On March 11, Arlington held its 15th annual State of the City Address with Mayor Jeff Williams. It recapped developments within Arlington during the past year, from the pandemic to the World Series. The presentation was divided into five sections: the pandemic, economic development, tourism, transportation and innovation, and championing great neighborhoods.
CLICK HERE for part one.
Transportation and Innovation: Arlington’s most notable transportation innovation has been the three-year-long partnership with a rideshare company, Via. According to CBS News, Arlington is the first U.S. city to develop this kind of cost-saving transportation system. This year, Via expanded its services city-wide for just $8.3 million a year, compared to the $50 million spent in other cities. Other innovations include the Milo self-driving shuttles, the city’s partnership with Bell Helicopters, and the development of the I-30/SH 360 Interchange.
Arlington is also the only city in Texas and one of only eight in the nation to have received the What Works Cities Gold certification, the national standard for well-managed, data-driven local governments.
However, the city has not neglected basic but necessary tasks like filling potholes. The percentage of poor roads has been reduced from 20 to 9%.
Champion Great Neighborhoods: Mayor Williams’ goal is to enrich Arlington residents in all areas of their lives. For instance, the city just launched the first hi-tech library to encourage educational development and launched the Active Adult Senior Center to encourage physical wellbeing. Other innovations include the UTA Science and Engineering Innovation and Research (SEIR) building and the AISD Career and Technical Center.
Uniting Arlington: In the wake of George Floyd’s death last year, the mayor introduced a Citizens Committee made up of experts that would study social justice and make recommendations to the City Council. The council was excited about the idea and it has now been renamed the Unity Council. Some of the council’s objectives are creating a more robust program to increase Local and Minority/Woman Business Enterprise (MWBE) participation, create an executive position to oversee equity and equality issues in the city, and making the unity council permanent.
The mayor is also passionate about kindness. According to him, it is especially needed because Arlington has over 100 countries represented, so it is important to communicate with one another. One of the ways he has worked to inculcate kindness is through Arlington’s Unity Weekend where citizens come together to help their neighbors and the less fortunate.
This year, Unity Weekend will be from April 17 to 18th and will kick off with the Mayor’s Community Prayer Breakfast on April 16.
Watch the State of the City Address HERE.