Council names new amphitheater

Late councilmember Art Pierard honored with facility title inside new phase of Community Park

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
An engineering map of Phase II of Midlothian Community Park. The Midlothian City Council voted last week to name the amphitheater after former councilmember Art Pierard, who died in February 2020.

The new amphitheater in the under-construction Phase II of Midlothian Community Park will be named for a former Midlothian City Council member who championed the park before his tragic death last year.

The City Council voted during its Tuesday, Sept. 14 meeting to name the new facility the Art Pierard Memorial Amphitheater.

Assistant city manager Clyde Melick told councilmembers that a 2007 city ordinance set the policy for naming of facilities, and that the naming for elected officials should be done posthumously. Melick said Pierard was instrumental in helping to obtain funding for the new park phase.

The City Council in June 2020 approved a $19 million contract for completion of the park phase. Ground was broken shortly afterward, and the new facility has a projected October completion date.

The second and final phase of the park was approved by Midlothian voters in a November 2017 referendum through about $16 million in bonds. The final estimate exceeded that amount by approximately $3 million, but the Midlothian Community Development Corporation stepped forward largely at Pierard’s urging to help cover the shortfall.

Councilmember Justin Coffman said Pierard, who was elected in 2018 and was killed in a February 2020 vehicle accident, was a valued member of the City Council.

“All that were there will recall that Art really went to battle for the Community Park,” Coffman said. “He had a strong desire for us to build a park that reflected what we put on some of the bond documentation. We weren’t going to be able to get there, but Art and several others came to the battle and had some difficult conversations, and were able to pull that off.”

Coffman’s motion to name the amphitheater passed unanimously.

Other items

• Mayor Richard Reno presented a proclamation declaring the week of Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week in the city of Midlothian.

• The council adopted a motion supporting a resolution approved by the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court earlier on Tuesday that strongly opposes any proposed governmental vaccine mandate. Councilmembers were in agreement that President Joe Biden’s announced mandate, using U.S. Department of Labor regulation to enforce it, is a massive overreach of federal power.

• Public speakers showed up in force once again to protest the proposed expansion of the MidTexas International Center car park. The company wants to utilize a pasture at the northeast corner of Midlothian Parkway and FM 1387 that is currently zoned as Agricultural. At the Aug. 24 City Council meeting, Reno said he will be directing staff to see what the city’s legal options are and proceed accordingly.

•The approved consent agenda consisted of previous meeting minutes, an order canceling to Nov. 2 city council special election, a resolution authorizing the annual Creekside Manor Haunted House in the month of October, an agreement with Methodist Medical Group as part of the city’s human resources process, and authorization to accept future and current market price increases for liquid chlorine for water treatment.

• The city approved an agreement to sell treated water to the city of Grand Prairie, which replaces two existing agreements. City executive director o engineering and utilities Mike Adams said Grand Prairie will supply the raw water for Midlothian to treat, which will amount to 2 million gallons per day on average with a peak of 3 million gallons. The agreement is for a 30-year term beginning Oct. 1.

• Councilmembers approved the renewal of property, casualty and worker’s compensation insurance policies with Travelers Insurance Group and Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London effective Oct. 1, with a total premium amount of $526,143.

• Following an executive session, the council approved an extension of city manager Chris Dick’s contract through May 12, 2029.