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Willow Park

Grant will help police enforce traffic safety


Traveling through Willow Park via Interstate 20 is about to get a little safer.

At least that’s the plan after the city council approved an agreement between the Willow Park Police Department and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The agreement puts in place a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) - Impaired Driving Mobilization e-Grant to be awarded to the WPPD.

Through the 80/20 matching grant, TxDOT will award the WPPD up to $11,965.09 (80 percent) and the city will match up to $2,991.28 for four “waves,” or specific times of the year. During each wave Willow Park police officers will work overtime to conduct high visibility saturation of patrolling within the enforcement zone (the city limits), especially along the I-20 corridor.

“As part of our commitment to public safety, we entered into an agreement with TxDOT to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities,” Willow Park Police Chief Carrie West said.

Willow Park Police Sergeant Jaclin Ramirez presented the request to the council, noting that the department has responded to 120 crashes in the past 12 months.

“That doesn’t include assists we do all the way to the county line,” Ramirez said, adding that speeding is almost always a factor.

The speed limit along I-20 through Willow Park is 70 miles per hour.

Ramirez noted that the enforcement will not include traffic stop checkpoints.

The waves include:

  • Christmas/New Year’s, Dec. 16-Jan. 1.
  • Spring Break, March 3-19.
  • Independence Day, June 23-July 9.
  • Labor Day, Aug. 18-Sept. 4.

Ramirez said there will be a two-week campaign period with the public through such outlets as schools, social media and more.


New engineer hired

Following the council’s recent approval to create the position of city engineer, one was hired. Gretchen Vasquez has joined the city staff, coming from Aledo and also with experience in Cleburne, City Manager Bryan Grimes said.

“She has extreme municipal knowledge. We look forward to getting her up and running,” Grimes said.

Vasquez will supplement the work currently contracted out to Jacob and Martin. She will assist in nearly all levels of both the development department and public works.

Her duties will include — but are not limited to — plan reviews, input on development projects, consulting with the public works director to improve the water and sewer systems, streets, drainage, and other infrastructure needs as required.

Her salary, along with full benefits, will be funded from public works and the general funds. However, expectations are for the cost to be neutral as the development costs (e.g. plan reviews, etc.) being assessed by Jacob and Martin will partially supplement the salary.


New boat business

The council approved a special use permit for a boat dealership/sales/service just off of I-20 on the south side, near the Trinity Bible Church and Trinity Christian Academy. 

The applicant, Tommy’s Boats, plans to construct two buildings with a combined 17,700 square feet, the primary one-story building to be used as an office, showroom, and service area. The second will be a vertical storage/display building, which will showcase three boats. 


Mayor addresses recent election

Though it wasn’t a topic on the agenda, Mayor Doyle Moss commented on the recent election in which Willow Park citizens voted to allow for the annexation of the city’s fire department by Parker County Emergency Services District 1. 

For months, officials from the city and ESD1 have stressed such a decision would be good for all, providing many more dollars to the city for projects such as streets and parks, and perhaps even a new city hall. They have also noted that it would mean increased benefits and more for the fire department staff, and perhaps even additional staff.

“I’m excited for the chief and firemen for the vote we had,” Moss said. “I know with ESD1 it’ll be a good transition.”

The annexation will allow funding that has gone to the fire department, largely the projected $1.4 million in sales tax, to be used for other purposes.


Tree lighting

The city’s tree lighting will take place Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. at city hall. The evening will include hot chocolate and cookies. Also, Santa will make a special trip down from the North Pole for photos.

The public is invited to the free event.


Proclamation for Jim Martin

Longtime Willow Park resident and businessman Jim Martin was honored with a proclamation prior to Tuesday’s meeting. He began working in Willow Park in 1989 and was instrumental in the development of the city, including connecting water and sewer to the Squaw Creek Downs/Trinity Meadows racetrack, which is now the home of the Willow Park North development.

Martin bought, developed, deployed utilities, and sold more than 200 acres now known as Crown Pointe supporting retail, medical office buildings, surgical centers, senior living facilities, Texas Health Neighborhood Care and Wellness, and the new home and campus of Willow Park Baptist Church. He has been involved in numerous other projects throughout the city that have allowed Willow Park to grow and thrive.

He and his wife, Pat, are enthusiastic supporters of all things related to the city, including being contributors to the city’s first responders and nonprofits.


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