Texarkana City News

Texarkana City News

photo courtesy of the City of Texarkana, Arkansas

Texarkana, Arkansas by Robert J. Thompson

A new year always invites optimism and opportunity for individuals in leadership. Being new to this area has created a lot of excitement for me and my family, and we are thrilled to call Texarkana home. I look forward to a long tenure working with the city and serving the residents.

I believe this calendar year will bring opportunities for the City of Texarkana, Arkansas, to improve in several areas.

The Texarkana Arkansas Police Department (TAPD) is in the process of retrofitting Union Elementary School as a facility to house vehicle maintenance and personnel, recruiting, and other departmental units. The property will serve as a training facility for our officers and those attending our hosted courses. An active campaign is being planned to recruit quality candidates to fill the current vacancies.

The Animal Care and Adoption Center is expecting an increase in adoptions, along with the spaying/neutering of 500 plus animals. There will be an increase in animal services provided to the community.

The Texarkana Arkansas Fire Department will continue to provide excellent services to the community.

Texarkana Regional Airport will welcome a new terminal this year. The airport improvements are a joint project of Texarkana, Texas, and Texarkana, Arkansas.

The Public Works Department is working to improve roads, raze blighted properties, and address areas with overgrown grass. There are many areas that require the Public Works Departments’ attention, and this year, there will be a continuance of improvements.

photo by Matt Cornelius

Texarkana, Texas by David Orr

As the pages of the calendar turn and we close this chapter of celebrating our TXK 150 Sesquicentennial Year in 2023, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the remarkable achievements and progress that have defined our community in the past year.

In 2023, Texarkana, Texas, achieved significant milestones that have positively impacted the lives of our residents. From infrastructure enhancements to community-driven initiatives, our city has made notable strides in various areas.

A strategic partnership agreement was executed with the Macedonia-Eylau Municipal Utility District for the voluntary annexation of 339 acres along the Highway 59 and I-369 corridors that led to the announcement of $68 million in new commercial projects. A multi-departmental team worked on the project for over 18 months, which culminated with the unanimous voluntary consent of eleven different property owners in the area.

The voluntary annexation of an additional 84 acres along Pleasant Grove Road and Cooper Lane for future housing developments along both corridors was completed. A multi-departmental team worked on the voluntary annexation plans, development agreements, and plan review for both projects over a six-month period for city council consideration and approval.

The issuance of two major certificates of obligation to include approximately $35 million in capital improvement plan projects. The Sports Promotion, Tourism and Economic Development bond issuance of $14.7 million will include major improvements at the Swanger Baseball Complex, Dobson Field, Wallace Park, and Kharr Park along with major improvements to the Perot Theatre and a proposed new business incubator space in partnership with AR-TX REDI. The Water and Sewer Revenue Bond for $21.285 million will include lead and copper line identification and replacement, looping of dead-end water mains, automatic metering, State Line metering, and water and sewer relocation and improvements to the Waggoner Creek wastewater treatment plant.

A five-acre tract of city-owned land on Loop 151 was surveyed, cleared, and seeded to make the site shovel-ready for future development.

Over $302 million in new commercial construction was welcomed in Texarkana, Texas, with another $209 million slated in FY 23-24.

An Economic Impact Study of the Texarkana Arts & Historic District was completed, finding an overall impact of $6.5 million to the local economy.

A Chapter 380 incentive proposal was formulated to expand Sterno, which will relocate 100 new jobs from Memphis, Tennessee, to Texarkana, Texas, making Texarkana home to the largest Sterno plant in the United States.

Lights were installed at Grady T. Wallace Soccer Field with the help of the Texarkana Soccer Association. The National Fitness Campaign Fitness Court was installed in the Spring of 2023 with help from the National Fitness Campaign/Texas Blue Cross Blue Shield and AEP SWEPCO. Southwest Center Tennis Court rehabilitation and pickle ball court installation was completed in the spring of 2023.

Keep Texarkana Beautiful committee was restarted with new board members as appointed by council. The committee is focused on recycling and beautification while working on Keep Texas affiliate status and has already reactivated its 501(c)(3) status.

And that’s just to name a few! If you want to learn more, you can check out our annual report online. As we have bid farewell to 2023, what makes me even more excited is what’s on the horizon for 2024. With a city council poised to lead, and a staff determined to accomplish, we have set our eyes on a few ambitious projects for the new year. Here are a few of them...

Creation of a regional business incubator/creator space in collaboration with AR-TX REDI, Texas A&M University-Texarkana, Texarkana College, University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, and the City of Texarkana, Arkansas.

Continued work on the Courthouse Square Strategic Doing Initiative, and even more focus on the planning of a State Line Corridor redevelopment.

Planning and executing Texarkana’s first Solarbration event to extend a welcoming hand to all the visitors who will come to our city, many for the first time, to take in the solar eclipse in April 2024.

Internally, the City will also work on formalizing Memorandums of Understanding with a few strategic partners in the community, introducing even more employee development opportunities, and hosting several large bass fishing tournaments to drive outdoor tourism.

Reflecting on the accomplishments of the past year, it is evident our community is on a trajectory of growth and positive change. From infrastructure enhancements to vibrant community engagement, the collective efforts of our residents and city team have been nothing short of inspiring.


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