As he opened Councilman Adam McGough’s State of the District address Tuesday night, Lake Highlands resident and Fox 4 News traffic guru Chip Waggoner commiserated with attendees.
“I get it,” said Waggoner. “I feel your pain.”
Waggoner was referring to the on-again, off-again nature of improvements to the dangerous and congested LBJ East fiercely advocated for by McGough since they were taken off the agenda by the Texas Department of Transportation in December.
“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been accused of having high-paid consultants,” said McGough, following Waggoner on the podium and thanking constituents for expressing themselves to lawmakers. “You have stood up against our state leaders.”
Sen. Don Huffines, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick all fought the addition of optional toll lanes identical to those on LBJ West. The matter will be discussed again at a TXDOT meeting today/Thursday.
Engagement by constituents, said McGough, has led to notable successes as he completes his third year in office. If we were “turning a corner” in 2016, he said, 2018 has been a year of “firing on all cylinders.”
Restaurants and retail outlets are opening at the town center and near Alamo Drafthouse, and a refurbishment of Lakeridge Village is set to begin soon. Forest-Audelia was designated an opportunity zone by federal authorities. A Public Improvement District was created in North Lake Highlands to beautify the area and fight crime. Securing Dallas Police as School Resource Officers has led to a 70 percent reduction in school suspensions and a 60 percent reduction in fights at LHHS. Project Safe Neighborhoods will bring federal resources to reduce crime in the area from Forest-Audelia to Vickery Meadow. Funding has been secured for the Willie B. Johnson recreation center, the Forest Green Library, the All-Access Playground at Flag Pole Hill, erosion and flood control projects and the Aquatics Center at the rec center.
“We’re poised for a lot of progress, and it will be hard for us to mess this up,” McGough joked.
McGough lamented the recent tragedy of the Home Depot shooting, but added that LH residents are resilient.
“We have reasons to celebrate, and we’re just getting started.”
Special guests Mayor Mike Rawlings and District Attorney Faith Johnson were on hand, as was Dallas Police Chief and LH resident Renee Hall.
“We have seen some successes and we’re very proud of that,” said Hall, “but we have a lot left to do, and we’re committed to that.” The city is working to end panhandling, she said, and to recruit officers lost during uncertainty over pensions. “We are seeing successes in recruiting, so please keep praying for us.”
Lake Highlands High students are now included in the Mayor’s Rising Star Council program, and when asked what they’d like to see added in the neighborhood, Wildcats mentioned a community volleyball court at the Lake Highlands North recreation center. Construction plans are in the works. Also planned is the building of “Lake Highlands” median monuments at entries to the neighborhood and a “pitch packet” to promote economic development. A new group, Friends of Lake Highlands Trails, will encourage construction, use and linkage of hike and bike trails in our community.
If you’d like to discuss any of these issues with Councilman McGough, you may email him at Adam.McGough@DallasCityHall.com.