mixed-use redevelopment project in the Town of Addison located between Spring Valley Road on the North, Marsh Lane on the West, Brookhaven Community College on the south and the Town limit on the east. The area was developed in the late 1960s with nine multi-family communities and a neighborhood shopping center. It is one of the most scenic areas in Addison with large trees and a creek that bisects the neighborhood. In 2006, UDR, a multi-family Real Estate Investment Trust, purchased one property in the area with the intention of tearing it down and redeveloping it at a higher density. As UDR got deeper into the project, it realized that to truly re-invent the neighborhood, it needed to buy more than one property. UDR eventually purchased all nine of the existing complexes in the area, totaling over 3,200 units. UDR then worked with the Town of Addison to create Vitruvian Park, a new urban neighborhood that provides a live-work-play community of more than 5,000 residential units, up to 500,000 square feet of office space, and up to 150,000 square feet of retail space.

UDR also purchased the Greenhaven Village Shopping Center, which it plans to redevelop and re-orient to connect into Vitruvian Park. The center already includes a full-size grocery store - an amenity that is difficult to develop in new-urban communities. The shopping center’s location, at the corner of Marsh Lane and Spring Valley, allows it to retain its auto-oriented business while extending into the neighborhood to create a new destination and add a “third place” for residents and employees of Vitruvian Park.

Vitruvian Park is a public-private partnership between UDR and the Town of Addison. UDR will develop (or cause to be developed) all of the multi-family units, office, and retail uses, and Addison is providing 40 million dollars in public infrastructure by constructing parks, streets, and utilities. Vitruvian Park offers a mix of uses including residential, office, retail and restaurants, all oriented around the recreational opportunities along both sides of the spring-fed Farmers Branch creek.

This neighborhood can deliver a palpable “sense of community” because people do not have to move out when their housing needs change. UDR has been careful to diversify the unit type in Vitruvian Park so that residents are provided with opportunities to move up or down to units of different sizes and with different amenities. Vitruvian Park residents are able to walk or bicycle beyond their neighborhood to Brookhaven Community College, Greenhill School, Brookhaven Country Club and Addison’s Redding Trail, which connects to three additional neighborhoods and the Athletic Club. The Farmers Branch creek corridor provides an opportunity to preserve flood plain and create a major park and open space amenity with trails, fountains, an amphitheatre, and plazas that connect to Brookhaven Community College and to the Town’s trail system and Athletic Center. Vitruvian Park is a major amenity not only for its residents, but for residents of the surrounding neighborhoods in Addison, Dallas, and Farmers Branch.

Vitruvian Park Rendering

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March 2012

Dallas City Design Studio

Dallas City DesignThe Dallas CityDesign Studio is an in-house urban design studio at Dallas City Hall founded in partnership with the Trinity Trust Foundation.The Studio’s mission is to elevate the role of urban design in both public and private development. As its first major initiative, the CityDesign Studio engaged in a community-based planning effort for the area near the western foot of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. The planning area is .747 square mile with a population slightly over 2,000 people. Despite close proximity to downtown, historic lack of investment and disconnection from the rest of our city have created challenges for the are since settlement. It is burdened by negative perceptions due to vacant parcels, empty buildings and limited commercial and retail activity. However, the area provides hundreds of jobs and it is home to a vibrant Mexican American neighborhood that comprises the residential core.

With the completion of an iconic bridge scheduled to open in October 2011, the area’s proximity to the Trinity River Corridor Project, and large-scale land acquisition by private development interests underway, it was clear that change to this area was inevitable. The City of Dallas saw this as an enormous opportunity to challenge some of its traditional planning and development models, and work with a community to define a new way of redeveloping our city.

Urban Structure and Guidelines [the Structure] was crafted through a year and a half collaborative dialogue with the community. Developed by the ideas and input from approximately 40 community meetings, it represents a shifting perspective, not only in the process and focus of the planning efforts, but also in the type of development envisioned. Design bridges differing interests and plays a critical role in developing the fundamental objectives of the Structure: conservation and revitalization of an existing single-family neighborhood; incremental and adaptive re-use in vacant or underutilized buildings; and comprehensive re-development to support a livable and sustainable community.

