6 things for Plano residents to look for in 2017

1. Plano’s corporate boom


What we reported Toyota Motor North America broke ground on its new Plano headquarters in January 2015. FedEx Office and Print Services moved to Plano in December 2015, and Liberty Mutual Insurance and JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced they will also move to the southwest corner of SH 121 and the Dallas North Tollway.


The latest Toyota is expected to open its office in mid-2017, followed by JPMorgan Chase in the second half of 2017 and Liberty Mutual in the fourth quarter of 2017.


What’s next When these three offices are open, they are expected to employ a total of 14,000 people at the new locations.



2. Legacy West to open


What we reported At more than 90 percent complete, construction on this $3.2 billion development began in July 2014 near Plano’s northern border at the southwest corner of the Dallas North Tollway and SH 121. The 225-acre mixed-use development will feature retailers, restaurants, offices and residential development.


The latest Fidelity Investments announced in late November that it would be relocating to Legacy West on Jan. 23. Travel-bag manufacturer Tumi and Venetian Nail Spa announced their arrival to the mixed-use development in late October. Barnes & Noble announced it will open a 9,000-square-foot store there that will feature a revamped concept, including a restaurant with an expanded menu along with beer and wine offerings.


What’s next Legacy West is expected to open in mid-April.



3. Tollway project continues


What we reported To help accommodate increased traffic volume on the Dallas North Tollway, the North Texas Tollway Authority began a multiphase project last summer that, when complete, will widen the tollway from I-635 in Dallas northward to SH 121. The first phase of the project extends from the President George Bush Turnpike to SH 121 and includes the addition of a fourth lane on the southbound and northbound sides of the road.


The latest Construction will continue on the direct connectors at the PGBT to add a lane to the ramps on the north side of the exchange.


What’s next In early 2017, the second half of the Tennyson Bridge will be demolished and rebuilt. Construction along the tollway will continue until early 2018 when the widening project is expected to be complete.



4. Downtown arts district


What we reported The Texas Commission on the Arts in September formally designated downtown Plano as the city’s official arts district. These districts are intended to stimulate economic development and foster community revitalization.


The latest The city closed 2016 with the Dickens holiday event in downtown Plano and held other festivals throughout the year, including Steinfest and ArtFest. McCall Plaza also hosts live music events.


What’s next Executive Director Alex Hargis of the Historic Downtown Plano Association said the planned early spring opening of the Saigling House, an event venue and home to the ArtCentre of Plano, is expected to serve as a catalyst for growth within the local arts community. To the southeast, HubStreat food truck park is also expected to open in the spring. ArtFest is scheduled this year for April 22.



5. Legacy-area public transit


What we reported Local officials are working with Dallas Area Rapid Transit to transform the Legacy corridor into a regional transportation hub. DART is expected to roll out several projects in the coming months, including a new east-west express bus service and the Cotton Belt Line, which will link Plano to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.


The latest Consultant Kimley-Horn and Associates in early November completed a $160,000 mobility study on the Legacy corridor. The study was funded by the city of Plano, Collin County and DART. Regional improvements like the widening of the Dallas North Tollway will be critical for mitigating traffic in this area, the study concluded.


What’s next Road construction to accommodate the growing Legacy corridor is expected to be complete in mid- to late 2017. DART’s new Legacy bus service, which will run to and from Legacy West from the Parker Road Station, is expected to start in March. Its extension of the Route 208 Downtown Express will also be extended to Legacy-area businesses, including Toyota Motor North America and Liberty Mutual Insurance.



6. City bond priorities


What we reported A proposed bond referendum calls for allocating $90 million toward street improvements, more than $40 million of which will fund street reconstruction along Plano’s inner roadways. The bond proposal also includes nearly $79 million toward various enhancements at Plano’s park systems, according to a staff presentation delivered Jan. 9 to Plano City Council. The bond package also includes $15 million for a new fire training center to be built at Fire Station 1 off K Avenue as well as a $12 million for a new police substation in the northwest sector of the city off McDermott Road.


The latest City staff have trimmed $31 million from the bond package since it was discussed in December, bringing the total proposal to $226 million.


What’s next Council members will vote on the propositions to be submitted for election on
Feb. 13 and educational materials will be distributed to residents in March, followed by a series of presentations to community and civic groups in mid-March through April.

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By Cassidy Ritter

Cassidy graduated from the University of Kansas in 2016 with a degree in Journalism and a double minor in business and global studies. She has worked as a reporter and editor for publications in Kansas, Colorado and Australia. She was hired as senior reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's Plano edition in August 2016. Less than a year later, she took the role of editor for the McKinney edition.


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