Parade honoring veterans of the Vietnam War

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White Settlement hosted the Welcome Home celebration for veterans of the Vietnam War. Continue reading “Parade honoring veterans of the Vietnam War”

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Council begin budget talks, Veterans Park in discussion

property taxes
Tax revenue down in the city.

by A.C. Hall

The long process of preparing the 2015 – 2016 budget is underway as council held the first of several meetings to discuss the budget on Tuesday evening.  The first thing pointed out in the proposed budget was a $345,000 decrease in expected sales tax revenue.  Several reasons were given for the sub par sales tax numbers, with the major reason said to be the city’s largest tax payer Weir SPM laying off some of its workforce.  Lower gas prices, the lack of Chesapeake revenue and new Chesapeake drilling permit fees, as well as the ongoing construction on Cherry Lane were also mentioned as reasons for lower revenues.   Continue reading “Council begin budget talks, Veterans Park in discussion”

Veterans Park discussions continue, tax revenue updated

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by A.C. Hall

The White Settlement Economic Development Board had a chance to sound off on the recently proposed Veterans Park changes at their meeting last week.  City staff continued to stress that this project remains in a very preliminary place.  The proposal is to relocate the softball complex from Veterans Park to Saddle Hills Park.  The roughly 17 acres of land opened up by this would then be used as commercial real estate. Continue reading “Veterans Park discussions continue, tax revenue updated”

The Follow Up Episode 3 now online

After sitting down with two of the biggest city leaders in episodes one and two, A.C. switches gears in episode 3 to sit down with an area spiritual leader.  The feature segment is an informal conversation with the Next Generation Pastor of Capstone Church, Steve Beaulieu.  Get to know Steve as he shares the incredible faith based choices that led him from a burgeoning career in the music industry to leading the youth and young adults at Capstone Church.  Also in this episode is a deeper look at the talks of turning part of Veteran’s Park into commercial real estate, other local news, and questions from listeners that cover subjects from being an impartial reporter to throwing newspapers to homes.  Be sure to hang around to the end of the episode for a special surprise as well!  You can listen to or download the episode by CLICKING HERE!

Follow Up 4 Text

Talks begin about major Veterans Park changes

WS City Logo

by A.C. Hall

Meeting last week, the White Settlement City Council held a work session to delve deeper into the possibility of making major changes to Veterans Park.  From the beginning of the discussion City Manager Jim Ryan cautioned that these are early discussions and that there is no desire to take away park land.   Continue reading “Talks begin about major Veterans Park changes”

Local ceremony honors, pays respects to military members

Kaitlyn Aryton, Miss White Settlement and Ady Forrester, Miss White Settlement Outstanding Teen along with members of the VFW Post placed wreaths at the base of the Veterans Park flag pole.
Kaitlyn Aryton, Miss White Settlement and Ady Forrester, Miss White Settlement Outstanding Teen along with members of the VFW Post placed wreaths at the base of the Veterans Park flag pole.

Members of the community along with City Officials, Military members and Veterans paid tribute on Monday to members of the armed forces who gave the ultimate sacrifice in providing our freedom. The ceremony was held at Veterans Park at 9 a.m. Continue reading “Local ceremony honors, pays respects to military members”

Parks and Recreation director to be honored by Chamber

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by A.C. Hall

It’s not easy to be universally beloved when you’re in city government, yet somehow White Settlement Parks and Recreation Director Richard Tharp seems to pull it off.  When it came time for the White Settlement Area Chamber of Commerce to name their Public Servant of the Year, Tharp was the clear choice.  Steve Groomer, a member of the Chamber committee who chose Tharp, spoke about what made them choose the Parks Director.   Continue reading “Parks and Recreation director to be honored by Chamber”

Hawaiian Falls White Settlement breaks ground on Adventure/Water Park, and Aloha Conference Center

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David Busch of Hawaiian Falls shovels dirt with Councilmenber Danny Anderson, Mayor Jerry Burns, City Manager Linda Ryan, Councilmembers Elzie Clements, Gene Hatcher, Steve Ott and Mike Arnold Sr.

