Lewisville’s new-look town council for 2020
By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier
With Mike Horn, the longtime mayor, now sitting up front in Lewisville Town Hall with a record five new members on the town council, you might wonder if he might need to have roll call or hand out name tags.
“That’s kind of funny,” he said, laughing. “Well, we’re really very fortunate. Two of the (new) incoming council members, Ken Sadler and Jane Welch, have served on the council before. They have plenty of experience.
“David Smitherman, who is new, however he has served as the chairman of our Parks and Rec Committee. Jeanne Marie Foster, who is also new, was chairperson of our planning board. So they’re both well aware of all the things that go on with town operations. Only one who hasn’t served in some capacity in town before, Melissa Hunt, is an individual business owner, and I think she will bring a whole lot of value to the council.”
They join Fred Franklin, who was re-elected and is the only remaining holdover of a veteran group after the departure of Robert Greene, Sandra Mock, Ed Smith and Jeff Zenger, who all honored one of the town’s charter provisions of not exceeding four consecutive two-year terms, and Marci Gallman, who chose not to seek re-election in November.
During the December meeting, the outgoing council members were recognized for their years of service and the newly elected council members were sworn in.
Horn, who is beginning his fourth two-year term as mayor and has previously served 14 years as a councilman, said that five new council members coming aboard is the most ever since Lewisville was incorporated in 1991. The previous high was four new council members being elected in 2003.
Some towns set up a staggered system where at least two council members will be retained during every election cycle, and Horn admits not having a similar setup could be problematic in future years, particularly if you don’t have people with experience who are elected.
“There is a lot that we do that has a lot of depth of understanding and somebody who steps in fresh not having any kind of experience with the town can be spinning for a while,” Horn said.
That certainly isn’t the case with this group, and Horn said he looks forward to working with this council where Foster, the top vote-getter in the November election, was appointed to serve as mayor pro-tem for the two-year term.
The new year brings a number of exciting projects, including the new community center where the design has been approved for a 12,000-square-foot facility, which will be located on a 15-acre tract on Lewisville-Clemmons Road that was donated by Mary Alice Warren right next to Jack Warren Park.
Other notable coming additions include the new Lewisville Middle School scheduled to open in the 2020-21 school year, the Gateway project between the Williams Road interchange with U.S. 421 that goes up to the Williams Road/Shallowford Road roundabout, and other pending projects including sidewalks and roads.
Horn added that another number worth noting in the last year and a half has been the approval of almost 1,000 new homes in Lewisville.
“We’re seeing new development come out of the ground everywhere in Lewisville,” Horn said. “That’s going to help our tax base a lot.”
Of course, that kind of development in a town that embraces its status of maintaining a rural feel raises the question of outgrowing its roots.
“We have really some of the most creative planning and zoning in the state where we look at managing density through a special zoning classification we have,” Horn said. “We look at specific kinds of things like access to roadways and livability with sidewalks and trees. So not every developer wants to come out here and develop because of our standards.”
The bottom line, as Horn likes to say, “You love coming home to Lewisville.”