Growth in Lewisville: Mayor Mike Horn: “Our successes as a community and the preservation of our small-town way of life have not happened by accident”

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 18, 2024

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By Jim Buice

LEWISVILLE — When Mayor Mike Horn was asked what makes him most excited about the future of Lewisville, he had a difficult time settling on just one or two things.

“Frankly, everything about the future of Lewisville is exciting,” Horn said. “While it is challenging, we are managing our rapid growth in a way that preserves our small-town character. We have highly engaged residents attending our many programs and activities as well as participating on our volunteer boards and committees. 

“Our schools are high performing. We have community policing and fire/emergency services that are among the best in the state. And our priority of building a sense of community continues to keep our residents connected to each other and embracing a genuine pride of living in Lewisville. In 2024, we will also welcome a new manager to help guide us forward in our amazing adventures.”

In 2023, Horn said that Lewisville continued to experience a significant increase in new residential developments with the majority being single-family homes.

However, Stacy Tolbert, interim manager and town planner, added that more choices are coming.

“We also have a twin-home development as well as a townhome development that have been approved to add a different option for housing in Lewisville,” Tolbert said.  

Also, approximately 90 percent of the necessary right-of-way was acquired for the Great Wagon Road, a parallel roadway to Shallowford Road designed to open new commercial and residential sites downtown as well as handle the increasing traffic, Horn said. The N.C. Department of Transportation will begin construction of the Great Wagon Road in the fall of this year.

In addition, the town neared completion of the Gateway project to enhance the welcoming appearance of Lewisville from the U.S. 421/Williams Road interchange. And the design and right-of-way acquisition was completed for the new roundabout at the intersection of Lewisville-Vienna Road and Robinhood Road to relieve the traffic congestion from the middle school, the buildout of the Conrad Farms subdivision and more expected development in that area.

The town experienced its most successful summer of concerts, movies and activities at Shallowford Square, bringing thousands of residents and visitors together to enjoy free entertainment and community fellowship. 

Lewisville also began the design engineering for an expansion of recreational facilities at the Mary Alice Warren Community Center and Jack Warren Park made possible by a matching $250,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant.

Speaking of recreation and entertainment, there were more than 350 programs, classes, events and meetings at the new Mary Alice Warren Community Center in 2023, surpassing town projections for use of the center. 

“With the support of the Shallow Ford Foundation’s funding, our residents were able to participate in a variety of programs to entertain them, educate them and enrich their lives,” Horn said.

Tolbert added that the most exciting thing currently in her role as planner, aside from our many projects taking place, is an extensive update to the Unified Development Ordinance.  

“It’s Lewisville’s turn to update our UDO to one that better represents our Comprehensive Plan and our small-town character,” she said. “Along with the update comes the modernization of regulations and a more user-friendly document. I believe the update will open doors for great opportunities while giving us the rules we need to continue to manage growth in a smart way.”

Speaking of growth, Horn said: “With the growing number of individuals and families moving to Lewisville, managing our growth will continue to be our most challenging task. We have the planning and zoning in place and a clear vision in the town’s comprehensive plan. We just need to stay the course.

“Another big concern we have is one that is shared by all communities across North Carolina. That’s how to continue to provide high-quality dependable services in an environment of increasing costs. Lewisville has not raised its tax rate in 22 years because of the growth we’ve experienced and how well our council and staff have managed our finances. Maintaining this tax rate will be challenging as we move into 2024 and beyond.”

Horn praised the work of what he called “the most professional and dedicated town staff in North Carolina,” adding that “we will need to continue to find ways to retain them and provide them with rewarding opportunities to serve our residents and fulfill their own professional goals. And finally, we have to continue to seek out the next generation of residents who will become involved in the leadership of our community going forward.”

Certainly, there will be a big hole to fill in 2025 as Horn, after more than 26 years of service to Lewisville, is on the record as saying this will be his final term as mayor.

“Looking back, our successes as a community and the preservation of our small-town way of life have not happened by accident,” Horn said. “Our accomplishments are the result of the many hours of service and engagement by our residents, previous town councils and town staff working together with a common vision. 

“There will continue to be many opportunities in the future for our community, as well as many challenges that result from growth. But I am confident that if we follow our comprehensive plan, exercise common sense, don’t forget our roots and stay engaged as a community, we are up to the task.”