Number 215, July 2021
City of University Park, Texas, 3800 University Blvd.
Former State Representative selected 2021 Citizen of the Year
Daniel H. Branch, former member of the Texas House of Representatives, current member of City of University Park’s Legislative Committee and leading Dallas attorney, has been selected as the City of University Park’s 2021 Citizen of the Year. 

During his six terms in the Texas House from 2003 to 2015, Dan spearheaded and successfully advocated for multiple pieces of legislation that benefitted the residents of University Park and the State. He served on the powerful Legislative Budget Board and a number of key House committees, including the Appropriations and Public Education Committees. In addition, Dan chaired the House Higher Education Committee for six years.

Among his many legislative accomplishments, he authored the Minute of Silence and Pledge of Allegiance Law, allowing a time of silent prayer to return to our public schools, and the landmark 2009 House Bill 51 Tier One Universities Law. He also authored the bill reforming the Texas’ Top Ten Percent College Admissions Law, which has helped thousands of high achieving students get into top Texas public universities. In addition, he authored legislation naming the Margaret Hunt Hill and the Margaret McDermott Bridges and a portion of Central Expressway as the George W. Bush Expressway. His legislative work ensured UT Dallas and UT Southwestern received hundreds of millions of dollars of research and other funding. Dan also worked successfully to rein in Robin Hood school finance laws and reduce property taxes for University Park residents. Texas Monthly magazine recognized Dan among its Top Ten Legislators in 2009 and 2011.

After serving in the legislature, Dan began his first term on the University Park Legislative Committee. Six years later, he is still a member of the committee. He enjoys working closely with the City Manager and the Mayor, and notes this kind of involvement is his way of giving back to a community that he cares for deeply.

The small-town nature of University Park is one of the attributes Dan enjoys most about the community. He described our city as an “oasis” that brings calm and peace whenever he returns home, whether he is returning from Austin or just making the short trip from his offices in downtown Dallas. “It’s a very comfortable life as a resident of University Park,” Dan said. “I feel quite fortunate to live here.” 

Dan was surprised when Mayor Stewart called him with the news of his selection as Citizen of the Year. He had recently seen the Mayor, who mentioned that he had something to discuss with him. “I thought it had something to do with a legislative item or an issue in Austin,” Dan said. “This honor was not something I was expecting!”

Dan first arrived in University Park in 1980 to attend SMU School of Law. Following law school, Dan served as a judicial clerk to the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Formerly an attorney with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and later BakerBotts, he went on to found Langley & Branch, which later merged with the firm of Winstead PC, where he is a shareholder. With interludes in New York City, Washington D.C. and Austin, Dan has lived in University Park since graduating law school. Dan and his wife Stacey have five grown children, who all attended HPISD schools. They are proud grandparents of four grandchildren.

The Mayor presented Dan with a plaque and a special Citizen of the Year gift, and Dan will ride in the Independence Day Parade on Saturday, July 3. The Citizen of the Year award was created by the City Council in 2005 to boost public awareness and appreciation for the many residents who work, often behind the scenes, to better the City’s quality of life.
2021 Park Cities Independence Day Parade - Saturday, July 3
This year's parade will be held on Saturday, July 3. The parade will start at Highland Park Town Hall at 9 a.m. and proceed north on Preston Road to University Boulevard, heading east until ending in Goar Park. This year’s parade theme is United We Stand. The parade is dedicated to frontline City and Town staff members and all area healthcare providers who tirelessly served the Park Cities during February’s winter storm and COVID-19.
For more information about the parade go to the Rotary Club of the Park Cities website

Post-Parade Event in Goar Park
As the parade winds down, join us for some post-parade fun in Goar Park! Activities will end by 1 p.m.   
  • Outdoor Movie (patriotic-themed)
  • Fun Zone with bungee jump and rock climbing wall
  • “Silent Party” outdoor concert
  • E-sports gaming tournament
  • SMU football players will be signing autographs and participating in E-sports tournament

Thank you to our sponsors of the Post-Parade Celebration! 
Stormwater Improvement Project Update – Upcoming closure of a portion of Hillcrest 
As area residents and motorists know, work is well underway on a multi-year project to upgrade the City’s stormwater system and reduce storm runoff in the neighborhoods near Caruth Park. This construction involves the replacement of existing underground stormwater pipes with large concrete boxes underneath Southwestern and Hillcrest, and it requires the removal of a substantial amount of street surface. 

