Grand Prairie—Grand Prairie city manager Tom Hart announced he will be retiring at the end of October 2021 after leading the city for 22 years.
Hart has served as city manager since 1999. Prior to that, Hart was Assistant City manager and later city manager of Euless for 16 years. He was one of the youngest city managers in the history of Texas when he served as city manager in The Colony from 1978-1981. Known for his attention to world class customer service and innovative management style, Hart created the city’s popular and successful mission to “create Raving Fans by delivering World Class Service.”
During his tenure as Grand Prairie’s city manager, he has overseen the reconstruction of the historic Uptown Theater and construction of the Texas Trust CU Theatre, the Ruthe Jackson Center and Gardens, Grand Prairie Memorial Gardens, Tony Shotwell Life Center and Library, Prairie Paws Adoption Center, the Splash Factory, the cabins and lodge of Loyd Park, Alliance Skate Park, the Public Safety Training Center, Municipal Courthouse, the Public Safety Building, the Summit Active Adult Center, Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark, PlayGrand Adventures, downtown façade improvements, City Hall Central and campus renovation, and The Epic Arts, Fitness and Entertainment Center.
Most recently, voters approved a $75 million Economic Development Bond Proposal, ensuring Hart’s vision for Epic Central to be a destination hub for entertainment, the arts, recreation and food, by adding two hotels with a shared conference center, a Grand Lawn, and restaurants along the lakes. This development will complement the Chicken N Pickle restaurant and pickleball courts currently under construction and the city’s envisioned water and light show in the lakes.
“I had the honor to work with two amazing mayors, a consistent city council of the utmost decorum that has had very little turnover and the best professional leadership team around,” Hart said. “We have made astounding strides in economic development, built facilities and offered services that greatly enhance our residents’ quality of life, created a financially stable city that is a force with which to be reckoned and had a great time doing it.”
“Tom leaves a legacy of world class service, integrity and a commitment to people,” Mayor Ron Jensen said. “His sense of humor, creativity and innovative thinking combined with his thorough knowledge of the intricacies of city finance have tremendously benefitted our residents, and propelled Grand Prairie into the many awards, high rankings and accolades of recent years.”
During his tenure, Grand Prairie grew in population from 118,000 to more than 200,000; and has been ranked nationally as a happiest city, best place to live, best place to retire, best place for a staycation, best city for jobs, best city for living the American dream, best city in which to raise a family, and safest city.
“We are fortunate Tom has had a succession plan in place for some time,” Mayor Jensen said. “He prepared his deputy and chief operating officer Steve Dye to be ready to step in and continue the many great projects that are in the works. To this end, the city council will have discussions with Steve in July and should finalize in August.”
Hart serves on the Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation and was named Zeus Man of the Year by the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce in 2009. Hart was honored in the 2009 Grand Prairie Rotary Golf Tournament for his significant contributions to the community. Hart was instrumental in founding Grand Prairie’s Rotary Club Golf Tournament in 2001, which has provided more than $1 million in dental services to Grand Prairie children.
His professional awards include:
Two Joy Samson Mentoring Awards, Urban Management Association of North Texas
Texas City Management Association Mentoring Award
International City/County Management Association Award for Career Development –The Cookingham Award
International City/County Management Association In-Service Training Award – The Clarence E. Ridley Award
Hurst-Euless-Bedford Rotarian of Year
Northeast Leadership Award – North Region
Past President North Texas City Management Association.
“I leave the city in capable hands,” Hart said. “With chief operating officer and deputy city manager Steve Dye, and deputy city managers Cheryl DeLeon and Bill Hills, the city of Grand Prairie is poised for greatness for years to come.”
Hart plans to travel with his wife, play with his grandchildren, write a book on world class service, teach customer service classes, consult and explore new business opportunities.
SOURCE City of Grand Prairie