The Structure provides a conceptual rendering of future development and indicates phasing of growth. Illustrations carefully guide development proposals and the prioritization of public realm improvements. As potential projects come forward, the City of Dallas will use this Structure to determine the project’s support of the long-term vision. At that time, zoning changes can occur. Proposals consistent with this Structure will be expedited. Inconsistent development proposals will be reviewed further to determine their contribution toward achieving the vision. This approach strives to strike a balance between the flexibility needed to adapt to market conditions and the predictability necessary to create stability in the marketplace.

Adopted by Dallas City Council in March 2011, the Structure is an alternative to traditional local planning tools , allowing for organic revitalization and urbanization while offering a clear public vision for change in the area. It advances the goals of the city’s comprehensive plan, forwardDallas!, while expanding on the Urban Design elements.

Dallas City Design

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February 2012

The Better Block Project in Dallas

Better Block DallasThe "Better Block" project is a demonstration tool that acts as a living charrette by actively engaging communities in the "complete streets" build out process while providing feedback in real time. In April of 2010, BetterBlock.org organized the first “Better Block” project, where they identified a blighted block in Dallas, Texas, and revisioned it into an active, viable destination. "Better Blocks" accomplishes this by focusing on increasing an area’s perception of safety, stimulating economic activity in blighted or vacant corridors, while implementing "Complete Streets". The project took place over two days, involved multiple businesses, residents, and non-profit organizations, and lead to a complete new model for cities to utilize when looking to revive neighborhoods and communities.

The benefits gained from the Better Block Project included a heightened perception of safety, increased economic development, enabling of multi-modal transportation options, and an improved quality of life for the community. A block that was once gray and cut-off was reactivated by filling storefronts that had sat vacant for years with businesses and seating residents outdoors to enjoy the space, all of which has now motivated the city to change its existing ordinances to allow for more Better Block projects to help other blighted areas.

Better Block Dallas

The “Better Block” project exemplifies many of the Principles of Development Excellence. It promotes Efficient Growth by emphasizing redevelopment of blighted or vacant corridors and promoting reinvestment opportunities in neglected urban village centers. It is a huge proponent of Efficient Mobility Options as seen in its emphasis on “Complete Streets” as part of its model. It seeks to minimize the emphasis of a block or corridor on automobile use while providing the safest environment possible for pedestrians and bicyclists to commute to neighborhood activity centers and other nearby amenities.

The Better Block Project promotes the Principle of Quality Places by helping to strengthen the identities of the region’s diverse communities through preservation of significant historic structures and natural assets, creation of new landmarks and gathering spaces, use of compatible architectural and landscape design, and support for the activities and institutions that make each community unique.

The ultimate goal of Better Block is to create historic yet modern neighborhood centers throughout the region that include a range of retail, transportation, and housing options. This will be complimented by a pedestrian friendly environment that may include future alternate transportation modes in the form of street level rail (streetcars). The renewed infrastructure and ‘neighborhood feel’ will continue to attract new and interested parties as residents of the region experience pedestrian oriented streets and sidewalks that provide unlimited possibilities and access.

Currently there are several Better Block projects underway around the country with many more in the early planning stages.  Examples of successfully completed projects in the North Central Texas region are Tyler Street, Deep Ellum and Oak Cliff neighborhoods in Dallas, as well as downtown Fort Worth. For more information, please visit the BetterBlock.org website.

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Better Block Dallas

 

January 2012

The Bush Turnpike TOD District

Bush Turnpike TODOver the past decade, the City of Richardson has been working to attract a high quality, transit-oriented development in and around the Bush Turnpike Station area. The City commissioned several studies, one of which was performed by the Urban Land Institute, which revealed that the City would benefit greatly if it could attract a project at that location that would leverage the use of current and future DART rail lines to create a regional destination in the community. In their effort to better accommodate this type of development for this area, the City Council approved a zone change in February 2011 that will allow transit oriented development for the 140 acres of land adjacent to the DART Red Line Bush Turnpike Station in northern Richardson. The location of this future TOD development, with its proximity to the DART station makes it an ideal site for high intensity development with a mix of commercial and residential uses along the Cotton Belt Corridor Line that connects Fort Worth, DFW Airport and the University of Texas at Dallas.

