Thursday, June 24, 2021

Daniel Cortez Appointed Director of Economic Development and Tourism

Daniel Cortez, Deputy Director of Economic Development and Tourism, has been promoted to Director, effective July 1. After the departure of Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher, Cortez’s history of strong work performance, world-class professionalism and commitment to assist Southlake businesses and residents make him fit for the task to lead the Southlake economic development team.

“Daniel Cortez has many notable accomplishments under his belt,” said Assistant City Manager Alison Ortowski. “His energy, creativity, intelligence and strong people skills make him ideal for this role.”

Since 2017, Cortez has worked to implement key recommendations of the 2035 Economic Development Master Plan. He has also created and implemented a commercial site assessment project, resulting in valuable insights into Southlake’s commercial centers. He managed the City’s first Business Climate Survey to understand the local business community’s strengths and challenges, track trends and ensure the City has useful data for business support programs.

“I am humbled at the confidence the City’s leadership has in me. I look forward to continuing to serve our business community with the same tradition of excellence Southlake is known for, with new inspiration and determination to meet the challenges of the future,” Cortez said. “There is truly no place like Southlake. It is my privilege to be part of a great community and I’m excited to strengthen the City’s relationships with local businesses.”

Ortowski also highlights his business retention work, noting that “he has established strong relationships through one-on-one visits and programs he’s created to improve business engagement with the City.”

Southlake youth have also benefited from Cortez’s hard work. Through the Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership (SKIL) program, Cortez has worked with Mayor Hill and Carroll ISD to offer selected students access to local business leaders through educational seminars and internship experiences. Cortez guides the students through the program, which has been in place for three years.

Perhaps Cortez has demonstrated his strongest performance with his work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Untangling the complex and sometimes confusing information related to the various executive orders was a terrific service he was able to provide to our business customers,” noted Ortowski.  “He promoted businesses in unique and creative ways. He demonstrated a keen knowledge of the needs of our businesses and worked proactively to provide needed support.”

In his new role, Daniel will be responsible for economic development work, and will oversee the day-to-day activities of the City’s tourism and special events team.

What is a CIP Project?

The City of Southlake often refers to the Capital Improvement Program when citing projects and infrastructure, such as mobility projects.

The program, often referred to as CIP, is a five-year plan the City has in place for construction of new or investing in the replacement of the City’s physical assets or infrastructure. The City utilizes cash and proceeds from bond sales to fund CIP projects.

With CIP, City staff can budget and identify projects that otherwise cannot be addressed due to funding limitations within the annual operating budget or limited, internal resources or manpower.

When it comes to mobility, this five-year program identifies construction projects identified and prioritized within the Southlake 2030 and Southlake 2035 master plans.

The Mobility 2030 Master Plan includes several citywide plans that prioritize the development of thoroughfares, sidewalks, trails and parks. The recommendations within the plan serve as a guide to the development of CIP projects as well as departmental business plans.

Two major mobility CIP projects currently in progress are the N. White Chapel Widening and Zena Rucker Connector.

Other projects such as the SH 114 Frontage Roads and FM 1938 improvements are managed by the Texas Department of Transportation. The City often partners with TxDOT, contributing to these projects financially, while TxDOT manages and oversees construction.

You can view active and upcoming projects on our interactive CIP map. Find more information about the Capital Improvement Program and the 2030 Mobility Master Plan on our website.

Changes to Grapevine Lake Master Plan Are in the Works

The Grapevine Lake Master Plan will undergo revisions to verify compliance with new federal regulations. The original plan was completed in 1971 with a supplement plan published in 2001.

Plan Officials along with the Fort Worth District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have recently initiated the process to revise the plan and desire input from the public.

USACE defines the Master Plan as the strategic land use management document that guides the comprehensive management and development of all recreational, natural and cultural resources throughout the life of the water resource development project.

The new revisions will address changes in regional land use, population, outdoor recreation trends and USACE management policy.

Key topics that will be addressed in the revised master plan include:

  • Revised land classifications
  • Revised natural, cultural and recreational resource management objectives
  • Recreation facility needs
  • Invasive species management
  • Threatened and endangered species habitat

Suggestions from the public are encouraged. The public involvement process will be conducted online in lieu of face-to-face workshops until the COVID-19 virus pandemic subsides.

The City of Southlake also plans to submit comments on the proposed Master Plan.

“Grapevine Lake is a great natural resource and provides our residents a nearby opportunity to experience nature firsthand with its many hiking and horseback riding trails,” Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker said. “It’s imperative that the City’s citizens are aware of the Grapevine Lake Master Plan process and provide their input on how this land is utilized in the future.”

USACE will accept comments up to June 26, 2020. The USACE website contains a brief presentation describing the revision process, a copy of the current master plan, a map of the current land use classifications and instructions for submitting public comments.

For questions about the City’s role in the Grapevine Lake Master Plan, please contact City of Southlake Planning and Development Services at 817-748-8621.

New Four Lane Stretch of Kirkwood Boulevard Improves Mobility in Southlake

Mobility in the north end of Southlake just got a little better, thanks to the widening of Kirkwood Boulevard between Stockton Drive and Tyler Street. The new four-lane roadway also includes new sidewalks on the west side of the road from Dove Road to Tyler.

