When 71-year-old Mayor William D. Tate took his wife, Betty, on a spin through the city on Christmas night, he was inspired as always by the friendly atmosphere, historic ambiance and magical sights they encountered.
“It’s a unique city,” Tate said.
Tate has seen myriad changes in the bustling city of roughly 50,000 people that bills itself as the Christmas Capital of Texas and was designated a World Festival & Event City award winner by the International Festival & Events Association.
“I like the town back then and I like it now,” he said. The lifelong Grapevine resident feels like he has contributed to the newer version.
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“We have what other cities would like to have,” Tate said. “There’s a hometown spirit and a feeling of camaraderie.”
One issue that has been a high priority dates to Nov. 6, 2012, when voters approved a general obligation bond issue for the proposed sale of almost $70 million in bonds for the two projects.
Proposition No. 1 was for bonds to construct a 108,000-square-foot public safety building to house the city’s municipal court, police detention center, law enforcement facilities and fire headquarters.
Tate knows what he wants, so when a lead architect unveiled plans for the building at a recent City Council workshop, Tate said the firm designed a sterile building more suited for Dallas than Grapevine. The architect returned quickly with a proposal that Tate embraced, saying it was more in keeping with the city’s historic feel.
Proposition No. 2 was for bonds to add 60,000 square feet to the recreation center. It will include a senior center, indoor pool, multipurpose rooms, game room, lockers, meeting rooms and other amenities. Plans are to move the senior activities center there.
Tate said that throughout his political career, he has received feedback that the residents “want a lot of things to do with their family together.”
The mayor said the city is well equipped to meet those desires, but said some issues are providing real challenges.
“We don’t have a lot of land left,” Tate said, “so we’re gong to bring in what fits here. We’re going to fill in the blanks with something unique that other cities don’t have. I think people are going to be surprised at what we’re going to be able to bring in.”
Another negative was the disruption caused by the DFW Connector Project.
“We lost our momentum with the construction of the highways,” the mayor said. “And we’re going to have to be bold and aggressive to get it back.”
Even so, he said, “Some of the best is yet to come. The city is not going to flame out.”