The properties are owned by two partnerships that approached the City in early 2010 to discuss the possible rezoning which would accommodate future development of a transit-oriented, mixed-use retail, office and residential project. These partnerships coordinated their applications to create complementary sustainable regulations. In order to ensure such a development, the property owners requested to rezone the land to Planned Development Districts governed by Form‐Based Codes. The adopted codes provide strict guidance that the City will use to regulate high‐quality development and responsible traffic management. In exchange, the owners of the property would be allowed to mix commercial and residential uses on the same property, increasing its overall appeal to potential mixed‐use developers. The zoning requires a much higher quality of construction than standard zoning, with the buildings facing pedestrian‐friendly streets that require wide sidewalks, landscaping and amenities.

Bush Turnpike TOD

The Bush Turnpike TOD District exemplifies many of the Principles of Development Excellence by allowing development intensity ranges from two-story residential townhomes to 300 foot high-rise buildings near the rail station. Reduced building setbacks create a pedestrian-oriented streetscape, while amenities between the building and street will include wide sidewalks and amenity zones will incorporate street trees, seating, and lighting. The creek and floodways within the District will be preserved and utilized for storm water management and as open space for added benefit to the residents and visitors of the District. The District will have multiple open spaces ranging from squares to parks as well as many trails that will connect with the City’s master trail system providing citizens with ample opportunities for healthy outdoor activities.

The District’s comprehensive master plan and central location to multiple major transportation facilities—US75, the President George Bush Turnpike, and the Bush Turnpike rail transit station, which will allow it to be built at a higher intensity than would be possible otherwise, will give the City of Richardson and the surrounding communities a vibrant live/work/shop/play destination.

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December 2011

Lebow Channel Watershed Improvements Program

Lebow Channel Watershed ImprovementsSince the 1940’s when development began in Fort Worth’s neighborhoods located in the Lebow Watershed, significant safety and flooding problems have existed in the area. Homes and light-industrial development were constructed adjacent to the channel and within the floodplain, contributing to overall degradation of the channel and a widening of the floodplain of up to 1,000 feet. Over 280 homes are subject to periodic flooding, several roadway crossings are subject to frequent flooding, and five people have drowned along the channel in recent years. Attempts have been made in the 1980’s and 1990’s to address these problems through the use of conventional improvement methods of conveyance, such as channelization, all proving unsuccessful.

The City of Fort Worth – Storm Water Management Division has developed the Lebow Watershed Improvements Plan to address the area’s safety and flooding problems. Instead of using conventional conveyance methods, the current Plan which was adopted in 2006 focuses on removal of structures from the floodplain, reduction of the spread of the flood plain in densely populated areas, restoration of natural stream conditions, elimination of low-water crossings, and construction of detention basins. In addition, the plan includes the creation of a linear park and trail system, public art improvements, and storm water quality enhancements.

Lebow Channel Watershed Improvements

The Plan, developed in partnership with numerous federal, state, regional and local agencies, seeks to restore 10,000 linear feet to natural stream conditions, construct 8,000 linear feet of channel improvements in order to remove 250 structures from the flood plain and provide hike and bike trails. The proposed project will create a linear park along the Lebow Channel corridor through low- to moderate-income, and ethnically-diverse, neighborhoods. The inclusion of a hike-and-bike trail along the channel will provide pedestrian connections between residential neighborhoods, parks, schools and other public facilities. The pedestrian trail system will also connect to the Trinity River Trail System and the associated Central City redevelopment project.

Several improvements, including elimination of the dangerous low-water crossings and construction of the first major bridge, have been completed, and the City has acquired over 110 parcels. Design plans have been prepared and the design of two additional major roadway crossings and the detention facilities are underway. The City has held meetings with the regulatory agencies responsible for issuing the necessary Section 404 permits. The project, because of its size and cost of nearly $30 million, will be constructed in phases and is estimated to be completed by 2020.

