Terrell Looks Back on first term
In this past weekend's election Mayor John Terrell ran unopposed. As he begins his second term, we look back with our Mayor to the highlights of his first 3 years in office.
Three years ago, John Terrell was campaigning to become Mayor of our fair city of Southlake. He had already served as a City Council member since 2004 and volunteered his time to many community organizations. A busy husband and dad of two children, his family and his career as Vice President of Commercial Development for DFW Airport were enough to fill the days but the community where he and wife, Joanne, were raising their children was important to him and he wanted to make a difference. During his run for Mayor, an unpaid position, his campaign website outlined a platform containing seven initiatives of top priority for him if elected to office. With the successful completion of his first term as Mayor just two months away, John Terrell, who didn’t draw opposition in the 2012 elections, looks forward to another three years in the corner office of City Hall. But before we all turn our sights beyond 2012 we caught up with our Mayor to discuss his first term and thoughts on how the city has progressed towards the initiatives he originally set forth.
Initiative One: Sidewalks
One of the main concerns of citizens back in 2009 still remains a citizen priority today. Initiative One was a continued focus on construction of sidewalks with routes to schools included. Mayor Terrell hit this one out of the park. When we got together he told us, “We’ve constructed more sidewalks in the last three years than in the history of the city. There were a lot of gaps but we’re quickly filling in all of those gaps.” According to the Southlake city website, since 2009 the city has completed construction on approximately 5.3 miles of sidewalks throughout the city with the expected addition of nearly 6 more miles through the next fiscal year. The City of Southlake allocated almost $2 million in the Capital Improvements Program for sidewalk expenditures from fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2012.
When the current work on sidewalks is completed residents will be able to walk down almost the entire length of Southlake Blvd. and stay on the sidewalks making our city a safer place for pedestrians. Mayor Terrell considers the sidewalk initiative to be a success, saying,” We plan to finish up all the school routes before long. Sidewalks are an ongoing project that grows with our city and were still a number one item on the latest citizen survey.” Not one to rest on his laurels, Mayor Terrell stated, “I consider any elected position as being servant based leadership following the needs of our citizens and they want sidewalks.”
Initiative Two: Southlake Business Council
During his first campaign, Mayor Terrell revealed a second initiative that called for implementation of a Southlake Business Council to encourage the development of partnerships between Southlake’s municipal government, the Chamber of Commerce, school districts, and small and large companies. Presently, the Southlake Business Council (SBC) has been in existence for over two years and though still in its infancy stage the Council has already begun to help business expansion. The SBC is comprised of corporate citizens including Frank Bliss, Traci Bernard, Mike Hutchison and others, working together with city government. A great example of the SBC in action occurred recently when the SBC and Southlake Sister Cities organization worked with Peter Ermish, Southlake resident and General Manager of Variosystems, an international electronics manufacturing corporation, to purchase real estate in Suzhou, China for building an expansion facility of Variosystems. As Mayor Terrell explains, “The Southlake Business Council isn’t a replacement for the chamber, it’s a partnership and we look forward to SBC partnering more with the city and the chamber, becoming a real force in business attraction.”
Initiative Three: Multi-purpose Community Center
Third on the list of initiatives was a goal that is still being reached as of 2012. The initiative read; Pursue a multi-purpose Community Center for the benefit of all Southlake Citizens, especially the youth and seniors. Still a firm believer in the need for a multi-purpose center here in our city, Mayor Terrell has steadily been working toward meeting that goal. During our chat with Mayor Terrell, he said, “Within the next 2 years the city will have set aside approximately $10 million to be used to fund the building of a center, a possible location would be at Bicentennial Park near the lake. It is one of my top priorities over the next three years to get this multi-purpose building going.” Plans for the center could bring space for recreation, meeting space, small conference opportunities, smaller venues of multi-use, and a senior center. Plans could also include space for possible expansions in the future, when needed.