Portion of Hillcrest will soon be closed to all traffic
By the middle of this month, construction will be completed for the segment that includes the intersection of Turtle Creek and Southwestern and the 3400 block of Southwestern. When the contractor reaches the intersection of Southwestern and Hillcrest, a portion of Hillcrest will be closed to all traffic. We anticipate this closure will begin the week of July 12. Weather permitting, this closure will last for six to eight months as work progresses north a block at a time on Hillcrest, between Southwestern and Colgate. To alert motorists, digital message boards have been positioned on Hillcrest at Northwest Highway and at Lovers Lane. As construction on this section of Hillcrest moves north, detour routes will change. As we get closer to the start of the 2021-22 school year, the City will work with HPISD on routes to impacted campus populations. As always, we thank you for your patience and cooperation!
Demolitions scheduled as part of SMU's Moody Hall project
The University Park City Council recently approved a zoning change associated with SMU's plans to build Frances Anne Moody Hall, a four-story complex which will house the Moody Graduate School. The zoning change gave the University the go-ahead to rework a current surface parking lot on the east side of the build that will also feature additional green space. The first phase of the Moody Hall project includes testing and abatement for 23 homes the University will demolish on land the school purchased during the past few years. Demolition is scheduled to begin in late August or early September, and end in October, and construction fencing will soon be installed.
Texas Health Dallas commends first responders
Each year, University Park Fire Department paramedics respond to hundreds of emergency medical calls. Among the most challenging are cardiac arrest situations. Last April, over the course of just a few days, crews responded to two calls that required successful field resuscitation, ambulance transport and immediate emergency room care. The fact that both patients were discharged from the hospital days later without any neurological issues speaks to the premier level of response and service that is provided by the City's first responders and their teammates at our nearby hospitals.

During the June 15 City Council Meeting, representatives from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas presented UPFD with a plaque commending the paramedics and police officers who responded to the Gregory household. During the presentation, Kevin Gregory publicly thanked all those involved for the exceptional medical care and emotional support that he and his family received. Shown with Kevin and his family are some of the first responders who were on scene, and some of his hospital caregivers.
City receives Preservation Achievement Award for Mockingbird Wall restoration
University Park has received the Stewardship Award in the Preservation Achievement Awards, presented by Preservation Dallas, for the restoration of the David R. Williams Lomo Alto brick wall along Mockingbird. The wall, designed decades ago by Dallas architects Marion Foshee and James Cheek, was intended to be one of the first subdivision entries in the area and is viewed by hundreds of motorists each day. Foshee and Cheek also designed Highland Park Village in 1931, which became the first self-contained shopping center in the country.

Costing $170,000, the project was funded from the City’s Capital Improvements Budget and was completed in August 2017. The scope of the project included masonry repair, wall painting, lighting upgrades, landscape enhancements and paint. The wall was reinforced using existing material, and new lighting fixtures were added to entrance towers. Prior to the preservation, the site was densely planted with trees that could not reach full maturity due to lack of sunlight. Working directly with residents, the City selectively removed some trees to reduce competition for light and also chose plants adapted to North Texas that are shade tolerant to create a boulevard effect.

Founded in 1972, Preservation Dallas is dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of historic buildings, neighborhoods and places. The 22nd annual Preservation Achievement Awards were held virtually on June 30.
Coyote sightings and online reporting process
Seen along the banks of Turtle Creek, coyotes are a fact of life in nearly all urban areas. Coyotes are omnivores that eat plants and animals including skunks, possums and raccoons. Do not intentionally feed a coyote. Since they prefer to find easy meals, they are also attracted to:
  • Dog and cat food that is left outside
  • Rotting fruit under trees
  • Bird seed on the ground (position bird feeders so that coyotes cannot get feed)
  • Trash that is accessible due to garbage containers that are not properly secured

Additionally, it's a good idea to keep small pets inside overnight and to accompany your pets outside, especially at night.

Even though coyotes have adapted to living in cities and towns, they are generally wary of people. If you see a coyote in your yard, wave your arms, shout and spray it with a water hose. It is likely to leave the area quickly after any of these actions.  

If you see a coyote and you want to notify the City, if you want to look at a map of recently reported activity, or you would like to read the City's policy on coyote management, click here.
"A Taste of UP" at the Holmes Aquatic Center
Last month, the Parks and Recreation Department began showcasing local restaurants by offering poolside food service at the Holmes Aquatics Center so patrons can experience “A taste of UP.” Each week, the pool features a different restaurant and encourages food delivery services during pool operating hours. Here is the remaining schedule!

June 28-July 4: Amore' Italian 
July 5-July 11: Yumilicious
Clean out a shelf or two and provide reading enjoyment for others
If you have some good reads that could bring enjoyment to others, the Friends of the UP Library are gathering used books at the Peek Service Center, 4420 Worcola from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday.