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City Council gets update on Comprehensive Plan

Posted by: tdt -

City Council gets update on Comprehensive Plan

By Cerise Merritt Ripps

With a new Dalhart City Council in place, the timing of Monday night’s review of the city’s Comprehensive Plan was ideal. During the regular council meeting, a joint workshop was held with council, Verdunity (the Dallas-Ft. Worth-based urban planning firm contracted to research and write the plan) and the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee to discuss the plan and its Future Land Use Map.

The plan’s Vision Statement is clear: “Dalhart is a diverse community that merges its rich agricultural heritage with urban progress, fostering a prosperous and closeknit community rooted in a culture of giving back. We are dedicated to upholding our rural identity, cultivating economic opportunity, and creating a memorable community where people choose to live, thrive, and prosper.”

Maddie Bonney, with Verdunity, described the Comprehensive Plan as a City Council gets update on Comprehensive Plan “basis and rationale for decision making.” During the research process, planners have looked at the city in its entirety, looked at it from a variety of different vantage points and looked at what the community wishes to achieve and how to get there, she explained.

“It’s both a guide for day-to-day and long-range planning,” she said and should be reviewed annually.

In its research, Verdunity learned that since 2000, the city’s service area (the geographic area to which the city provides water and garbage services) had grown by 28% while the population had only grown by 15%. Additionally, only 58% of the land within the city limits has been developed, leaving even more room for growth.

The company also researched what residents most want for Dalhart’s future. Unsurprisingly, the top concern was for additional affordable housing. That was followed by increased activities, whether restaurants or entertainment. Better signage was also requested. Community members wanted to preserved Dalhart’s heritage and flood plain, balanced with economic growth through diverse industries. They would also like to see a prettier town with stricter code enforcement with more beautification projects.

One of the area of focus was Dalhart’s downtown. People expressed that they want to keep its unique and historical feel, but want it to be livelier and more vibrant both for those who live here and for people passing through.

“Any redevelopment should include ground floor commercial with apartments above,” Bonney suggested.

There was also emphasis on the need for beautified entrances to the city and better signage along the highway corridor. These would both attract more visitors and slow down traffic. “You want people to know they’re entering a special place,” Bonney said. Verdunity began the project on Aug. 23, 2022 and has just completed the third of five phases. Phase 1 was to assess the community. Phase 2 was to explore issues, values and concerns. Phase 3, which was just completed, is analyzing data. Phase 4 will be to write the plan, followed by adoption, Phase 5, which is scheduled for January 2025.

In other business, the council heard a presentation from Fire Chief Mario Garcia, who recently graduated from Texas Fire Chiefs Academy.

They also awarded a plaque for eight years of service to the city to custodian Dorothy Carranza.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: The council will meet again at 6:00 p.m. Monday in special session with one agenda action item - hiring a new City Manager.


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