The Terrell City Council on Tuesday appointed six members to a new seven-person body charged with recommending major improvements to Terrell’s parks and downtown.
If things work out as hoped, the actions of the new board will positively shape the quality of life in Terrell for decades to come.
Appointed board directors for the Parks and Downtown Improvement Corp. (PADIC) were Hillary Heisel, Sarah Kegerreis, city Alderwoman Mayrani Velazquez, Tori Lucas, Matt Oakley and J.C. Jackson. The council voted 3-1 to table the appointment of the seventh and final spot on the board.
Voters last fall approved creation of the new Class B corporation, which will be funded with a portion of the city’s ½-cent sales tax. Previously, all the revenue generated by the ½-cent sales tax went to the Terrell Economic Development Corp. Now both entities will share that revenue. PADIC is expected to take in about $800,000 per year, according to City Manager Mike Sims.
Terrell’s EDC, which was approved by voters in 1990, has had a huge run of success, according to Sims. The entity, which has won statewide acclaim on several occasions, has been key in adding hundreds of millions of dollars to the city’s tax base and attracting thousands of new jobs to Terrell.
Those economic gains put the city in a position to devote some sales tax revenue to quality of life projects, Sims noted. Those projects will be in the arenas of parks and Terrell’s downtown, and the projects should be big, meaningful and long lasting.
The people on the PADIC board “should not think ‘Let’s do little things.’ The message to them is go do big things that are as long term and as impactful to the city of Terrell as the Type A (EDC) was.”
“They’re not going to be doing economic development; they’re going to be doing quality of life development,” Sims said.
The PADIC board is expected to formulate plans and recommend capital improvements in association with the downtown and parks master plans developed in 2017.
“They should be picking the cream of the crop out of those plans and saying which one of these projects will make the biggest difference in Terrell” and will stand the test of time, Sims said.
“You want to have people on that board who can really accept that kind of challenge,” he stated. “You don’t want somebody on that board who thinks small, you’ve got have somebody on that board who thinks big.”
As it stands, Velazquez is the sole member of the City Council to be named to the PADIC board. Alderman Tim Royse indicated a desire to also serve on the board, but other members of the council wanted more time to decide whether to appoint a council member or another citizen at large. They voted 3-1 to table the decision with Royse opposing.