Meet David Kelly, Mayor of Colleyville since 2005. As a community leader in NE Tarrant County for nearly 20 years and a resident of Colleyville since 1997, he is dedicated to helping the city reach new levels of growth and potential.
Mayor Kelly lives in Colleyvile with his wife, Debbie. Their son is a police officer with the city of Frisco, Texas. A financial planner now, Kelly began his worklife in an athletic endeavor, traveling the world. Kelly is deeply involved in many community initiatives and programs, including COPS (Citizens on Patrol); where he recently renovated a classic Gran Torino that draws a lot of attention.
We wanted to get to know Mayor Kelly a bit better, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions:
Dawn Tongish: Colleyville is a thriving, bustling community that is always growing. What projects are on the horizon that will improve the quality of life for citizens living in the city?
Mayor David Kelly: Road improvements on Colleyville Boulevard, our main commercial thoroughfare, is probably one of the biggest things. It will impact the ease with which people move around the city and, with some of the changes we have planned, will have more aesthetic appeal.
We’re also looking at potential changes to Glade Road, one of our primary east-west corridors through the city. For months now, we’re been gathering public input on the project, and we hope to come back with a plan in the very near future, based on both needs and public input.
Last year we announced the opening of a Whole Foods Market for 2014. We’re seeing the ripple effect of that with new development and redevelopment to house more restaurant and retail in the area. We plan to keep pursuing our economic initiatives to bring more retail and dining options to town.
This year, we’ll embark on a new comprehensive plan, which will determine the physical look of growth in the city for the next decade and beyond. Once again, we’ll be looking for input from the community on this important project.
DT: In your view, what sets this community apart from the surrounding cities?
DK: In terms of how we work together and interact with each other, we are much more of a community than a city. People know each other, people tend to help each other, and people tend to be involved in the community. For people who live here, the community as a whole matters. We’re more than a collection of individuals who live in proximity to each other.
DT: Managing such a large city and thousands of people is a big job. What do you do to reset?
DK: I love the community, so it hardly feels like a “job.” However, I spend a lot of time with my family, travel when I can, and I do indulge in honing my grill skills—mainly ribs, which I have to say are pretty good. I also stay involved in the community—as a member of COPS (Citizens on Patrol) and the citizen Fire Rehab team. I recently renovated a 1974 Gran Torino. It’s the same year and model as the first police car in Colleyville. We use it for COPS, as well as parades and festivals. It draws a lot of attention.
DT: You are surrounded by advisors, but when you have to make a tough call who do you turn to for advice?
DK: I do seek out those who can offer expertise on a matter or who can offer a citizen or business perspective; however, I’m always mindful that the “buck stops here.” I try to listen to as many people as possible before making a decision, but the final responsibility for that decision falls with me and I take that very seriously.
DT: What are you most proud of as mayor?
DK: The effort the community puts into making Colleyville the place that it is. This isn’t about the mayor or the city council, it’s about the people of Colleyville and how they feel about this community and each other. And that means they’re willing to put in time on a board or commission, volunteer for a community project, or help out someone in need or support the efforts of others. That’s a rarity these days. I’m both proud and fortunate to be a part of it.
DT: When you have a few minutes just to drive around the city, where do you like to go?
DK: The city staff jokes that they don’t like for me to drive around because they always end up with a to-do list. In fact, that’s exactly what happens. Being mayor doesn’t just happen twice a month at council meetings; it’s an ongoing responsibility and I take it seriously. So when I’m driving around town, I do keep an eye out for anything that looks amiss or deserves special care or isn’t up to spec, and I get it addressed. I do make it a point to take different routes to work or to restaurants, so I can keep an eye on different parts of the city and not just along my regular route.
DT: What can the residents of Colleyville do to pitch in and improve their community?
DK: Stay involved. We just finished our biennial citizen survey and I hope people made it a point to complete the survey. Our comprehensive plan initiative is coming up—and there will be many opportunities for people to let us know how they want Colleyville to grow. And I would hope that residents will continue to take responsibility for the small things—being aware of what’s going on in their neighborhoods to keep crime at bay and picking up trash on their street or in their neighborhood park. If everyone does these small things, one by one they add up to a big impact on the entire community.
DT: Gas drilling has been an issue in the community. Do you think the controversy has been warranted?
DK: Whenever something new comes to a community there always needs to be a vetting process. So I see this as more of a community discussion than hoopla—some for it, some against it, and both needing to be listened to. From the city’s perspective we wanted safety to be the top priority. So we try to work in cooperation with drilling companies—while always remembering that the safety of the community is paramount.
DT: What is your favorite place to grab a hamburger in your city?
DK: If there’s a burger being served in Colleyville, that’s pretty much enough for me. JR’s Grille, Market Street, Mooyah Burgers, Braum’s, Sonic, Tribeca Americana—take your pick. I like them all.
DT: What is the best part of being Mayor?
DK: I pretty much like all the parts of the job—even those people would expect me not to like, including listening to people’s problems. It goes with the job and I think we’re better at the job when we listen to people. So I like it.
However, during the holidays, I get to deliver Santa in my vintage fire truck…without having to ask permission. That’s kinda cool.
DT: If you had to describe your "bubble" (Colleyville) in three words, what would those words be?
DK: Describing Colleyville in three words isn’t possible—there are just too many facets it to it. I guess home, family, and friends are what comes to mind when I think Colleyville. I think that might be the universal sentiment from everyone lucky enough to live here.
DT: Outline your top three goals for the city in 2014?
DK: Comprehensive plan – getting the community involved and invested in the process
Economic development – capitalizing on what we’ve accomplished and continuing to grow those efforts
Infrastructure – whether roads, parks, or city facilities – looking ahead and planning for the future so that our infrastructure continues to be an asset and not a burden for the people of Colleyville
DT: What is the one thing the people of Colleyville will be surprised to learn about you?
DK: I began my worklife as a professional tennis player on the men’s tennis circuit—traveling abroad to qualifying matches. I got to see much of the world and I was doing something I loved. I was also one of the first male cheerleaders at Paschal High School. No one had ever done it and it sounded like fun and a good way to support my school. I was right on all counts and it’s a great memory. My wife, Debbie, and I are also accomplished collectors of “kitsch.” She’s into flamingos and I have a real Kip’s Big Boy statue in my den (bought at an antique shop in New Orleans). It’s a great reminder that life is supposed to be fun.