positive, considering the state of our national economy,“ he told about hundred attendees at the Northwood University luncheon.
He spoke about how the City’s Vision Statement has meaning and is used by the City Council members to focus their efforts.
“Our vision statement: ‘We envision Cedar Hill as a premier city that retains its distinctive character, where families and businesses flourish in a safe and clean environment,’ reminds us that we’re not planning to be mediocre,” he said. He went on to describe the incredible beauty of the area’s natural assets and the qualities of the people who choose to live here.
He said our city is a leader in the DFW area and is becoming recognized for our achievements.
He spoke of the City Council’s planning workshop the previous weekend and briefly shared the Council Member’s comments about our community.
They spoke of our strong neighborhoods, partnerships, becoming a destination city, green initiatives and having all the elements to grow into a better community.
Mayor Franke said they drafted a list of concerns and opportunities that included the South Clark corridor, economic development, downtown, rental properties and the recent CHISD bond issue failure.
On the bond election, he said, it’s easy to look backward and criticize efforts, but in his opinion it is critical to show voters the value and give them a sense of the school board’s vision of how investing in education benefits every stakeholder in the community.
He said we have been able to prevent outside issues, whether they be county, state or national, to contaminate our discussions of the future. We choose to focus on what we have in common.
“We are at a critical time” he said. “We can choose to hunker down and wait, not my choice, or develop an attitude of distinction that motivates us to take the next hill.”
“We have to anticipate, use time and resources efficiently” he said, “with an awareness of the competition and how we can attract businesses and residents who share our positive outlook.”
“I am convinced,” Mayor Franke said, “that the answer lies in our unique location, our functional and diverse population, our identification in the metropolitan area and our partnerships.”
In the past, he said, cities have had two options guiding development: either ‘Build it and they will come’ or ‘Build it when they come.’ “The role of local government is changing” he continued, “we have to shift the paradigm”.
Our City has built and maintained infrastructure and given it away for free use, he said. Now we must “share risks and costs, position ourselves for partnerships with those who receive a benefit from what we do.”
He explained that many cities used their rapid growth to fund infrastructure for even more growth. And now many of those suburban cities are becoming landlocked. Our city is only about half built out. That gives us some great opportunities and requires careful planning.
He listed planning priorities as: downtown, a future bond issue, guidance for our boards and commission members, the highway 67 corridor, rental property issues, Growing Green, code enforcement and eminent domain policy.
Our history of planning and partnerships, he said, leads us to natural alignments with those who share our values, like Northwood University, the Audubon Center, the State Park, sustainability supporters and businesses.
“We’re not blurring the lines of government but clarifying them and dividing what we do best - vision, quality of life, networking, public services - from what the private sector does best - efficiency, opportunity, creating value.” He continued, “Clarifying those values makes it possible for our community to benefit from public/private partnerships, including green projects, parks, retail and a corporate campus.”
Mayor Franke concluded by speaking of legacy. “Just imagine,” he said “a future where families and businesses flourish in a safe and clean environment and this City has retained its distinctive character over the years. This will be our legacy.”