Arlington: once sleepy suburb that has awaken to bright, shiny future

Posted Friday, Oct. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Arlington for decades — to those who were not residents — was considered simply the “hyphen” between Dallas-Fort Worth, a sleepy bedroom community bisected by a toll road with little hope of escaping the shadows of its much larger municipal siblings.

Although it eventually became home to a General Motors plant and one of the state’s top tourist attractions in Six Flags Over Texas, for years its growth and its economy were stymied.

Now the nation’s 50th largest city, the state’s seventh most populated and Tarrant County’s second-biggest municipality, Arlington definitely can no longer be referred to as a struggling ’burb overwhelmingly dependent on the largess of its better-known neighbors.

That point was never made more clear than in Mayor Robert Cluck’s annual State of the City address Tuesday to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. He ticked off a long list of economic accomplishments that included another year of increased sales and property taxes, major retail and commercial development and expansion of the General Motors plant that added 1,000 workers.

Home to stadiums for both the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, Arlington expects another record sales tax collections year with $53.7 million in receipts for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The previous record was $50.5 million.

Cluck specifically touted the ever-expanding Arlington Highlands shopping center with more than 800,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and entertainment features. It has become the city’s fifth largest taxpayer and sales tax generator.

He also cited the ongoing development of Viridian, a subdivision in north Arlington that’s adding 100 new homes to the 130 already there.

The additional residential and commercial development is expected to increase property tax revenues for decades to come, said Cluck, who has been mayor since 2003.

To emphasize just what a big city Arlington has become, Cluck noted that it was no longer the largest city in the country without public transportation. He said the new Metro ArlingtonXpress bus service is already a success story after less than three months of operation, averaging 250 riders a day.

“Our best days are ahead,” Cluck declared.

And that’s a declaration most would not have made with confidence just a few decades ago.

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