Trail, trucks, tribute approved by council

Coppell+Fire+Chief+Kevin+Richardson+discusses+a+request+to+purchase+four+ambulances+and+four+automated+stretcher+loading+systems+on+Tuesday.+The+meeting+consisted+of+discussions+on+the+ongoing+Magnolia+Trail+Park+and+a+presentation+from+Coppell+Fire+Chief+Kevin+Richardson.

Ashley Qian

Coppell Fire Chief Kevin Richardson discusses a request to purchase four ambulances and four automated stretcher loading systems on Tuesday. The meeting consisted of discussions on the ongoing Magnolia Trail Park and a presentation from Coppell Fire Chief Kevin Richardson.

Shrayes Gunna, Staff Writer

At Tuesday’s Coppell City Council meeting, councilman Cliff Long recalled taking a jog on the Magnolia Park community’s trail 10 years ago only to reach a dead end, thinking “What the hell?”

Now, almost 10 years after Long’s original confrontation with the trail’s end and three years into the Department of Parks and Recreations discussions with the city council, the motion to move forward with the construction process of a new extension to the existing trail was approved unanimously. However, the approval was no easy feat on the part of the Home Owner’s Association of Magnolia Park nor the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Through collaborative efforts between residents of the community and members of the Department of Parks and Recreation a plan to expand the trail along the southern route, utilizing gabion mattresses to control the growing effects of erosion, was decided upon.

Though these gabion mattresses will change the look of the water’s edge temporarily, silt and soil will cover the mattresses in time as proven by those on the spillover of the northern edge.

Coppell city attorney Robert Hager addresses the council during Necessary Action from the Executive Session at the Coppell City Hall on Tuesday. The meeting consisted of discussions on the ongoing Magnolia Trail Park and a presentation from Coppell Fire Chief Kevin Richardson. (Ashley Qian)

“This was a two solution proposal,” Magnolia Parks resident Jack Leathers said. “The whole neighborhood was concerned with the whole placement of the trail. The proposal that they are looking at is at the least cost and does not cut across an existing park that the kids are using everyday. We’re just really appreciative of the city, especially the parks department for taking our input and joining hands.”

And as Leather said, the exhibit provided by the parks department targets existing erosion and aims to cut down as few trees as possible. According to the representative, the department recognizes that the trees are necessary to stabilize the land and to displace as few trees as possible is the true goal.

The plans to move forward, according to the budget provided within the proposal, will amount to $1,370,000 with 30% contingencies to resolve any challenges that may be encountered during the process. In fact, the Magnolia Farms HOA plans to put forth a small sum to enhance the trail with bush and greenery that may be lost during the construction process. 

“What struck me the most was visiting the site this past summer and seeing the need for mitigating any damages in the future,”  councilman Kevin Nevels said. “I just want to applaud the Department of Parks and Recreation for working with the council and the citizens.” 

The council unanimously approved to supply the Coppell Fire Department with four replacement ambulances through an Interlocal Cooperative Purchasing Agreement with Buyboard in addition to four automated stretcher loading systems. 

Former Coppell city financial manager Jennifer Miller accepts her parting gifts from Mayor Wes Mays at the Coppell City Hall on Tuesday. In remembrance of her contributions to the city, Jan. 25, 2022 is now recognized as Jennifer Miller Appreciation Day. (Ashley Qian)

And at the top of the meeting was the council’s approval of designating Jan. 25, 2022 as “Jennifer Miller Appreciation Day.” According to Mayor Wes Mays, the former city Financial Director’s legacy will be remembered by the robust financial position of Coppell but also her mentorship of members of the city council, past and present. 

For more than 30 years, Miller served the city, putting Coppell and its residence first. 

“There is a lot that [Miller] has contributed,” councilwoman Brianna Hinojosa-Smith said. “But more than anything it has been her years of expertise and keeping our city financially sound and providing guidance in making sure that we are making good financial decisions that have not only short-term benefits with long-term stability.”

Miller’s legacy, reputation and drive to help the city will be celebrated on Friday, Feb. 4 in a service at City Hall. She provided brief remarks on her retirement, thanking city management, the citizens of Coppell, her coworkers and the finance department in a spur of emotions. 

Walking away from the work aspect was very easy, but walking away from the people will be very difficult; this is my family and I will miss you.”

— Jennifer Miller

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