Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere expects the concept of downtown Plano to expand over the next decade as several development projects reimagine the city's historic core.

LaRosiliere highlighted the downtown area's future Feb. 6 as part of his annual State of the City address. LaRosiliere envisioned these changes as part of a new stage of the city's development, which he termed, "Plano 4.0."

“Who will we be [as] Plano 4.0?” LaRosiliere said. “You will be in a city where you not only live, but you thrive.”

The Collin Creek Mall redevelopment project will serve as a catalyst for reinventing downtown, he said. Starting in 2022, the DART Silver Line will allow for travel directly to and from the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to downtown Plano. By 2030, this will lead DART riders to the finished Collin Creek development, which will have restaurants, entertainment, housing and 1.5 million square feet of office space, LaRosiliere said.

The city has also approved roughly 4,000 housing units in the downtown area, including the First Baptist Church of Plano, Plano Marine and Collin Creek Mall projects. This will possibly bring 7,000 more people to the area, as well as retail, amenities and services to provide for them, LaRosiliere said.

“Make no doubt about it: downtown Plano will still have its same funky character [and] the sense of historic preservation will be there,” LaRosiliere said. “ ...Downtown will be the catalyst for the entire [US] 75 corridor. I call that the new frontier. ... That’s where it all started for us and that’s where it’s going to happen over the next decade and beyond.”

This, in turn, will encourage development further along US 75, he said, including more investment in the city's Oak Point area, where the Collin College Spring Creek Campus and Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve are.

“We need to do it [Plano 4.0] with you as a community,” LaRosiliere said. “The decisions we make today will impact our children and our grandchildren.”

The concept also includes integrating smart features into the city in areas including transportation, education, public safety and green infrastructure. These technologies will be added as various parts of the city need infrastructure updates, he said.

City projects may include the integration of smart light poles with built-in Wi-Fi hotspots, emergency command centers or charging stations.

Plano public safety currently uses technology like license plate readers, drones, broadband in police vehicles and pet facial recognition. By the end of 2020, emergency location registration will be available to Plano residents, allowing 9-1-1 dispatchers to know your location when you call in an emergency, LaRosiliere said.

The city will also focus on building its GoLink Uber-partnership travel option and other mobility solutions. Last year, the ridership of the program grew by 8,000, he said.

“Our foundation is firmly in place and our values will be our guide,” LaRosiliere said.

The State of the City was held in conjunction with the Plano Chamber of Commerce 2020 annual meeting, where Lissa Smith was inducted into her role as 2020 board chair by 2019 chair LaMonte Thomas. Smith spoke on her outlook and goals for the year and announced new board members for the Chamber.