As the New Year gets started, I hope that your holidays were filled with joy and great memories. The Blaydes clan was a bit scattered but managed to get together at different times throughout the season. If you are like me, short visits are better than none at all when it comes to my family and friends.

With the passage of the Lake Highlands Tax Increment Finance District (TIF), things have begun to pick up on several proposed projects within the district. Town Center is back on track. Kingsley Square is under construction. Trammell Crow Company is hard at work on the plans for a major retail project at Skillman and Northwest Highway. The Northwest Terrace Apartments have been put under contract for redevelopment. General Growth Company, from Chicago, is looking at two different locations for other developments in the area.

The point is, Lake Highlands is a viable and desired location for new retail today. I agree with Realtors who feel our centers are old and in need of updating, but I sure disagree with those who continue to preach doomsday for new retail in our town. The locations may change.

Our area was certainly well represented by the Lake Highlands High School Wranglers in the national holiday parades televised for all to see. Watching you provides just one more reason to believe in Lake Highlands’ future. You guys and gals have made our area of Dallas a nationwide household name due to your efforts. Thank you for a job well done!

Keep your eyes open for an announcement regarding our next town hall meeting. I plan to hold one in late January at the high school to get your input regarding a 2006 bond proposal for city needs, give a state of the city report, and introduce you to the Town Center developers. Filling the auditorium is my goal as always.

Thank you again for allowing me to represent you at City Hall.