Initiative Four: Roundabouts
Another success for Mayor Terrell comes in the form of the success of an initiative to alleviate traffic congestion through construction of roundabouts and proper thoroughfare planning. With the completion of the first four planned roundabouts citizens and visitors are enjoying a much smoother traffic flow around several congested areas located at Brumlow and Continental, Carroll and Dove, White Chapel and Continental, and White Chapel and Dove. In addition to driver’s relishing the easier traffic routes, many people have expressed their appreciation of the recently installed works of art to adorn the center of each roundabout making each one beautiful as well as functional. Mayor Terrell foresees the next two roundabouts to be constructed at White Chapel at Highland and Continental and S. Peytonville, further alleviating traffic congestion.
Proper planning for thoroughfares will also result in improved traffic conditions. The Mayor mentioned, “Thoroughfares will be much better in the next year than they were three years ago. We are about 24 months away from the estimated completion of the DFW connector and the expansion of FM 1938 (Randol Mill) to Highway 114 is just two to three years away.”
And yes, folks, the state project medians are finishing up. The final touches are taking place and the deceleration lane work is nearing completion. The City expects the state to have this project wrapped up by mid-summer.
Initiative Five: Advance Safety Town
The initiative to continue to advance the Safety Town project for the benefit of our youngest citizens has hit a stumbling block. Prior to Terrell taking office, the concept of Safety Town Park was to be a realistic, child-sized town designed to provide hands on safety education for elementary aged children. Ground was broken on the construction of Safety Town but when funding for the project stalled so did the project itself. Mayor Terrell explained, “I was supportive of that project as one with the majority of funding coming from private sources but when the city had to decide to take on the bulk of the debt, about $1.8 million, that’s not a responsible way to spend city dollars.”
Initiative Six: Maintain Quality DPS Services
With the opening of the new DPS building in January 2010, Southlake came a long way toward meeting Terrell’s sixth initiative; plan for the future growth of our police and fire departments, to maintain outstanding service to all of our citizens. The high-tech efficiency blended with the historical look of the stunning addition to our city landscape offers our police and fire departments, as well as a portion of our court services, a top-notch facility in which to operate providing the best in services for residents and visitors to Southlake. But, it doesn’t stop there. As a testament to the success of long-term planning our city will soon start construction near Dove and White Chapel on the North Fire Station, which will house both fire and police.
Mayor Terrell elaborated, “Next year’s budget will include planning to staff that facility, maintaining the outstanding service to our community. In addition to the much better response time to emergencies in that area, the close proximity to a fire station may even help residents lower their home owner’s insurance costs.”
Initiative Seven: Supporting City Staff
In the final of his initiatives declared back before taking office for his first three years as Mayor of Southlake, Terrell planned to; continue to support our outstanding city staff, providing them the tools they need to help them be ever more successful in their jobs. Throughout his first term in the mayoral office new technology was brought to the city including new software designed to help city staff do their jobs more efficiently. The new DPS building provided new space for city staffers in various areas relieving overcrowded city hall spaces. Mayor Terrell expressed his pride in city employees across the board saying, “I give huge accolades to our incredibly professional staff.”
With no opposition running against him, the reviews are in on the past three years and it’s apparent that the residents of Southlake approve of the accomplishments during Mayor Terrell’s term and we welcome having Mayor Terrell stay at the helm as Mayor for another term steering the city towards the future. We asked Mayor Terrell how he felt about the opportunity for another term as Mayor of Southlake and he replied, “I believe the role of every elected official should be one of service and I would like to thank the citizens of Southlake for allowing me the opportunity to continue serving our city as Mayor. I consider it a great honor and privilege and you have my continued commitment to devote my time and energy to preserving and enhancing our quality of life as well to continue my focus on excellence.
Many thanks are due to my fellow council members, school board members, city staff and the many volunteers on our numerous boards and organizations that all work so hard to make Southlake a great place to live. I look forward to working with all of these people to achieve even greater things for Southlake over the next three years.”
Thank you for your dedicated service, Mayor Terrell. All of us at Southlake Style are looking forward to the next three years as well.