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Mayor Stopfer Presents Irving’s State of the City Address

Photo by Grace Reyes

Irving—The Irving Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual State of the City address at the Irving Convention Center on Tuesday, Jan. 25. It has been two years since Irving has presented their State of the City address in-person, but they came back strong with their theme “Overcoming. Advancing. Achieving.”

Suzanne Grishman, executive director of Mercury One, sat down with Mayor Rick Stopfer to discuss the challenges Irving faced last year.

“Even though [the February 2021 freeze] was a major challenge for us, it brought us all closer together,” Stopfer said. “It was a time when I felt comfortable that we were going to survive as a city. Everyone stepped up, whether it was our residents, our nonprofits, our houses of worship, and our businesses.”

One of City Council’s many goals to help the community grow is focus on economy.

“When we saw people staying at home and working from home, or our business in our corporate community, were looking at how they can expand how they could grow and how they could move forward,” Stopfer said. “So having a reputation as the headquarters of headquarters paid off well across the country, as we had site selectors coming from East Coast, West Coast in the central states.”

Some of the highlights of economic growth included the following: new Starbucks locations, Chef Gordon Ramsey moving his restaurant headquarters and test kitchens to Irving, a 76-unit mixed income affordable housing project, and Louis Vuitton expanding in Irving with a new building, which will employ almost 1,500 people.

The city of Irving maintained financial stability and a triple A bond rating.

“We’re about seeing how we can best utilize your dollars, not only for today, but for the future,” Stopfer said. “The triple A bond rating for our city is uniquely different than most other cities because of our makeup. Usually in order to be a triple A bond, at least 50 percent of your tax base is residential. We don’t [have that] 72 percent plus of ours is commercial.”

Some of Irving’s milestones included the completion of the Irving Archives and Museum, a five-year landfill capital improvement plan, and completion of $11.8 million in parks projects.

Another goal City Council is focused on is the infrastructures of Irving.

“One of the projects I’m most honored to be a part of is something that was started long before I was involved,” Stopher said. “That is the Lake Chapman, Lake Cooper project, where the city of Irving worked to build a lake. We have a 90-mile pipeline; it brings water to us from that lake.

“Ralph Hall was just permitted, and we entered into agreement where we will actually be moving the water from Lake Rockfall through our pipeline. When we put in the oversize pipe, that extra capacity is being used, we will be reimbursed for it.”

Other infrastructure projects include: completion of seven water and wastewater projects, a total of $9.6 million spent on the Road to the Future projects, and completion of $30 million in drainage projects.

Mayor Stopfer gave the corporate Award of Excellence to Fran Mathers.

“[Fran] has done an outstanding job, working day in, day out, to develop a restaurant we can all be proud of,” Stopfer said. “Fran put together a scholarship for the families of our police officers. Each year she puts together a fundraiser and has given hundreds of thousands of dollars back to our police officer’s kids in our community.”

Mathers’ employees were paid during the pandemic while the restaurant was closed, according to Stopfer.