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Paving the Way

Mar 18, 2013 09:37AM ● Published by Lisa Drake

Larry Hoover, City of Kennedale Streets and Parks Superintendent

By Kerry Pipes

The way a city appears to a visitor passing through for the first time can make a big and often unchangeable impression. That’s a detail not lost on Larry Hoover, Kennedale’s streets and parks superintendent. It’s one of the main reasons that he goes to work each day with a single-minded focus to make Kennedale look as sharp as it can.

“The physical appearance is most times how a person gleans their first impression of a community,” says the 47-year-old Hoover. “Streets and parks are a major component of a community’s physical identity and greatly affect our ability to attract businesses and new residents.”

When it comes to streets and parks of Kennedale, Hoover knows how to take care of business. He spent 18 years working for the city of White Settlement where he eventually rose to the rank of street superintendent. He’s been with the city of Kennedale for the past 7 years and served as the streets and parks superintendent for the past 5 years.

His job requires him to oversee all maintenance activities related to the city’s streets and parks. That includes supervising, directing and training the department’s employees, working within budget constraints and ensuring the quality of services delivered to the citizens of Kennedale. In other words, every road and park within Kennedale is under the watchful eye of Hoover.

GETTING STARTED
Hoover was born and raised in nearby White Settlement. He was a high school athlete who spread his talents across football, basketball, baseball and even track. He says his time in athletics, and later working in the restaurant business after graduation, taught him about time management, responsibility, teamwork and the value of hard work.

“The management of two restaurants helped me to get and stay organized and learn to deal with both customers and employees,” he says. And he’s still benefiting from on-the-job training still today. “My time spent as a public works front line employee gives me a unique perspective on staff duties and management. Having years of direct experience with on-the-ground tasks has made me a better manager.”

He was hired by Kennedale in 2005 as a community development specialist, and after an internal reorganization process transitioned to the position of streets and parks superintendent in 2007. He says he also played an active role in the inaugural Kennedale Action Team, which helped to develop the internal staff reorganization plan and implement programs and services for employees in Kennedale.

He says the department’s primary purpose is to provide residents and visitors with a clean, safe experience by maintaining the streets and park infrastructure in a fiscally responsible manner. They also handle repairs and maintenance of all streets and parks throughout the city when necessary.

DOLLARS & PROGRESS
The department’s annual budget is $700,000 and Hoover has a lot of ground to cover with those funds. “Every year we evaluate our infrastructure and community needs to determine the best use of taxpayer dollars. The city also distributes a citizen opinion survey every two years which helps guide our priorities, as the city’s strategic plan and park master plan are both developed with significant resident input.”

He says he relies on a great team in his department to get things done. Five fulltime employees and three more part-time employees all cross train and can share various department duties. He says challenges are all around. “We complete most of our maintenance duties in-house which is time and labor intensive,” he says. “As a supervisor it’s my responsibility to prioritize maintenance needs to ensure a clean, safe environment for all of our residents.”

But area growth has stretched the department’s dollars in recent years. He says an aging infrastructure that needs to be kept up to date or replaced combined with the need to provide competitive salaries to retain qualified personnel makes it sometimes difficult to strike a balance. But he sees progress.

In the past few years, the department has completed the Bowman Springs Road realignment to connect to Dick Price Road, the reconstruction of Little School Road and Sublett Road, the renovation of the city’s largest park with a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant, and the construction of several new parks.

“These new developments and refurbishments have paved the way for future development, including continued cooperation with Tarrant County Precinct Two on road projects, the rebuilding of Kennedale New Hope Road, a Village Creek flood study to develop an open space park area in the Oak Crest subdivision of the city, development of a park area along the railroad tracks on North Road, and a park near the Winding Creek subdivision that could possibly connect to Arlington’s Wildlife Preserve on Bowman Springs Road.”

Hoover plans to keep doing all he can to make Kennedale a great place to live. Whether it’s improving services to citizens through streets or parks he sleeps well at night knowing that he has “completed it to the absolute best of my ability.”

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