North Texas Daily

Denton hosts third annual State of the City Address

Denton hosts third annual State of the City Address

Denton hosts third annual State of the City Address
January 20
15:52 2019

The third annual State of the City address took place Thursday evening at the Hilton Denton Convention Center. The event was held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and featured an engagement fair about programs and happenings within the Denton community.

Denton Mayor Chris Watts made an address to the community, highlighting Denton’s growth and development, capital improvements, accomplishments the city has experienced in the last year and goals for 2019. A focal point of Watts’ address regarded public safety projects, most notably, the implementation of reflective signage, reflective striping and guardrails for Hickory Creek Road, which is expected to begin as early as next week.

The reasoning, Watts said, is to reduce tragedies following the deaths of brothers Daniel Rivera, 14, and Diego Rivera, 17, who were killed after their vehicle crashed into Hickory Creek on Jan. 10.

“The county and the city [are] working together to mitigate tragedies because nobody wants to see something like that,” Watts said of public safety projects.

Watts said that in the long-term, “Hickory Creek Road will be straightened out,” and the city is considering engineering contracts as of now. Watts said the construction project “is expected to take between 12 and 18 months to finish.”

In his address, Watts also noted that the city of Denton has grown considerably in recent years – and will continue to – over the next five to 10 years. The city, Watts said, is expecting “major” growth with an additional 60,000 expected residents coming to Denton by 2030.

To address Denton’s growth and future development, the city will begin construction on widening Bonnie Brae Street from Roselawn to Vintage, as well as McKinney Street, from a two-lane undivided road to four-lanes of divided road.

Currently, the estimated $64 million widening of Bonnie Brae Street is in Phase I, which is expected to be completed this summer. Phase II, which expands Vintage Boulevard from I-35 to US-377 from a two-lane road into a six-lane undivided roadway, is expected to be begin in late summer or fall 2019.

The Denton City Council “State of the City” address at the Denton Convention Center. Prior to the address, the city staff hosted an engagement fair to provide information on programs and events to the community. Image by Emilia Capuchino. 

Throughout the night, community members engaged with one another as information about programs within Denton County were shared with attendees.

Denton residents Bobbie Ferrell, 78, and her daughter Missey Chavez, 47, who have both lived in Denton since 1980, gathered information about community developments for home improvement and minor repairs.

“When you live alone and you have something break, who do you call?” Ferrell said. “Now we have resources [city home repairs and maintenance services].”

Other community programs featured at the State of the City included Keep Denton Beautiful, a nonprofit public-private organization partnering with the city of Denton.

Julie Anderson, program manager for Keep Denton Beautiful said their volunteer organization helps with city beautification.

“In 2018, we had 4,600 people volunteer with our organization,” Anderson said. “We pick up litter, cigarette butts at the square, operate a public garden and will be participating in the Great American Cleanup in March.”

Also in attendance were representatives from Denton Police and Fire Departments, Parks and Recreation and Animal Services, who shared information on their roles within the community.

Hickory Creek Road, which is maintained primarily by the city and Denton County, with a small portion operated by the Texas Department of Transportation, is expected to begin installing safety measures on city and county portions this coming week.

Denton County will be installing guardrails on county operated portions, while the city will install both reflective signage and striping to city portions of the road.

At the end of the evening, after Watts’ address concluded, residents in attendance were invited to ask questions in an open forum. Residents that addressed Watts spoke on the need for “more cycling infrastructure” and increasing police response times as Denton’s growth continues, while some thanked the mayor and the city for their “proactive response” to Hickory Creek Road.

Denton resident Philip Young spoke to Watts about his own experience crashing his vehicle on the same road as the Rivera brothers.

“I lost control on Hickory road and by the grace of God I was uninjured and my car wasn’t damaged,”  Young said. “Thank you for being proactive and for remedying that situation.”

Featured Image: Mayor Chris Watts’ giving his “State of the City” address. During, his address Watt’s talked about the progress the city made the past year in areas such as social programs, infrastructure and city development. Image by Emilia Capuchino. 

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Ryan Higgs

Ryan Higgs

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