From maintaining its reputation as a leader in the exploration of innovative transportation technology to the pursuit of economic, tourism and education opportunities, Arlington continues to dream big when it comes to creating a bright future for our community. That’s the message Mayor Jeff Williams delivered at the 2018 State of the City address, hosted by the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at the newly opened Esports Stadium Arlington.The American Dream City celebrated numerous major milestones this year, including opening the largest esports venue in North America
and the $250 million Texas Live! dining, entertainment and hospitality district
, winning the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management
, and being named the best-run city in Texas
.“Our competitive, can-do spirit makes dreams a reality. It’s a positive spirit that has been demonstrated many times over with big initiatives throughout our history,” Williams said. “We are home to a host of global, domestic and family-owned businesses. The American pride in our culturally-diverse citizens is undeniable.”Tourism and economic development weren’t the year’s only big headline makers. Arlington also captured the national spotlight through its innovative transportation pilot programs, including profiles by CBS This Morning
and U.S. News and World Report.
Arlington, which was the first city in the United States to offer continuous autonomous shuttle service to the public through pilot program that operated on park trails, is now the first Texas city to offer on-street, self-driving shuttle service to the public
through a partnership with Drive.ai. The City is also continues to invest in its Via Rideshare service
, which has provided more than 85,000 rides since it launched last December. The affordable, on-demand public transportation service area currently includes approximately 170,000 residents and 92,000 jobs. Marble also began mapping north Arlington sidewalks for future autonomous robot personal delivery service earlier this year after the Arlington City Council issued an invitation to companies to come test their technology in a real-world environment.“I have visited and tracked Arlington over the past decade. I am amazed at the incredible progress you have made,” said Richard Florida, the University of Toronto’s Director of Cities and a Distinguished Fellow at New York University. “Arlington is defining what it is to be an innovative city.”A few other highlights the mayor discussed this year included:
- Globe Life Park will become home to a new XFL football team starting in February 2020, shortly before the Texas Rangers begin playing at the $1.2 billion, climate-controlled Globe Life Field. The announcement marks the first step in the process to repurpose Globe Life Park after the Rangers play the team’s last season at the ballpark in 2019.
- The George W. Hawkes Downtown Library, a three-story, 80,000-square-foot library of tomorrow, opened to much fanfare in June. Thasunda Duckett, CEO of Chase Consumer Banking and a Sam Houston High School graduate, was the library’s largest individual donor. The Otis and Rosie Brown Living Room on the library’s first floor is named in honor of Duckett’s parents.
- Bell unveiled its experimental V-280 Valor Tiltrotor aircraft at its newly expanded, state-of-the-art Flight Research Center near the Arlington Municipal Airport.
- The Arlington Independent School District is making a record $663 million investment in the district’s facilities, including a new Fine Arts Center and Athletics Complex that will open in 2020.
The entire State of the City address will air multiple times on the City’s government cable channel, MyArlingtonTV, at AT&T U-verse Channel 99 and Spectrum channel 16. You can find a weekly TV schedule here.