Number 200, April 2020
City of University Park, Texas, 3800 University Blvd.
To our readers:   For years, the City has included a print version of the Arbor in its monthly utility bills. Given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 response and the need for timely and accurate information, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue a printed version of the newsletter for the foreseeable future. This electronic version contains all of the content that would have appeared in a printed copy without the danger of being out-of-date. Please continue to check the City’s website at uptexas.org and follow our social media platforms for the latest information on local COVID-19 advisories and their impact on City events and services. A reminder, while the COVID-19 crisis continues, the City will distribute a special Friday edition of UPdate. You can sign up to receive UPdate here.
Centennial Master Plan - Next steps
Last year, Council initiated a project to update the City’s Master Plan beginning with appointment of a resident steering committee to help guide the process. The primary task for the Committee was selection of a consultant to assist us with the project.
 
Following an RFP review process that evaluated multiple factors including experience, qualifications, methodology, references and cost, the Committee conducted interviews in late 2019. After a second interview, the Committee selected Gap Strategies as the finalist in early 2020. The City Council formally approved a contract for their service in February.
 
The Gap Strategies team has more than 180 combined years of municipal planning that includes former elected officials and former local government staff. Throughout the interview process, the Committee was consistently impressed with their innovative methods for engaging the community and their enthusiasm for the University Park project. References for Gap Strategies touted their ability to provide comprehensive plans that are unique, pragmatic, and easy to implement.
 
In early March, Gap Strategies joined city staff on-site for a project kick-off meeting with the Committee. The group shared ideas on aspirational outcomes for the master plan update and potential topics to be explored through this process.
 
Next steps include development of a survey to help refine and prioritize community issues to be addressed in the new Master Plan. Gap Strategies is working now to build a survey tool that can effectively gather this essential resident input. Rollout is anticipated this May, subject to COVID-19 precautions and disruptions. We are excited to hear from the community and are confident we have the right team to facilitate this important process.
 
In the coming weeks, continue to look for updates here in the Arbor, on social media and on the City’s website.
2020 Citizen of the Year search underway
The City is accepting applications for the 2020 Citizen of the Year Award. The City Council created the award to boost public awareness and appreciation for the many residents who work, often behind the scenes, to better the city's quality of life. Rather than acting out of a need for recognition, these residents are driven by a desire to contribute to their community. Whether beautifying our neighborhoods, increasing local opportunities for our youth, or raising money for various worthy projects, all demonstrate an exceptional level of citizenship.
 
To nominate a resident of any age, click on the green button below. Nominations must be received by Monday, June 1. A panel of residents will select and notify the honoree the week of June 8. Along with riding in the July 4th Parade, the honoree will be presented with a plaque and a special Citizen of the Year gift during a brief ceremony at the Goar Park Gazebo.
 
Nominees for Citizen of the Year must:
  • Be a University Park resident;
  • Have worked to improve the quality of life in University Park.

Current and former Mayors and Councilmembers are not eligible for this award. If you have questions about the nomination process, please call Steve Mace at 214-987-5301 or email him at: smace@uptexas.org.
 
Recent Citizen of the Year honorees:
 
2019 - Brad Bradley
2018 - Randy James
2017 - Jerry Washam
Pool pass sales will now begin on May 1
Pending COVID-19 orders and advisories, pool pass sales are now slated to begin May 1, and the Holmes Aquatic Center is scheduled to open on May 23. Please continue to consult the City’s website homepage and our social media platforms for the latest County and City COVID-19 updates. Health and safety orders could impact the summer schedule and our scope of activities and instruction.   
Help the City Fight the Bite
Now that spring is here and summer is just around the corner, here are simple steps residents can take to control mosquitoes. As always, the effort centers on eliminating standing water.   
 
To control mosquito breeding:
 
  • Use automatic sprinkler systems wisely
  • Don’t over irrigate
  • Cover trash containers so they don’t collect water
  • Change water in wading pools, pet dishes and birdbaths several times a week
  • Keep backyard pools clean
  • Keep unnecessary plant growth cut back
  • Clean or replace clogged roof gutters and downspouts
 
To protect yourself and family members:
 
  • While outside during dawn and dusk hours wear long sleeve, loose and light-colored clothing
  • Use insect repellents that contain DEET
 
Residents can report standing water locations to City staff. Dial 311, or call the Parks and Recreation Department at 214-987-5488. Residents can also call to arrange for a free property inspection and onsite advice on how to control mosquitoes.
 
During the summer and early fall, when mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus or are especially plentiful, the City will use social media and our website to notify residents in a timely fashion about targeted overnight fogging efforts aimed at controlling the mosquito population. 
 
The City’s twice-a-week water conservation measure is still in effect with outdoor watering days determined by street numbers.
 
  • Even - Residents with addresses ending in an even number can use automatic sprinkler systems on Sundays and Thursdays. 
  • Odd - Addresses ending in an odd number can use automatic sprinkler systems on Saturdays and Wednesdays. 
  • Buildings or facilities with multiple addresses will water based on their lowest street address number.
2020 Census
April 1 is Census Day! Census packets have been sent out and you should have received yours in the mail. Since you are spending more time at home, now is a great time to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail!

Some of the 2020 Census operations have been delayed due to COVID-19. Click here for a list of operational adjustments that the Census Bureau has created during these times.

Here is a list of noteworthy Census dates that have been delayed -
  • The self response phase has been extended through August 14
  • Census takers will interview households in person who have not responded online, by phone, or by mail from May 28 - August 14

Click the button below for more information about the 2020 Census.
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
Every year during the second week of April, telecommunications personnel in the 911 public safety community are honored. This week-long event, initially set up in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California, is a time to celebrate and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public on the other side of the phone. This year, the recognition will take place from April 12-18.
 
Now, more than ever, we celebrate our University Park 911 Dispatch staff. They serve as a vital link to police, fire and medical personnel in the field. They work nights, weekends, holidays and miss many family gatherings to do their job.
 
Our dispatchers are the calm reassuring voice whenever there is a crisis, and we appreciate all that you do, especially as COVID-19 continues to influence most aspects of our daily lives.
Social Distancing in UP Parks – Non-Adherence Citations
Individuals and groups using City parks are violating City and Council orders on social distancing. This is occurring despite onsite signage and social media advisories. For that reason UPPD officers have been given authorization to write citations to those not adhering strictly to requirements. When using the parks - remember:

  • No group practices or games
  • No athletic training in groups
  • Do not use playground equipment
  • Stay 6’ apart from other individuals at all times

Additional Information

  • Complaints about public and private gatherings - While the Stay at Home order provides exceptions for essential activities and businesses, it limits gatherings outside a household or living unit
  • UPPD officers are not making vehicle stops to determine whether occupants are on the roadways for essential personal activities or essential business activities

Please refer to the City and County orders on the City’s COVID-19 webpage for more information.