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November 2011

The Plano Environmental Education Center

Plano Environmental Education CenterWhen visiting the Plano Environmental Education Center, visitors may forget they are in a city home to fifteen Fortune 500 companies! Situated on three acres containing an open field, woodlot and waterway, the Environmental Education Center provides a natural, green experience in the heart of an urban area.

Completed in January 2011, the Environmental Education Center exemplifies environmental stewardship and community education and outreach. The Center boasts many green building features, including photovoltaic solar energy panels, a living roof, a wind turbine, solar hot water heating, and rainwater harvesting.  In addition, the Center was designed with recycled and non-toxic building materials, and aims to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-Platinum certified.

Encouraging a hands-on learning experience, the Center provides many educational opportunities for both youth and adults. From composting demonstrations and courses, and Smartscape landscape exhibits, to a worm bin and children’s gardens, the Center is unique in offering programs suitable for all ages. Games, videos, brochures, and presentations are available, and each month the Center will provide a tour that will highlight a different aspect of the building. The facility may also be rented, and the Center has incorporated a Green Policy that renters must abide by, introducing them to sustainable behaviors.

These interactive environmental activities combined with the Center’s green building techniques exemplify the “Principles of Development Excellence”. In addition, the Center promotes efficient mobility through its designated hybrid vehicle parking and close proximity to a DART Park & Ride station. The Center also provides a bicycle rack and showers are available.

Plano Environmental Education CenterThe Center possesses a Live Green volunteer program to aid staff in promoting public outreach to the community, as well as aiding in installation of new sustainable features. Through significant public involvement and education, the Center is successful in providing access and opportunities to continuous learning in the area, while allowing volunteers to give back to their community.

Finally, the Center aims to improve the surrounding area through modeling community beautification, and seeks to educate residents and visitors by demonstrating green building practices, organic recycling, and natural landscaping. The Center is also looking to re-establish a bird and butterfly garden, as well as design and implement creek stations and a water walk. Because of these sustainable initiatives, the Center offers an innovative atmosphere for visitors to learn about having a cost-effective live and work environment. And with over 8,000 visitors a year, the Center will continue to be a destination for all to enjoyably interact with the natural environment.

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October 2011

Vickery Meadow Improvement District: Future Redevelopment Study

Vickery Meadow Improvement DistrictFormed in 1993, the Vickery Meadow Improvement District (VMID) is a neighborhood organization that seeks to increase property values, attract quality economic development, and improve the quality of life for its residents. Just south of Interstate 635 in Dallas, the VMID prides itself in its premium location, with close proximity to healthcare facilities, retail, and downtown. The VMID also possesses two DART light rail stations, as well as several DART bus stops, three elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.

Taking initiative from the neighborhood-scaled planning component of the Forward Dallas Comprehensive Plan, the VMID was energetic to commission studies to evaluate the neighborhood, and partnered with JHP Architecture/Urban Design. The first part of the future redevelopment study was to analyze the current conditions, from land use and traffic flow, to the demographic composition of the neighborhood. Next, the VMID developed district-wide and specific neighborhood nodes urban design redevelopment concepts and recommendations. Lastly, the redevelopment study included proposals for streetscape modifications and urban design guidelines.

The future redevelopment study allowed the VMID to explore new opportunities, and build upon providing a framework for development diversity. Recommendations from the study included street connections for smaller neighborhood blocks, mixed-use centers, increased green space and enhanced pedestrian access. In addition, the VMID study emphasized a mix of housing types to meet the diverse needs of the neighborhood, while also promoting efficient mobility through utilization of DART.

Vickery Meadow Improvement District

VMID’s commitment to the community and the Principles of Development Excellence are exemplified by this future redevelopment study. The study has been a crucial tool in providing an avenue for discussion among landowners, residents, and other stakeholders.

By helping to forge a new identity for the VMID community, the future redevelopment study has been successful in producing a sense of place for its residents, and continuing the District’s mission of “providing a safe, appealing neighborhood for families, businesses, and property owners; thereby, improving the quality of life for everyone in Vickery Meadow”.