The final piece of the project to be completed will be the median landscape, which is expected to be completed after the summer heat dissipates.

“This is another great mobility project we’re glad to have completed,” said Public Works Director Rob Cohen. “It was designed and constructed to help Southlake motorists get where they want to go as safely and quickly as possible. I’m glad it is moving along on time and the major work was completed before back to school rush traffic increases across the city.”

A part of a Capital Improvement Plan project designed to help improve current and future mobility in the area, work on Kirkwood started last year. This section of Kirkwood was always intended to be a four-lane, divided roadway, and the expansion of the last two-lane section has increased roadway capacity in the area. This is a welcomed improvement which has accommodated traffic generated by the opening of TD Ameritrade this past spring.

Other recent major projects in the area include the Kirkwood intersection improvements. As part of the City’s 2030 Mobility Master Plan the improvements included the addition of traffic signals at TW King and Kirkwood and Dove and Kirkwood, as well as new turn lanes at each intersection. The City also partnered with TxDOT and Westlake to improve the efficiency of the intersection of Kirkwood and State Highway 114 with the addition of turn lanes and traffic signals. These additions were completed in the spring.

For more information about Capital Improvement Plan projects, visit the City’s new mobility website at www.ConnectSouthlake.com.

Interested in Health, Wellness and Your Community? Join the new Health and Wellness Committee.

Would you like to help shape the future in Southlake? Are you someone who is interested in health or wellness? Is your community important to you?

If you answered yes to these questions, apply now to the new Health & Wellness Master Plan Committee.

Need to know more?  Southlake is full of health and wellness experts, enthusiasts and advocates who we’d like to help us put together the new Health and Wellness Master Plan. Here are a few examples of ideas the committee could explore.

Built & Natural Environment – How can parks be more senior-friendly? This topic may include looking at how landscape and lighting requirements can increase public safety, and developing criteria to evaluate the overall safety of development proposals;

Transportation – This could include highlighting existing Community Service Agreements, such as Call a Ride Southlake (CARS). The committee may also explore sidewalk connections and how incorporating Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) into roadways might encourage safety and increase mobility;

Aging Population – Another important focus area includes examining opportunities to increase the quality of life for seniors in the community and those that wish to “age in place” through policies and programs. This may consist of reviewing ordinances in terms of existing requirements for family or “mother-in-law” quarters as families may serve as caregivers for aging relatives;

Mental Health & Wellness – Topics within this category may include working with healthcare professionals on community needs related to anxiety and depression and other mental illnesses;

Partnerships – This ultimately speaks to how the City of Southlake will pursue partnerships with groups such as health care providers, the Carroll Independent School District, and possibly other community service organizations that focus on health and wellness initiatives.

Southlake City Council recognizes the importance of health and wellness issues and has included this new component in the Southlake 2035 Comprehensive Plan. While this plan element is new, it will build on recommendations from other plans. For example, the LiveFit Program has been successfully implemented as a health and wellness program in the City. “The success of LiveFit demonstrates that health and wellness is something we can all relate to. I’m looking forward to the invaluable insight committee members will provide us as we move forward with this new component of the 2035 Master Plan,” says Senior Director of Planning & Development Services Ken Baker.

City Council is seeking applicants of all ages and backgrounds, encouraging those with professional experience or interest in health or wellness topics to apply. Committee members will be asked to meet about once a month over the course of several months, to work alongside City staff to develop this master plan element. They will be reviewing existing city policies; evaluating the current health and wellness landscape in Southlake; analyzing current and future wellness needs and topics; and formulating recommendations to City Council related to health and wellness.

Interested in applying? Visit the Health and Wellness Plan page on the City website to learn more about the application process. Applications are due by February 16, 2018.

The City of Southlake and the Southlake Arts Council want your feedback

In Fiscal Year 2016, the City of Southlake budgeted to commission a permanent art piece to be installed in Frank Edgar Cornish, IV Park per the 2030 Public Art Master Plan. On October 27, the Southlake Arts Council met to determine their vision for the piece, and they would like your feedback.

The Arts Council recommends commissioning a piece that is kinetic and has movement. The piece should acknowledge or pay tribute to the history of the park. It must be a statement piece that embodies an appropriate balance and contributes to the style of the area.

If you have additional ideas or comments on what type of piece you would like to see in Frank Edgar Cornish, IV Park, please send your ideas to publicart@ci.southlake.tx.us. Please submit your feedback by December 1.

Southlake 2030 Mobility Plan Meeting October 9th

The City of Southlake Planning & Development Services Department will host a city-wide SPIN meeting  and open house Wednesday, October 9th, to obtain feedback on the Southlake 2030 Mobility Master Plan.

The meeting will begin at 4:00 p.m. with an open house in the Town Hall Foyer.  Various stations will be set up in the foyer that will provide information on the proposed plan.

Staff will also be available during this open house to answer questions.  The open house will be followed by a presentation in the City Council Chambers at 6:30 p.m. followed by a question and answer session.

For more information about Southlake 2030 please visit www.Southlake2030.com.