It’s finally time to bid farewell to 2013 – and we take a look back at the stories that captured our readers’ attention.
Here’s a list of 13 of MyArlington’s top stories for the year 2013.
1. George Strait – George Strait’s concert announcement was the one that captured the most attention for people in Arlington this year. Strait, who was recently crowned Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, announced a superstar lineup for his final concert taking place June 7, 2014, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. According to Strait, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Lee Ann Womack are scheduled to perform three songs each. Asleep at the Wheel will open the show. The concert is sold out.
2. UP Rail Renewal Project – Earlier this year, Union Pacific replaced 13 miles of rail in the City, requiring the simultaneous closure of numerous railroad crossings in Arlington for several days at a time. The City of Arlington launched an aggressive campaign to educate the public about the closures, providing emails, online updates and access to traffic webcams across the City to help residents navigate the closings. The campaign was successful, as drivers got through the rail renewal project with minimal delays.
3. Texas Sky Screamer – This year, Six Flags Over Texas unveiled the Texas Sky Screamer. The Texas SkyScreamer is now the park’s tallest attraction at 400 feet and holds a world record title as the tallest tower swing ride in the world. Up to 24 riders sit in open-air swings while spinning in a 124-foot circle at speeds up to 35 mph. At its 40 story peak, guests have the ultimate view of Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth.
4. Light Up Arlington – It was another successful year for this Independence Day event, which is held in downtown Arlington. Thousands gathered for an explosive night of entertainment at Arlington’s annual July 3rd fireworks festival. Light Up Arlington is held downtown at Founders Plaza and Levitt Pavilion. Attendees enjoyed a night filled with live music, great food and children’s activities topped off with a thrilling fireworks show.
5. Sam Moon Opens in Arlington – Sam Moon, a popular women’s accessories store, opened its doors near Parks Mall this year. This is the fourth and largest location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The new store offers shoppers more than 17,000 square feet of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, scarves, belts, hats, hair accessories, and so many handbags and purses they seem to take up every possible wall space.
6. Ride the MAX - In August, the City of Arlington officially launched its new commuter bus service – Metro ArlingtonXpress, or MAX. When the first bus left UT Arlington before dawn on August 19, the city officially shed the label of being the largest city without public transportation. The service is a partnership between the City of Arlington, UT Arlington, Arlington Chamber of Commerce and other business partners. Ridership has been holding steady with 250 trips per day.
7. Traffic Cameras – As Union Pacific made its way through Arlington to work on railroad tracks, the City began providing residents with views of various streets around the City. This helped drivers prepare for their commutes, allowing them to see which areas were congested due to construction. The service has been a hit, and the City will continue to provide the Arlington community with access to the traffic cameras online.
8. West Nile Virus Campaign – Residents around Arlington received tips on preventing West Nile virus as part of an aggressive educational campaign launched by the City after the confirmation of two WNV cases earlier this year. City crews were also out on surveillance, took water samples and followed up on calls from residents complaining about standing water. Contractors assisted with trapping and larviciding. Arlington saw significantly fewer WNV cases in 2013 compared to 2012.
9. Warrant Roundup – Arlington residents were very interested in the 2013 Great Texas Warrant Roundup. In March, Arlington joined more than 250 law enforcement jurisdictions from across Texas during the warrant roundup, which targets thousands of individuals with traffic, parking, city ordinance and penal code violations. This roundup is believed to be the largest joint operation of its kind. This year, 8,517 warrants were cleared in Texas and the state brought in $2,111,907 in total collections.
10. Arlington Business Owner Hollywood-Bound – The owner of Tin Cup sandwich shop in Arlington made his way to the red carpet in Hollywood this year for the premiere of Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. Lone Ranger has been Damon Carney’s biggest break since he started his acting career decades ago. In addition to Johnny Depp, the 45-year old father of two had the opportunity to act alongside Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson and Helena Bonham Carter.
11. Skateparks Come to Arlington – Skateparks announced in August that three skateparks would be coming to Arlington thanks to the City’s Parks and Recreation Department and the non-profit group, Cody Rocamontes, Inc. The first steps in Arlington’s Skatepark System Master Plan include outdoor skate facilities built at the Vandergriff, Randol Mill and Burl L. Wilkes Parks. Skateparks at these three City parks will be followed by more as Arlington’s Parks and Recreation Department hopes to provide fun, safe hangouts built for the skating community that are also easy to access.
12. “I Love Arlington” Pic of the Week – This year, we launched the “I Love Arlington” photo contest on Facebook, and our community really showed us their talents! This was a way to allow the community to tell us what they love most about our City through photography.
13. The Arlington Home Improvement Incentive Program – This year, residents wanted to learn about AHIIP – The Arlington Home Improvement Incentive Program, which is in place to help residents pay for capital improvements and energy-efficient renovations. A one-time rebate equal to 10 times the amount of the increase in City taxes will be paid to the homeowner based on the property’s pre-improvement and post-improvement appraised value.
We wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year!