Southlake — Mayor John Terrell foresees plenty of change in 2014.“What’s great about what’s coming up is we are going to see a lot of things come to fruition that we've been putting a lot of work into over the last many years,” he said.One of those things is the Department of Public Safety North facility off East Dove Road, which has its grand opening on Jan. 14. It houses a fire engine crew, but also ushers a new era of training for the city’s police and fire.The building features classrooms and the city’s largest auditorium that can be used for training. It also has a gun range that will allow staff to train in the city.“The most important thing is higher safety for everybody,” Terrell said.While the DPS facility is near completion, the Community Recreation Center in Bicentennial Park will begin construction this year.The first phase includes community spaces and a senior center.There is more construction in store for the city aimed at improving infrastructure and roadways. One of the more notable projects will be the a turnaround off State Highway 114, just east of North Carroll Avenue. The turnaround will lessen traffic, especially for commuters heading to and around Gateway Church.Terrell focused on several challenges the city will face in 2014 and beyond: traffic, sidewalks and water.“These are the kind of things that never get totally solved,” he said, “You’re always working to make it better.”While some projects have a direct effect on traffic -- such as incoming intersection improvements along 1709 -- the completion of others, such as the opening of FM 1938 from 1709 to State Highway 114, will have indirect impacts.The latter will open another route for travelers wanting to avoid Southlake’s shopping district and get on the highway.Terrell cited the building of sidewalks throughout the city as an ongoing project.“We continue to hear that folks really want sidewalks,” he said. “We’ve really put a huge emphasis on getting those sidewalks put in place.”The city plans to have a section of sidewalk installed along 1709 from Grand Avenue to Foxborough Drive in early January.The other challenge is educating residents on the importance of water conservation, while improving infrastructure.
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770 Twitter: @dustindangli