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September 2011

Roanoke Downtown Redevelopment & Oak Street Reconstruction

Downtown RoanokeRoanoke’s Downtown Redevelopment and Oak Street Reconstruction were originally envisioned in 2004, through the conception of a comprehensive downtown plan. Today, continued consensus among the public, business and community leaders has reconfirmed the existing sense of immense pride in Downtown. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007, and receiving a Texas historic landmark marker for the renovated Roanoke Visitor Center and Museum, Roanoke residents have much to be proud of. In addition, in 2009 Roanoke was named the Unique Dining Capital of Texas. So to continue the tradition of Downtown as a quality place, it was determined that improvements be made to ensure the area would remain a unique and economically beneficial asset.

These improvements were accomplished in part through implementation of an innovative form-based code, as well as through adaptable regulatory approaches. Through the code, the city was able to promote flexibility in use while prescribing the urban form of the development to promote place making. It was through this sense of place that the Downtown Redevelopment was successful in incorporating guiding principles that relate directly to the “Principles of Development Excellence”.

Larger sidewalks, landscaping, roundabouts and decorative street lights, were among the improvements made under the Oak Street Reconstruction. Through renovating the existing infrastructure in Downtown, the development was revitalized. The architectural design, building typologies and streetscape improvements of Downtown and Oak Street all contributed to making the area a pedestrian friendly environment. The Downtown area also includes a recently completed plaza area, which consists of green space and an outdoor covered stage to support the city’s Evenings on Oak Street Concert Series.

Downtown Roanoke

Through perseverance by the city council, leaders, and the community, the Downtown Redevelopment and Oak Street Reconstruction have been embraced during the seven year process.  The city was successful in redevelopment and expansion, while at the same time ensuring the preservation of the historic character of Downtown.

With a small-town charm and family friendly atmosphere, Roanoke’s Downtown continues to thrive as a vibrant and sustainable destination.

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August 2011

MidTowne - A Sustainable Community in Midlothian

Mid Towne MidlothianMidTowne is a sustainable, neo-classical community, 131 acres in size, which blends the diversified needs of its residents with guiding principles that relate directly to the “Principles of Development Excellence”. This is accomplished by having a variety of housing types for all life stages including estate homes, smaller bungalows, townhomes, flats above retail and affordable senior-living apartments. MidTowne is, at its core, a pedestrian-friendly community that is designed to encourage pedestrian movement with short block lengths, open space connections and a compact mix of residential and commercial uses. Its location promotes a connection to greater Midlothian and allows residents to interact easily with their surroundings.

All residential homes within the MidTowne development will be designed to be environmentally friendly and will be required to be EnergyStar-rated while all non-residential buildings and the elementary school site will be LEED-qualified. To achieve this standard, the builder must construct those structures to meet LEED standards concepts as set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

MidTowne has benefitted from several partnerships that have been formed during the planning stages of the project. The developer, Options Real Estate, and the City of Midlothian have partnered to restore and relocate a historic home and barn to the MidTowne development, which are now occupied by two neighborhood businesses and serve as an example of successful adaptive reuse. Options Real Estate has also partnered with the Midlothian ISD to set aside eight acres of property for a future elementary school site which will be located within walking distance of the existing middle school and high school.

Midlothian Mid Towne

In addition to its short block lengths, this pedestrian-oriented community provides wide, linear green spaces in a north-south and east-west axis, and strategically located retail and office uses that make it easy for individuals to walk freely and easily within the community. On a larger-scale, MidTowne is tied into the city’s master trail system which, when completed, will connect MidTowne to the downtown core and surrounding commercial and residential districts, as well as provide bike lanes and sidewalks that will be connected with nearby Midlothian Sports Park, Midlothian ISD Athletic Stadium and secondary education provided by Navarro College at Midlothian/Texas A&M Commerce at Midlothian.

The final layout of MidTowne will fit seamlessly with the original layout of Midlothian that is currently over 125 years old. Residents will be able to explore Midlothian’s downtown, main street district and future new town center via non-motorized travel. MidTowne is the model of a neighborhood that encourages infill development and a sustainable lifestyle.

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