Greetings Friends and Neighbors:
District 8 continues to be one of the most progressive districts in the City of Dallas. Our District has grown! Census numbers show that our district outgrew the City of Dallas. The number of residents in our district increased by 14,822 since 2000; an 18.12% increase whereas the City of Dallas as a whole gained 9,236 people. Residents are continuously moving to our District because of the strong educational infrastructure and development opportunities, plus the most open space and undeveloped land in Dallas.
Education is driving growth and development in our community and we must ensure that our children receive the best education to realize their dreams. We can achieve that goal within our district where we have numerous preparatory, elementary and high schools as well as UNT Dallas for higher education. During the last five years, over $200 million in education building permits have been awarded resulting in many new schools offering quality education in the district.
DART responded to my request to bring the two light rail stations on line as quickly as possible. Now, the service is scheduled to reach UNT Dallas in 2016, which is almost two years ahead of the original schedule with an overall investment of $200 million by DART in our district.
As the Chair of the Economic Development Committee, and Vice-Chair of the Budget, Finance & Audit Committee, I am working hard to bring more development and positive leadership to our community. The Economic Development Committee is working towards growing the business base thereby growing business taxes ultimately reducing the burden on Dallas’ tax payers. The Budget, Finance & Audit Committee functions as the watchdog over tax payers’ money ensuring efficient utilization of our tax revenues.
Progress continues on the International Inland Port of Dallas with the addition of Mile Hi Specialty Foods of Denver at Stoneridge Business Park and international cosmetics company L’Oreal’s $23 million distribution center at Ridge Industrial Park. Additionally, Methodist Health System is investing $8.5 million at its Charlton Hospital campus, $2.8 million to relocate its post-coronary intensive care unit and $16 million for an additional specialty care unit. The Methodist Health System has invested over $160 million in our district. A number of infrastructure projects in our district are being funded through $20 million, part of the 2006 capital bond program.
The Interstate 20 Gateway Park will be opening this year, and promises to be a great spot for fishing and horseback riding, and two new trails are now open along the Trinity River, providing recreational opportunities for hikers and bicyclists, just minutes from downtown Dallas. The 2012 Capital Bond Program includes $5 million for infrastructure around the UNT-Dallas campus and $3.5 million for the first phase of the Runyon Creek Trail.
In my efforts to strengthen our community, I initiated the Community Office/Mini-Town Hall Program in 2010 and took it forward. We came together to improve our neighborhoods keeping the spirit of “Shared ACTION for a Shared Future” alive. I encourage you to continue to show your support for our community by attending the ongoing and future community office events to highlight your concerns.
In spite of various challenges we face, District 8 citizens have proven their resilience by tackling them head on. Your participation and support along with the efforts of the Dallas Police Department and other city officials has resulted in crime reduction of 8% in 2012 compared to 2011. I look forward to continue working together with you to improve our neighborhoods, our community and our District.
It is an honor to represent you, and as always, I thank you for your continued support.