Recap: Mayor Chris Watts' State of the City Speech

Denton City Council, city staff and various community members gathered to share the achievements of Denton and the prospects for the future at the “Denton State of the City” on Thursday Feb. 15. The event was held at the new Embassy Suites Convention Center which opened in early January. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle more than 300 people filled the space.

To kick off the evening, Mayor Chris Watts presented a formal speech on the growth and development of the city, the improvements on capital, as well as many other milestones in different sectors.

“The key strategic plan of Denton is organizational excellence, public infrastructure, economic development, safe and livable family-friendly community, sustainable and environmental stewardship,” Watts said.

Watts described Denton as “a city in transition,” as Denton has seen change in personnel, processes, projects, and partnerships. Some of the projects planned for 2018 include reconstruction of 68 bond-funded streets, and the implementation of a Project Management Office which coordinates projects across all departments; new development of a Denton Renewable Resource Plan that will place the city on a path for 100 percent renewable energy; implementation of a business retention and expansion program which will focus on helping local businesses meet their goals and keep them in Denton; the addition of a new Fire Drill Tower facility for regional training; and renovation of the American Legion Hall, the design of a new North Lakes Park Tennis Center, and the hosting of Texas Amateur Athletic Federation State Youth Basketball Tournament.

Dentonite Mone’t Franklin said she overall liked Watts’ speech.

“I enjoyed it," Franklin said. "I loved the infrastructure part, how the city wants to work on the roads and all the new things coming to town. Everything I had questions for was pretty much covered, but I did hope for more shopping centers coming in." 

Denton’s new 100 percent renewable energy plan caught most of the room’s attention. Progressive candidate for Texas House District 64 Mat Pruneda spoke about his own concerns for a clean growth.

“I’ve been in Denton since 1992 and it was always said that Denton was the heart of the golden triangle," Pruneda said. "What I would like to see is responsible growth that preserves the health of people, that we find ways and use technology that will not just reduce emissions but improve air quality. I’ve got a son with a breathing condition and the costs are about over 10,000 dollars a year, and that’s with insurance. There are other people in Denton who cannot afford it. I have the money to barely afford it. My goal is that we can come together and make plans to not just grow the town but improve quality of life."

With the expansion of Rayzor Ranch and the addition of Alamo Drafthouse, Plucker’s, and the construction of a 300-room, 70,000 square foot Embassy Suites, the address explained how the future of Denton looks promising. With growth comes turbulence but many share the same hope that Denton will maintain its community feel. As Watts said in his address, “Denton is a very, very caring and loving community.”

Header image by Jordan Villarreal.
Header image layout designed by Christopher Rodgers