The civic center was filled with excitement on Tuesday afternoon as Waxahachie city leaders thanked its employees for a job well done. City leaders also laid out the city’s vision for the future to its employees.

“I want to tell you a secret that is not really a secret to anybody in this room that Waxahachie is the best place to live and work. The simple fact is that you folks in this room are the lifeblood to make this the great city that it is,” Mayor John Wray said. “I appreciate all of you and I want to thank you for everything you do for our city. We wanted to get you all together today and fill you in on some of the important changes that we have going on in our city.”

City Manager Paul Stevens followed Wray and expanded on what work is being done within the city limits. He said one of the driving forces causing growth to happen in the city is the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council. The council is made up of civic and community leaders who are working in the areas of education, medical and healthcare, downtown revitalization, marketing and image, land development and economic development.

“Economic development is a real priority of the city council and it has been driving everything that we have done for the last several years. One of the reasons is that we want to create a bright future for the city of Waxahachie,” Stevens said. “These are not committees that get together every once and awhile. They are working very hard to make this happen.”

Stevens said one of goals of the council is to see higher education opportunities expand for residents living in the city. Stevens reported that both Navarro College and Southwestern Assemblies of God University have expanded by adding more buildings to their campuses.

Recently SAGU completed a $25 million world communications building and Navarro has added a classroom building.

Another goal of the council was to see downtown Waxahachie rehabilitated and populated with new businesses that complement the area. Stevens said the city has seen some progress in this area with the investment made by developers Jim Lake and Amanda Cross.

Lake and Cross, who have been successful in the redevelopment of the Bishop Arts District in North Oak Cliff, have purchased five buildings located on Franklin Street and Rogers Street in downtown.

In the area of medical and healthcare, Stevens reported that progress is moving forward with the construction of the new Baylor Hospital that will be located off of Interstate Highway 35E. The 106-bed $177.5 million hospital is on track to be completed by November 2014.

The new 70,000 square foot medical office building that will be located next to the hospital is already under construction. Stevens reported that although unfinished this building has already generated interest from the medical community.

To help improve its marketability the city developed a new logo. The first city logo was adopted in 1971 and featured a star with wheat stalks around it and pictures of the industry, cotton and cattle.

The second logo adopted in 1998 featured a black and white image of the courthouse, a cotton plant, Waxahachie in bold green font and the words “Crape Myrtle Capital” and “Gingerbread City.”

The third logo that was adopted by the city council in April features a sharper image of the historic courthouse, a star, green and red colored font and the words “Crape Myrtle Capital” and “Gingerbread City.”

Stevens said the new logo pays tribute to the past and at the same time looks to the future.

One of the employees attending the event was Stephen Brigman who works in the Utilities Department. Brigman said that the event was very informational and he likes where the city is headed and how it is moving forward.

Animal Control Officer Jason Lightsey agreed with Brigman that the city is moving forward in the right direction with all the development and sounds like they got all of the right people in the right places.

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