I recently had the pleasure of visiting with a local homeowners association and was asked to give an update about several projects in District 10.

First on the list was the bingo parlor going in at Lake Ridge shopping center at Audelia and Kingsley. No, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it from locating there because the zoning allows that use.

The City Council will take up a proposal to require a special use permit in community retail, but it will not close any existing businesses.

The Business and Commerce Committee of the Council will also look at other amusement uses and determine whether a special use permit should be required for them. The overriding thought is that community retail zoning should be just that – community retail.

DART station openings have been pushed back slightly. The Northwest Highway station (on the Knights of Columbus site) is now scheduled for a fall of 2001 opening. The LBJ/Skillman station is now April 2002, and the Forest Lane and LBJ/Floyd Road stations are now scheduled for the summer of 2002. All of these stations will be a big plus for District 10.

In April, automated garbage pickup will start in our garbage district. Not everyone will be issued the new 90-gallon containers at once. The new service will be phased in over six months, so by September all residences should have the new service.

Several residents, meanwhile, asked about our shopping centers and what can be done to draw more businesses to serve our community. The first thing that we all can do is shop in the businesses that are here.

Retailers want to locate where people shop, and we need to show them that we loyally shop at our local retailers. Before you get in your car and drive outside our neighborhood, think about who might have what you are looking for in our area.

What I am doing as chair of the Council’s Business and Commerce Committee is to ask our city manager to look at what other cities are doing about their aging shopping centers.

We may try to set up a summit of shopping center folks to see what the City can do to get these centers revitalized. The City realizes there are no sales tax dollars coming from empty centers, not to mention the loss from depressed property values.

On a personal note, thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers generated from the loss of my wife Joan’s mom in September. We are constantly reminded what a wonderful beautiful community we live in.