Haslet mayor optimistic on city growth in 2013

Posted Monday, Jan. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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HASLET - The start of a new calendar year brings out the optimist in Bob Golden.

"I think 2013 could be a banner year for Haslet," he said.

Golden, the Haslet mayor, has plenty of reasons to be enthusiastic. After all, the City Council this year could have the chance to weigh in on a number of significant decisions that could shape the city's near- and long-term development.

One of those key projects is a proposed widening and realignment of Westport Parkway. The proposal would involve the major road, which is four lanes west of the Michael's distribution center, being reconfigured to align with Avondale-Haslet Road at its intersection with Farm Road 157.

Westport realignment project could give the city a major east-west thoroughfare that could aid economic development consultant David Miracle and city officials in attracting future commercial development.

The realignment would mean Westport would feed directly into a prime location for current and future commercial development referred to as the Four Corners.

The proposed realignment would also give current residents improved access to new developments just beyond the Haslet city limits, such as a new Wal-Mart Supercenter set to open soon along U.S. 287 west of town.

The Westport Parkway project, which is shown on Haslet's master thoroughfare plan, won't happen right away.

A railroad track in the path of the proposed realignment will go away - but not until 2014. However, the council could begin planning and acquiring right of way for the project as far west as Schoolhouse Road. Part of the funding for the Westport project could come from the developers of a proposed master-planned community in the city's extra-territorial jurisdiction.

Owner Gary Hazlewood is pursuing a municipal-utility district agreement with the city of Haslet that would clear the way for him to bring 1,000 rooftops to the Haslet ETJ.

The proposed neighborhood would have a higher density than the half-acre minimum lots required in the city limits. The council could not control the overall density but could enforce certain building standards that indirectly should ensure a quality development of high price point homes.

"The city has a level of control to make sure it fits our vision," Golden said. "Or we say no or change our plans."

Adding more rooftops to the Haslet area could help solve the city's "green" problem. Golden said major restaurants the city has pursued said the city has too few houses - it is too green - within a few miles of the Haslet city limits to consider opening up a location there at this time.

"Are we going to change the way we do business?" Golden said of the city's need for more homes vs. its commitment to low-density growth. "Everybody's going to have to give a little bit."

The council is planning to give a little bit more support to its fire department. Kirt Mays, who has been the volunteer department's EMS coordinator, will soon be hired on as the full-time fire chief. He is retiring as a captain from the Colleyville fire department.

Mays and his crew could soon have an important new piece of equipment at their disposal.

The city is considering acquiring a mini-pumper. The vehicle, which is smaller than a traditional fire engine, could be brought to most calls the department responds to, saving some wear and mileage on its aging ladder truck and fire engine.

Also, the council plans to update the city's strategic plan this year. Add it all up, and all of the possible projects leave Golden enthused about the decisions awaiting the council in the coming months.

"It's an exciting time even though we don't have a lot of concrete plans," Golden said.

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