Flower Mound Leader > News
Council structure, parks, drug forum discussed at retreat
Just one month into his new job as Flower Mound’s town manager and Jimmy Stathatos already has a lot to research regarding the future of the town.
The Flower Mound Town Council hosted its strategic planning session Feb. 8-9 to brainstorm several ideas.
The council came away with tentative plans on many topics, and Stathatos is charged with exploring the feasibility of many of them.
One of the biggest areas of discussion centered on the council itself. Councilman Steve Dixon brought up the idea of adding more members to the council, possibly two. He said that would allow the council to serve as single-member districts and at-large districts.
“On the east side of town, we are very dense,” Dixon said. “On the west side, we are not dense at all. There is a perception of the two sides having two different sets of needs. I would like to have the discussion of having those two extra seats be one for east of FM 2499 and one west of FM 2499, or whatever the dividing line is. That way, people on the east will say, ‘I have a voice.’ And the people on the west will say, ‘I have a voice also.’”
Dixon brought up the idea of single-member districts two years ago, and it was briefly discussed during the charter review committee meetings last year. But the committee opted not to put it on the list of charter amendments.
Council members said the charter review process was rushed last year and that more extensive research should be done to possibly include it on a ballot in the spring of 2014. Charter amendments can only happen once every two years.
Stathatos will put together a list of objectives for the next charter review committee to have when researching the benefits or problems with these possible amendments. It will also examine the pros and cons of council members serving three-year terms instead of two-year terms.
Mayor Tom Hayden stressed the need to obtain more land for parks and practice fields. Gary Sims, executive director of community services, said the town is short of practice fields and that with continued development, the town will exceed the capacity at Bakersfield Park.
“We had a youth football league, and they didn’t have fields to play on,” Hayden said. “They had to use Lewisville ISD fields to play on because we didn’t have enough fields.”
Councilwoman Jean Levenick cautioned spending too many resources on one group when there are other needs in town.
Hayden suggested approaching land owners to inquire about them donating land for town parks, but the rest of the council said the town may not get the type of land suitable for parks.
The council then decided to approach LISD about using their fields.
“We don’t want to invest millions of dollars in something that’s already out there,” said Councilman Bryan Webb. “We need to get LISD to the party.”
Skate park/community garden
Stathatos will spend the next few weeks gathering information about the public desire for a skate park and a community garden.
The skate park was part of the 2002 bond election. But since all of the money to construct other components of the bond package has been spent, the town is not obligated to go forward with it.
It's expected that the skate park would cost about $300,000, plus $109,000 for design modifications and to move a water line and a sidewalk.
Council members said last month that it appears interest in the park has dwindled, even though it ranked high on the 2010 residential survey.
Stathatos will go back to the council with a recommendation after examining several pieces of the project, including cost, location and community input.
“I want to get comfortable with how this was asked and who was asked so I can make a recommendation to the council,” Stathatos said.
Stathatos said he will examine several pieces of the community garden idea as well before making a recommendation on its future.
Following a brief presentation from the Flower Mound Police Department, the council directed the town staff to begin the process of setting up a community-wide meeting to address the issue of teen drug use in the town and surrounding areas.
Council members hope that will include addiction experts, law enforcement officials, church leaders, etc.
Police said marijuana, alcohol and prescription drugs are used most, though heroin is still on the radar.
From 2009 to 2011, there were at least 22 individuals age 23 or younger in Denton County who died of a drug overdose or a drug-related incident, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office.
Town hall/senior center
Hayden continued his push to have a new town hall and a senior center at The River Walk at Central Park, located north of FM 1171, east of FM 2499 and west of Morriss Road.
The council decided to wait until the results of a feasibility study on the two facilities is complete before deciding which direction to take. The results are expected back in April.