North Texas’ first Adventure Park – Water Park combo to create hundreds of new jobs

Hawaiian Falls CEO David Busch joined White Settlement Mayor Jerry Burns and city and business leaders Tuesday, Dec. 3, to break ground on North Texas’ first Adventure Park – Water Park combo.  Continue reading “Hawaiian Falls White Settlement breaks ground on Adventure/Water Park, and Aloha Conference Center”

EDC, council finalize Hawaiian Falls Park deal

WS City Logo

by A.C. Hall

The City of White Settlement finally reached the end of many months  of work on Tuesday as they took the last steps to put the Hawaiian Falls deal into place.  First, the White Settlement Economic Development Corporation met, where they unanimously approved a resolution to authorize the issuance of a sales tax revenue bond.  The bond is in the amount of $12.6 million, but unlike the first bond the city considered for this project a few months ago, this one is for a term of twenty years instead of thirty.  That translates into a lifetime savings of over $10 million in interest, and also means the city will see sales tax revenue from Hawaiian Falls a decade sooner than they would have under the other bond.  The bond money is expected to be deposited into the construction account on Nov. 19.    Continue reading “EDC, council finalize Hawaiian Falls Park deal”

Signage along Clifford Street announces new water park, event center

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Late last week those driving down Clifford Street began noticing a large sign at Veterans Park announcing Hawaiian Falls and their targeted opening date of May 2014.   Continue reading “Signage along Clifford Street announces new water park, event center”

Council approves water park venture at special meeting

Hawaiian Falls preliminary drawing of the park.
Hawaiian Falls preliminary drawing of the park.

By A.C. Hall

At a special meeting on Tuesday night the White Settlement City Council voted unanimously to approve the construction agreement and the ground lease and operating agreement with Hawaiian Falls for a water and adventure park to be built in White Settlement.  The park will be constructed on the roughly 14 acres of city owned land behind Veterans Park.   Continue reading “Council approves water park venture at special meeting”

Citizens sound off on possible water park construction

Hawaiian Falls preliminary drawing of the park.
Hawaiian Falls preliminary drawing of the park.

By A.C. Hall

The community has been buzzing during the month of July as news broke about the probability of a Hawaiian Falls Waterpark coming to White Settlement and being built on the lot behind Veterans Park.  Over the past week, citizens got their chance to address city leaders about the project.  Many in the community packed the council chambers to capacity at a public hearing on Thursday night and again filled it at a town hall meeting on Saturday morning.  While some concerns were expressed, the overall tone of the two events was overwhelmingly positive for the park project.   Continue reading “Citizens sound off on possible water park construction”

New details on water park emerge; bonds may be used

A preliminary drawing of the park was shown to council members.
A preliminary drawing of the park was shown to council members.

By A.C. Hall

Negotiations are still ongoing between the City of White Settlement and Hawaiian Falls Waterpark for the purpose of bringing a water park and year round adventure park to the area next to Veterans Park. At Tuesday’s council meeting more details were made available about the possible inner workings of the deal should it materialize.   Continue reading “New details on water park emerge; bonds may be used”

Settler’s Day enjoyed by all

The Cody Robbins Band entertained festival goers.

Hundreds of people enjoyed great food, music, shopping, activities and games this past weekend at Settler’s Day in Veterans Park. Rain stayed away for most of the festivity. Above: Chubby’s Burgers workers take orders for lunch. Right: Caleb Belcher, fifth grade student at WSISD Fine Arts Academy, flies through the air on a zip line that stretched from one softball light pole to another. The excursion took riders up nearly 40 feet in the air before gliding back down.  

 

Council unanimously approves new Chesapeake well

Chesapeake Energy has wells on this site near Las Vegas Trail in White Settlement.

