Thursday, May 26, 2022

Southlake Library Task Force Works Towards New Public Library

With a charge to work towards a new public library, the Southlake Library Task Force is getting ready to host two Town Hall meetings.

“We are so excited about the possibilities for the Southlake Library,” said Councilmember Kathy Talley. “We’ve got some ideas about its location, programming, amenities, etc., but we need resident feedback, and that’s where the town hall meetings will come in.”

Task Force Background

In December 2021, Mayor Huffman appointed Councilmembers Kathy Talley and Ronell Smith to lead a Library Task Force to research options and make recommendations for a new Southlake Public Library.

Councilmember Chad Patton and Incoming Councilmember Shawn McCaskill, and 15 Southlake community members. The team comprises members from the Southlake Library Board and Southlake Arts Council members, the Southlake Women’s Club, Southlake Chamber of Commerce, PTO Organization presidents, youth representatives, ambassadors for Southlake’s special needs, and nonprofit business leaders.

The Task Force has broken up into subcommittees that are currently hard at work researching, studying, and addressing critical issues and will ultimately provide recommendations for site location, library facility needs, accompanying amenities, and financial considerations. Potential sites and amenities will be evaluated on how well each option supports the library’s mission, meets community needs, enhances the community, and supports financial and success goals.

Save the Date

The Task Force looks forward to sharing what they learned and their recommendations with Southlake residents at the Library Task Force Town Hall Meetings on Wednesday, May 11th, and Monday, May 16th.

Join the Task Force for an Open House from 4:30 – 6:00 pm, with the Town Hall meeting and a Task Force presentation immediately following in the Council chamber. The public is invited to share their comments and thoughts during both meetings.
Please visit CityofSouthlake.com/LibraryTaskForce for more information.

City Council Discusses Use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds

The Southlake City Council has begun work to earmark more than $8 million of federal funds the city is expected to receive from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

In Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the city discussed the staff recommendation to use the funds for water infrastructure improvements.

“Our recommendation was built around the desire to advance key water projects to strengthen our system and accelerate construction of large, high-impact projects,” said Assistant City Manager Alison Ortowski, who has been appointed as the city’s ARPA Program Director. “We are prioritizing projects that meet the federal guidelines and can be completed within the grant timeframe.”

Council provided staff with direction to move forward with the plan as presented. Next steps will include finalizing the project priority list, developing conceptual costs and a project schedule. Once plans are finalized, projects will be designed, and all approved projects must be completed by the federal deadline of December 2026.

All ARPA funds that are utilized adhere to a strict set of guidelines which relate back to COVID-19.

ARPA projects will complement the city’s ongoing work on its water infrastructure. Projects most recently completed include the installation of larger water lines on North White Chapel, along SH 114, in the southern part of the city near the fuel farms, and along TW King. The City has also coordinated with the City of Colleyville for an interconnection, like the interconnection already in place with the City of Grapevine. Pump station infrastructure has been improved, and power assessments have been completed. Technology upgrades and corrective maintenance throughout the system have also been accomplished.

City Council Approves Bob Jones Sculpture

City Council approved the final concept and contract for new Public Art as a tribute to Bob and Almeady Jones at the November 17, City Council meeting.

Jones was a former slave, husband, and father who became a prosperous landowner and rancher in the Roanoke-Southlake. He and his wife Almeady Jones raised 10 children together and were well-respected residents.

As a part of Southlake’s art initiative to promote public art in Southlake, the Southlake Arts Council extended an invite to local artists to submit a proposal for a commissioned sculpture in honor of the Jones Family to be placed at Bob Jones Park. Artist Seth Vandable was selected for his piece, Bob and Almeady Jones Monument.

The bronze monument depicts Bob and Almeady dressed in period attire relaxing beside a picnic, enjoying a freshly harvested summer meal after a hard day of work farming, and teaching their children to welcome visitors to the park.  

The piece incorporates the agricultural history of Southlake along with the family values and work ethic which would serve as a cultural touchstone to current residents and visitors.

According to Vandable’s artist statement, he believes the sculpture will be a reflection of the City’s past.

“I believe Southlake will strongly identify with this sculpture as a beautiful timeless symbol of your strong City’s past, the strength of the family and determination to succeed in the face of challenges,” he stated.

The monument will be on display at Bob Jones Park in Spring 2021

Funding for this project is allocated within the approved FY 2021 Public Art Fund CIP budget in the amount of $100,000.

City Council Appoints New Members to City Boards and Commissions

City of Southlake Mayor Laura Hill and the City Council announced the appointment of new board and commission members during the October 6 City Council meeting.

These volunteers assist with serving the Southlake community by working alongside City staff, Council and the Mayor to help the City strategize to implement policies, review programs and meet goals.

Members were appointed to serve a term period of two years on the following boards: Community Engagement Committee, Community Enhancement Development Corporation, Crime Control & Prevention District Board, Library Board, Metroport Teen Court, Senior Advisory Commission and the Southlake Arts Council.

If you are interested in becoming a part of one our boards or commissions, please visit our Boards and Commissions webpage.