News & Events in Midlothian, TX

Here’s an update on the latest news and events taking place in Midlothian, Texas:

Expansions/Relocations

Construction has begun on the $8,500,000 runway expansion project at Mid-Way Regional Airport. The project has been in the planning and development stages since 2002. The need was identified by the Airport Master Plan Study conducted in 2001, and approved for funding under the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program.

The project will expand the existing runway from 5,000 feet x 75 feet to a new total dimension of 6500 feet x 100 feet. The parallel taxiway will be lengthened to match, and all the airport lighting and electrical systems will be replaced. In addition to the expansion, all of the pavement at the airport will get a fresh overlay, increasing its weight bearing capacity to support an expanding role.

The project is expected to take just over a year to complete. Once completed, Midway Regional Airport will compete directly with inner city airports for business and leisure travelers whose aircraft require greater runway lengths to arrive from and travel to more distant destinations.

This project is a major milestone in a 20 year development plan, which stands to place the cities of Midlothian and Waxahachie in the top tier of communities in terms of economic development potential, based on service and transportation infrastructure.

Other News

Construction has begun on Phase II of the four-phase plan of the Navarro College –Midlothian Campus. The new 25,000 square feet of classroom space is estimated to cost $4 million and will be in completed by Spring 2011.

Navarro enrolled 600 students for the fall semester of 2006 and quickly realized the need to speed up plans to construct a second building.

The Midlothian campus currently serves 910 Navarro College students and about 250 Texas A&M-Commerce students. “Our current capacity is about 800 and as you can see, we are over capacity,” said Sanchez. “We have been pleased with the way Midlothian has embraced Navarro and the way the community is utilizing our campus.”

Navarro College’s partnership with Texas A&M-Commerce allows Midlothian students to obtain a 4-year degree in their hometown. Degree programs have been added with each new semester and will continue to expand as the interest grows.

At its January 12th meeting, the Midlothian City Council approved an ordinance to temporarily suspend its residential impact fee program, giving a green light to lower fees that will last throughout 2010. The program is effective immediately. The new ordinance will zero out fees for twelve months for platted lots within existing subdivisions. According to City Manager Don Hastings, the City has about 700 such infill lots that would qualify for the program. “These are obviously difficult times for everyone,” said Council member Bill Houston, who worked alongside a community stakeholder group to formulate the program. “This recession has made the cost margins for homebuilding razor-thin. The temporary suspension of impact fees will give home builders some needed breathing room. That will hopefully result in more new homes being built here rather than somewhere else in the region.”

Prior to the current recession, Midlothian added as many as 425 homes per year. That peak fell to only 108 new homes in 2009. Council member Steve Massey, who helped spearhead the program along with Mr. Houston, feels that incentivizing growth during a severe recession only makes good business sense. “Every businessman faces a time when you need to draw on your savings to promote your business, to discount your prices, to make yourself more attractive to the market. What we’re doing here is not a whole lot different. This incentive, along with streamlining the process, should make Midlothian more competitive in attracting quality housing growth.”

Mayor Boyce Whatley said that the City will monitor the program’s success, using metrics based on market share and seasonally-adjusted historical building rates. “Obviously no one has a crystal ball, but we’re hoping to see a nice bump in our housing starts that will ripple out into our broader economy.”