By A.C. Hall

The White Settlement City Council met last night at City Hall and the first item of business was the proposed well at 216 S. Grants Lane.  Long known as the site of a mobile home community, over the past few months all the homes at the location have been cleared away in preparation for drilling.  Chesapeake purchased the property late last year.   Continue reading “Council unanimously approves new Chesapeake well”

Netting installed for safety at Veterans Park

Visitors or those just driving by have noticed a new feature at Veteran’s Park.  A net structure has been erected on the west side of the park in an attempt to stop baseballs and softballs from flying over onto the Candlewood Suites property.  

“Candlewood Suites reported this problem to the City when balls started flying over the fence at this particular field and actually hitting the back of their building,” White Settlement City Manager Linda Ryan told The Grizzly Detail. “This was actually brought to our attention during their construction phase.”

The City took quick action to alleviate the problem as they made a switch in who utilized that particular field.

“Immediately, men’s baseball leagues were then scheduled to play on other fields and softball teams used this field,” Ryan said.

The hope was that this would end the issue, but balls continued to make their way onto the Candlewood property.

“Although, we thought this would solve the problem, random balls continued to land in their parking lot,” Ryan said.

After having discussions with the City Attorney, the decision was made to install the net structure.

“After several discussions with staff and board, it was agreed that we needed to be proactive and not wait for a baseball hitting a vehicle or even a person,” Ryan said.

The bids for the construction of the net went as high as $74,000, but in turning to a new parks partner the City was able to get the net for a much better price.  Heartland Parks and Recreation, the company that is doing the overhaul on Central Park, built the net for $15,000.

“The netting was paid for from EDC Park Maintenance Budget and the budget was approved in September 2011,” Ryan said.

Portion of Farmer’s Branch flood project moving forward

by A.C. Hall

A project dating back to 2005 is moving forward, albeit only in one portion.  Project Manager Jack Bell presented the news to the council at their meeting last night.

“We were informed this past week that the bid for the flood project from Meadow Park east to White Settlement road came within budget,” Bell said.  “In fact it was under their anticipated budget.”

The Farmer’s Branch Flood Control project was approved via a bond in 2005, but work in earnest on it didn’t begin until recent years when the Army Corps of Engineers (CORPS) funding became available.  The project turned controversial due to a series of events, the latest being a citizen petition. The petition put the power back in the hands of the people to decide whether or not to further fund the project.  Voters defeated the bond, leaving the council to pursue just one portion of the creek project.

The partial portion will now become a reality, as the news came from the CORPS that they are ready to award a contract.  Bell suggested that a possible use of the surplus money would be to clean up the reflecting pool section of the creek in front of City Hall.

City Manager Linda Ryan addressed the council regarding the financial side of the partial project.  She reminded the council that on Aug. 10, 2011 the council sent $1.5 million to the CORPS in order to secure the federal funding.

“Since then they’ve been going out for construction bids,” Ryan said.  “What they finally got was a construction bid that came within budget.”

Ryan informed the council that this new bid falls within the money that is available for the project.

“The funds are there and possibly we could get back around $500,000,” Ryan said.

She mentioned the amount of money that was spent by the city on buying easements and partial easements, many of which won’t be needed now.  The total cost for this partial portion of the project from Meadow Park to White Settlement Road is $11.5 million, a cost shared between the CORPS and the City, but Ryan said that doesn’t include the “million plus” that was spent on easements.

“All said and done I still believe that we will come out with around $500,000 to $600,000,” Ryan said.

Another thing mentioned by Ryan was the possibility of stopping the project.

“If you want to stop now, I guess you could, you might not get a federal loan again, but if you want to go forward we need to let them [CORPS] know,” Ryan said.

This led Mayor Burns to speak about the history of this project.

“We sold bonds with the good faith effort we were going to build that creek.  This money will build this much of it, and if we’re going to tell the people we’re going to spend their money on the creek we oughta build all the creek we can,” Burns said.  “I think that’s what we’ve done here.”

