Heath Happenings: Student journalist notes exciting changes on the horizon

Photo by Mark Brooke.

(HEATH, TX – August 2, 2018) Since coming home during my semester breaks over the past two years as a student attending the University of Arkansas, I’ve noticed exciting changes in Heath.

The first and most obvious change when I arrived home this summer was the road construction. The very important widening of FM 740 through the heart of our hometown was complete! Now we have smooth sailing with four lanes along the entire length of FM 740 from Smirl to Heath Crossing (CVS). Signal lights have also been installed at FM-740/FM-550; Hawk Drive/FM-740; and Smirl Drive/FM-740.

After a little research, I found that TxDOT moved up its plans to start three projects that address paving conditions along FM-550, FM-549 and FM-1140 (Smirl) by adding two-foot shoulders on the roadways and resurfacing the existing roads.

During the construction, the roadway currently being worked on is reduced to one lane and flagmen and pilot cars are utilized to move traffic through the construction zone. Thankfully, the roadway reverts to two lanes at the end of the weekday and weekends, when there is no construction being performed. The end result of safer, smoother conditions on these highly-used roads will have been well worth any inconvenience.

The next exciting thing I came across was all the work going on at the site of the highly-anticipated new dining and entertainment venue at the northwest corner of FM 740 and FM 1140. According to the developers, the project is on track for a soft opening in December 2018.

The new venue will include a full-service restaurant concept. There will be an outdoor gathering space for live music, covered dining and special events. Other features will include fire pits, outdoor games, and family/community activity areas.

Now, one of my favorite traditions in my college town of Fayetteville, Arkansas, is going to the Farmers Market every Saturday morning. So, when I heard that Heath was possibly getting its own, the first thing I said was, “sign me up!

If you are interested in having a Farmers Market in Heath and want to know how to help make that happen, now is your chance! The City Council formed a Steering Committee charged with exploring all the aspects of establishing a Farmers Market from location, schedule and staffing, to vendors, products and booth pricing. As their work progresses, the Steering Committee will need a few (or probably many) good volunteers to assist them. If you are interested in applying, you can complete the City’s Volunteer Application found at heathtx.com or contact the city secretary at nduncan@heathtx.com.

The next wonderful addition on the horizon in Heath is a new Tom Thumb grocery store located on the northwest corner of FM 740/Laurence Drive at FM 549. Ground has already been broken, and the projected opening date for the store is the third quarter of 2019.

The plans show a trail at the northern boundary of the property, which will connect to Chris Cuny Boulevard as future development of the property ensues. The retail center will also feature a sidewalk leading from the parking lot to the retail buildings, extensive tree canopies within the parking lot, and high-quality materials that uphold the City Council’s vision for this “center “ of Heath as a beautiful, pedestrian/bike friendly place.

One of the last things I enjoyed participating in before returning to school was Heath’s July 4th festivities. It was such a fun and patriotic experience as the community celebrated with the Annual Independence Day Parade and Patriotic Program in the Park afterwards.

This year’s parade had the most entries and viewers to date, and during the program afterwards, Mayor Kelson Elam presented the parade awards and honored attending veterans. A live barbershop quartet then sang the national anthem and other American favorites; Pastor Omar Rikabi of the First United Methodist Church of Heath led the invocation; and Boy Scout Troop 989 posted the colors.

This was truly such a memorable and amazing way to close out my second summer home from college with friends and family as we ate free popsicles and small blueberry and cherry buttermilk pies while celebrating freedom. As the fireworks went off into the night later, I reflected on everything happening in Heath, and knew that this was another summer for the books!

Now it’s back to school for my junior year as Journalism major. I can’t wait to see what happens by the time I return for Fall Break!

By Caitlin Lane of Heath, a junior studying journalism at the University of Arkansas. Blue Ribbon News is happy to spotlight aspiring student journalists.




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