As we prepare to welcome 2024, this week we’re looking back at some of the City’s accomplishments during the past 12 months.
2023 Year in Review Part 6
Happy New Year’s Eve, NRH! Today we’re highlighting some of our favorite moments of 2023 with the North Richland Hills Police and Fire Departments.
Mike Young was sworn in as the city’s new police chief, following the retirement of long-time Chief Jimmy Perdue. Young, a 38-year veteran of the department, served as Assistant Police Chief for 10 years.
Detective Erik Whitlock was honored by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office with an award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing. This award recognizes law enforcement from across the country for their exceptional work in criminal investigations, field operations, and innovative community policing strategies. Detective Whitlock was presented with the award in the category of Criminal Investigations for his exceptional work in solving a cold case – the shooting of one of our officers in 2003.
In an ongoing commitment to the safety and security of our community, North Richland Hills Emergency Management, alongside Birdville ISD, hosted a full-scale, multi-agency, and mass casualty training exercise at Richland High School. The event brought together over 20 local agencies and nearly 400 participants to collaborate, test and strengthen our emergency response procedures.
K-9 Luka received a donated ballistics vest from The Duke and Oliver Foundation and Grubbs Family of Dealerships.
The Police Department was awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services to add four patrol officer positions. The grant will help fund the new positions for the next 3 years. If you or someone you know is interested in serving, check out NRHPD’s new recruiting website at https://www.joinnrhpd.com/.
The Fire Department held a push-in ceremony to place a new fire engine into service. It replaced an engine that had been in service since 2003.
The Fire Department received grant funding for a “blocker” vehicle to be used at motor vehicle accidents and other incidents in the roadway. This will improve safety for crews and drivers. The new blocker truck will be ready for service in early 2024.
The Fire Department exceeded 10,000 calls for service in 2023, setting a new record for the department.
The Fire Department had 7 EMTs graduate from paramedic class as part of the department’s new Paramedic Training Program.
We are thankful to all who serve and protect our great community. It's an honor to work alongside you!
And we wish everyone in NRH a safe and happy New Year. Please celebrate responsibly!
2023 Year in Review Part 5
As we continue our 2023 Year in Review, today we share highlights from the Neighborhood Services Department.
In an effort to resolve chronic code violations more efficiently, a new Code Compliance Court was created by the City. 65 cases have been filed with the court since it was created in July, with 24 having been successfully resolved so far.
The Neighborhood Initiative Program assisted 31 residents in need with exterior home repairs and yard maintenance. There were 314 volunteers who gave 1,850 hours to the program during 2023.
200 volunteers participated in the Trash Bash Litter Cleanup. They collected over 2 tons of trash from 27 miles of streets, trails and drainage channels across the city.
The City was awarded a $319,000 grant from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to continue its focus on drowning prevention. The grant will be used to provide drowning prevention education and materials to the community, to distribute safety alarms to residential pool owners who need them, and to provide continuing education and training to swimming pool regulators across our region.
In response to citizen requests, an ordinance was adopted to allow backyard chickens in North Richland Hills with an annual permit. There is no cost to obtain the permit. Previously, chickens were allowed only on properties that were one acre or larger.
The City's Code of Ordinances was updated to align with a new state law for food trucks. Under the new law, food trucks are now inspected by Tarrant County and no longer need to get a permit from each city.
Following an update to the Texas Food Establishment Rules, a new scoring system was adopted for health inspections at restaurants and other food service facilities. Under the new system, scores can range from 100 to 0 with 100 points being a perfect score.
Keep NRH Beautiful was recognized by Keep Texas Beautiful with the Gold Star Affiliate Award, the Governor’s Community Achievement Sustained Excellence Award and the Keep America Beautiful President’s Circle Award.
Check back again tomorrow for our final look back at 2023!
2023 Year in Review Part 4
Our 2023 Year in Review continues today with some highlights from our Economic Development Department.
Merlin Entertainments and Hasbro announced this year that they will open the nation’s second Peppa Pig Theme Park at the former Mountasia Family Fun Center, next to NRH2O. Construction is under way, with the new theme park expected to open in 2024.
A new Tru by Hilton Hotel opened on Weyland Drive near SH183. The four-story hotel has 84 rooms, an indoor pool, fitness center and breakfast café.
50 new retail businesses located in NRH this year, occupying 250,000 square feet, including Wild Fork Foods, Second & Surplus, Ross Dress for Less, Five Below and more. The retail vacancy rate in NRH is down to 6.3%, the lowest since 2004.
Construction began on new commercial buildings along City Point Drive next to City Hall.
The EZ Streets Program was launched to facilitate redevelopment and revitalization of commercial property along Davis Boulevard and Boulevard 26.
The Texas Economic Development Council recognized North Richland Hills with an award for Economic Excellence. NRH was one of 56 Texas cities honored for its professionalism and commitment to the field of Economic Development.
NRH received the 2023 Planning Excellence Recognition Award from the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association. This award recognizes municipalities throughout Texas in meeting criteria such as training of planning commissioners and staff, professional qualifications of staff, breadth and currency of master plan and more.
Don Bowen was recognized for 42 years of service on the NRH Planning & Zoning Commission.
Stay tuned for more highlights from 2023 this weekend.
2023 Year in Review Part 3
Today we’re giving a big shout-out to NRH Parks & Recreation, NRH2O Family Water Park and the NRH Library for providing some of our favorite moments of 2023!
