Spotlight on Kennedale

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Kennedale by the numbers 6,930 population (2010 Census) 37.7 median age $146,100 median home value $66,402 median family income Source: City of Kennedale

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Like so many cities and towns across the country, Kennedale’s past began with the railroad.

Settled in the 1860s, Kennedale is named after Oliver S. Kennedy, who platted the area and donated lots to the Southern Pacific Railroad. It’s a connection that helped the city grow.

It’s a past that the town still embraces — so much so that the Union Pacific Railroad this month recognized the town as Train Town USA.

But while lovingly holding on to that past, city leaders say Kennedale is working to solidify its future as an upcoming and beautiful cities by placing heavy importance on beautification, housing growth and partnerships with other communities.

In his 2013 State of the City address earlier this month, Mayor John Clark said his vision is to make Kennedale a place that is, “Family-oriented, economically prosperous, business-friendly and conveniently located, providing opportunities to live, work and play.”

Part of that effort was the city’s crusade, over the past several years, to rid itself of the adult entertainment stores that once prospered near Interstate 20 and Business 287.

Now a QuickTrip is located in that area, and there is hope that new zoning ordinances will attract new, family-friendly businesses, Human Resources Director Kelly Cooper said.

Beautification projects

The city also has been involved in a continuing effort to enhance the appearance of the city by improving upkeep of its parks and by improving landscaping along Kennedale Parkway with TxDOT’s Green Ribbon Project.

Their work has already earned the city a Scenic City Certification from the state along with five other cities including Houston, McKinney, Rockwall, Seabrook and West University Place. The certification program incorporates a comprehensive set of model standards for design and development of public roadways and public spaces to improve the quality of life.

Starting in 2014, the city hopes to see the completion of many new homes. Beacon Hill Phase Two is currently underway with 54 new homes coming to Mansfield Cardinal Road. The Vineyards, on the corner of Little Road and Mansfield Cardinal, will see 117 new homes.

But one of the biggest things that makes the city family oriented and prosperous is its community events and partnerships with nearby cities.

A symbol of that community spirit is the 9-11 memorial next to City Hall. On Sept. 11 every year, the community gathers around one of the largest pieces of steel to be found in a small city that were taken from ruins of the Twin Towers in New York City.

Near the steel is a timeline which details the time each different event occurred that day with the memorial acting as a sundial, the shadow crosses the timeline corresponding to the time of day and the time of the event.

“It’s really some unique engineering,” Clark said.

Soon, the city will also welcome a new butterfly garden with a workday on Nov. 9 to encourage all citizens to enjoy their environment. Arbor Day, Cooper said, was also a popular event among locals, a part of Keep Kennedale Beautiful’s goals to involve the public in the beautification efforts.

Reaching out

Reaching beyond its city limits, Kennedale is also working with Arlington, Mansfield and Grand Prairie on a regional trail system, working on a pathway connecting Lake Arlington, Mansfield and Trinity River. The project goal would create convenient access to the different areas for Kennedale residents.

For now, the government is working on continuing transparency to its citizens, making budgets and other documents publicly available online. Officials have even converted to an eNewsletter format to cut costs and provide citizens with increased, quicker information.

“I’m very proud of the people in this city,” Clark said. “We have that small-town feel where everybody knows everybody, multigenerational families — we’re very lucky.”

Taylor Prater, 817-390-7964 Twitter: @taylornprater

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