Council member Gene Hatcher questioned why the CORPS was claiming no part of the expense when it came to money spent by White Settlement purchasing and demolishing properties along the creek.

Burns explained that the properties they weren’t sharing the cost of are properties along portions of the creek that aren’t being addressed in this partial project.  Hatcher called it a “shame” that the city spent so much money while following the CORPS’ design, and now was out the money spent on those properties.  Bell called it a “good faith effort” between the two entities at the time as they tried to do the entire creek.

The possibility of doing something with those now city owned properties was discussed.  Prospects are limited since they fall within the flood plain, but things such as parks, bike trails, or even raising the elevation were mentioned.

After the discussions were completed, a motion was made to approve and move forward with the project.  That motion passed unanimously.

“That has been a long arduous battle and I commend the council for sticking with it as far as they did, because it would’ve been easy anytime to just throw up your hands and say to heck with it,” Mayor Burns said.  “It shows a lot of courage.”

CENTRAL PARK PRICE TAG

The price is now in for the Central Park overhaul, and Bell was pleased to announce that it came in under the $3 million budget.

“Staff spent six and a half hours today with the contractor negotiating and we have hammered down to a very reasonable figure. I’m proud to announce that it is below 2.8 million dollars,” Bell said.  “That also allows us the amenities that we were looking for, not every one of them, but the amenities that will serve the leagues and serve the city for quite a few years down the road.”

Bell said that the next stop is to get a finalized drawing and a breakdown on the prices.  He hopes to have that ready for the next council meeting so the council can review it and decide what to do next.  He spoke highly of Heartland Parks and Recreation, saying that it has been a pleasure working with them.

When asked how far under budget the price was, Bell rounded the final price to $2,780,000.

VETERAN’S PARK MEMORIAL DESIGN APPROVED

The design for the Veteran’s Park Memorial Wall was revealed, as it came before council for their approval.  Bell stated that this project is something that has been discussed for several years. “We were fortunate enough in this current budget to set aside funds to fund the project,” Bell said.  “We’re under that budget.”

This is an artists rendering of the Veterans Park Memorial Wall. The wall will span 100’ and include each branch of the armed services.

He presented the picture of the wall, which is six foot, six inches tall and is in two separate sections which together are one hundred feet long.  There will be individual panels on the wall for each branch of the armed services, and a pedestal will be erected on the existing pavilion that juts out into the water to honor fire fighters and police officers.

“I think it’s going to be something we can be very proud to see here in our city,” Bell said. Bell did say that staff would need help with determining the criteria for what names get engraved onto the wall.  Mayor Burns suggested speaking with the base for assistance in that matter.

The council voted unanimously to approve the design.

“We’ve been dreaming about this for a while,” Burns said.

When asked by a council member about the cost of this project, Bell stated that the budgeted amount for it was $125,000, again saying that the final cost came in under budget.

PUBLIC HEARING SET FOR BUDGET AMENDMENTS

The council voted unanimously to set a public hearing where budget amendments will be discussed.  That public hearing will be held on Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m., and the council will be meeting first in a work session before the public hearing is opened.

City Manager Linda Ryan explained this item to the council.

“What’s happened this year is that we’ve got extra revenues through our oil and gas money and there are some things that we left out of the budget,” Ryan said.

One item that she mentioned was the need for a new vehicle for the City Marshall.  Ryan explained that some items were more pressing than others.

“There are some things that I would like for you to consider.  Some are ‘have to’ and some are ‘maybe’,” Ryan said.

OTHER BUSINESS

At the close of the meeting, council member Elzie Clements spoke highly of the White Settlement Volunteer Fire Department, praising them for their great work while dealing with a house fire earlier in the day.  The entire council gave the department a standing ovation.

Earlier in the meeting, Frank Molinar of the White Settlement Independent School District was on hand to present a plaque to the White Settlement Police Department.  He thanked the City and the police department for their partnership and support.