Coppell – Members of the Coppell Chamber of Commerce, Coppell ISD School Board, and Coppell City Council and the public gathered virtually on Thursday, Jan. 21, to hear Mayor Karen Hunt’s present her final State of the City Address.
“I am very proud of the 2030 plan,” Mayor Hunt said. “That bookends what has happened during my time here. I started running, because I was involved in the process of the 2030 plan. I was on Council when the plan was approved. With the completion of the Art Center this spring, the plan has been completed.”
Vision 2030 ensured a high standard of living in Coppell, taking into account the rapid growth of the community. The success of this plan was evident throughout the State of the City Address. Despite changing restrictions because of COVID-19, the city was able to modify events and continue to provide services.
“In 2020, we adapted our approach to provide services to the community,” Tiffany Anderson, community engagement manager, said. “We offer outdoor education, tennis court rentals, and some fitness options. We have opened slowly and in phases. Our parks and trails remained open. We have seen many more residents using these areas.
“We had to cancel some events, but we also reimagined some events. For example, we had people decorate their homes for Independence Day and held virtual trivia nights in the fall.”
Kent Collins, director of Public Works, reviewed the completion of a variety of projects in 2020 and updated the viewers on projects that will begin soon.
“Freeport Parkway is substantially complete, except for a bit of cleanup,” Collins said. “Two other streets were reconstructed.
“In 2021, we will reconstruct Airline. Also, we will begin reconstruction of Beltline in early summer 2021. It will take us about 15-18 months. We also will reconstruct the Sandy Lake Lift Station.”
The trail system was expanded in 2020. Over three miles of bike lanes were added to the city, and Andy Brown West Park and the Coppell High School were connected by a paved path. There will be a trail added along MacArthur Blvd, adding over two miles of trail to the system. This will connect the east side of the city to the Andy Brown Park system.
“The trail system was used heavily during the pandemic,” John Elias, project manager for the Parks and Recreation Department, said.
Life Safety Park services continued to operate in 2020, although there were brief gaps in the programming as the staff followed CDC guidelines in spring 2020.
“This building was transitioned to an Emergency Activation Center,” Jeanna Lantiere, manager of Life Safety Park, said. “We had to halt our education classes during that time. Our staff was able to take roles in the emergency response, so we continued to come to work during that time. We were able to return to hosting classes in the summer at reduced capacity. We are still able to host CPR, car seat inspections, and education opportunities.”
“Like many departments, we had to respond to the pressures of the pandemic,” Dennis Quinn, director of Library Services, said. “We transitioned to virtual and asynchronous programming. We slowly phased in people entering the library.
“We also received a grant for us to increase our foreign language collection. We gave three programs to facilitate conversations about race, diversity, and prejudice.”
“The community has been such a support to our police department,” Hunt said. “Although we had to cancel some of our programming, including our nationally recognized National Night Out, the police department still has been able to reach out to the community.”
“We did some soul searching about race and serving the community,” Police Chef Danny Barton said. “We are not here to police you; we are here to serve you. We already have instituted many of the changes that advocacy groups recommended during the protests, and the community was glad to hear we were already mindful of race and justice. We are rolling out a plan in 2021 to continue to address how our officers interact with the community.”
The budget for 2021 has been impacted by changes made at the Texas legislature.
“The budget process looks different this year,” Casey Lay, budget manager, said. “The state legislature passed a revenue restriction that went into effect this year, and the comptroller proposed a rule that redistributes sales tax across the state. As a result, we needed to reduce the spending where we could. Staff reduced spending that did not impact the residents of Coppell, including freezing open positions and moving training to online.”