We enjoyed the last rides on NRH2O’s Green Extreme, which was retired at the end of the summer after providing 26 seasons of thrills. A new attraction – the Nitro Blaster – will replace the Green Extreme in 2024.
The community came together for numerous special events including Sounds of Spring Concerts, Pop Up Easter Egg Hunts, ‘Round the Town with Oscar Bicycle Rides and Walks, Doggie Beach Bash, Autumn Sounds Concerts, Veterans Day Celebration, Christmas Tree Lighting and Run Run Rudolph 5K and more.
The NRH Library also hosted several Celebrating Culture events throughout the year.
The Behind the Book Texas Edition series was launched, bringing award-winning and critically acclaimed Texas authors to the NRH Library. They kicked off the series with the bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist S.C. Gwynne.
The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club was a huge success with a total program attendance of 6,527 and 2,263 people who signed up as readers - 31% were first-time participants.
In response to patron feedback in our annual survey, the Library launched a monthly homeschool meetup and science program.
The Parks Department replaced the aging playgrounds at Cross Timbers Park and Dr. Pillow Park and added a large pavilion to Adventure World Playground.
The NRH Poetry Trail was installed in Linda Spurlock Park. The trail features the writing of local poets that celebrate the beauty of nature.
An outdoor warning system was added to 6 NRH parks to signal to athletic leagues and other parkgoers when lightning is near.
The NRH Centre had a record year in attendance and revenues. With over 472,000 visitors and an average daily attendance of more than 1,300 patrons, the NRH Centre continues to serve the health and wellness of our citizens. The Grand Hall hosted over 268 events and 33,500 guests in 2023.
The Library received the Achievement of Library Excellence Award from the Texas Municipal Library Director's Association for the 8th consecutive year. Of the 552 public libraries in Texas, only 73 received this award.
Check back for more highlights from 2023 each day this week.
2023 Year in Review Part 2
Progress continued this year on North Richland Hills’ $49 million Street Bond Program, which was approved by voters in 2020 to reconstruct 27 of our city streets.
Residential street reconstruction projects completed in 2023 included:
- Meadow Oak Drive - Completed in January.
- Pearl Street - Completed in January.
- Southampton Drive - Completed in March.
- Dawn Drive - Completed in October.
- Stonybrooke Drive - Completed in November.
- Nob Hill Drive - Completed in November.
Major Streets under construction in 2023 included:
- Iron Horse Boulevard East
- Iron Horse Boulevard West
- Bedford Euless Road
Engineering and franchise utility work was completed, and street reconstruction will begin in January 2024 on:
- Glenview Drive East
- Glenview Drive West
- Lariat Trail
128 streets were improved through the Preventive Street Maintenance Program, including asphalt overlays on 21 streets and slurry seals on 42 streets.
New traffic signals were installed on Davis Boulevard at Hightower Drive and on Iron Horse Boulevard at Boulder to improve safety at these intersections. Traffic signal timing improvements were made to Rufe Snow Drive from Loop 820 to Mid-Cities Boulevard and to Boulevard 26 from Strummer Drive in NRH through the cities of Hurst and Colleyville.
A citywide street assessment was performed to objectively evaluate the condition of all NRH city streets. Data from the assessment will help us prioritize street improvement projects for the next few years.
The city added the option for residents to get updates on major street construction projects via text message including Bedford Euless Road, Iron Horse Boulevard, Glenview Drive and Lariat Trail.
Keep an eye out for more highlights from 2023 each day this week.
2023 Year in Review Part 1
2023 was a special year for us as we celebrated North Richland Hills' 70th anniversary. We commemorated the founding of our city with special anniversary banners, a 1950s-themed birthday party and a series of social media posts that provided a look back on some of the changes that have taken place over the past 7 decades.
This year voters approved 25 of the 26 proposed amendments to the City Charter. This included updates to Civil Service rules, Planning & Zoning, and other provisions that conflicted with current state and federal laws or were otherwise outdated.
The NRH City Council reduced the property tax rate another 10.7% to $0.489389 per $100 property valuation. The lower rate, along with the 20% homestead exemption (the maximum exemption allowed by state law) approved in 2022, means most property owners received a reduction in the city portion of their tax bill again this year.
The City was awarded $9.7 million in state and federal grants this year, including $8.4 million for the North Texas Regional Anti-Gang Center and more than $1.3 million for NRH public safety programs and other city services.
The City’s good credit rating was reaffirmed by Moody’s and S&P. This means the city receives lower interest rates when borrowing money. The Aa2 and AA+ ratings are a reflection of the City’s fiscal responsibility and sound financial management.
The City was recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. These awards show that we’re following best practices and transparency in budgeting, planning, and reporting the City’s finances. Being good stewards of the tax dollars entrusted to us is something we take seriously.
The City Secretary’s Office was awarded the Achievement of Excellence Award from the Texas Municipal Clerks Association, Inc. This award recognizes excellence in the operations and management of the municipal clerk's office. Recipients must meet or exceed best practices criteria, including professional requirements and compliance with local, state, and federal standards.
Council Member Tito Rodriguez was elected president of the Texas Municipal League. The Texas Municipal League is a statewide association that facilitates the exchange of information among 1,174 member cities across the state and provides legislative, legal, and training services to city governments.
Check back for more highlights from 2023 each day this week.