City News Briefs

June 16, 2017

Jerry Washam selected as 2017 Citizen of the Year

Affectionately known as the “Mayor of Snider Plaza,” Jerry Washam has been selected University Park’s 2017 Citizen of the Year.   

President of the Ralph Porter Company, Jerry oversees the leasing and management of a substantial portion of properties in Snider Plaza, the City’s picturesque town square that Jerry’s grandfather began developing in 1927.  Jerry’s involvement in the company started in the early 1970s before he graduated with a business degree from SMU.

Jerry says when Mayor Olin Lane Jr. called him with the news, he responded, “You must be joking, there are so many people in this community who have done so much more than me.”  That said, Jerry was quick to tell the Mayor he was “pleased and proud” to receive the honor.                    

Those who nominated Jerry were quick to point out his years of service to the community.  A member of the Park Cities Rotary Club for more than 40 years, in addition to being a past president, he has worked on numerous club committees, including the one that is responsible for hosting the Park Cities July 4 Parade and Picnic.  Working closely with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department and Snider Plaza merchants, Jerry also has been instrumental in the growth in size and popularity of the City’s Snider Plaza Tree Lighting event that highlights the start of the holiday season.   

Born in Dallas, Jerry is a longtime resident of University Park, having lived in his current home on Stanford for 39 years.  In addition to his wife Mary, he has two children, J.J. and Katie, and one grandson, Evan.    

After riding in the 2017 July 4 Parade, Jerry will be presented with a plaque and a special Citizen of the Year gift during a brief ceremony at the Goar Park Gazebo.  

The Citizen of the Year award was created by the City Council in 2005 to boost public awareness and appreciation for the many residents who work, often behind the scenes, to better the City’s quality of life.

June 2017 UPdate

Catch up on City items of interest, department-by-department.  UPdate is a new online publication that is distributed mid-month.  Read the June 2017 version of UPdate.

18-month improvement project - Dallas North Tollway

The speed limit from Harvest Hill Rd. south of I-635 to I-35 is now 55 mph.  The lower speed limit will remain in place until the project is completed.

The south end of the Dallas North Tollway (DNT) is getting a facelift. The North Texas Tollway Authority will replace the center median barrier and repave the tollway between Harvest Hill Road (south of Interstate 635) and I-35E. 

This is proactive, planned maintenance to ensure a safe, reliable and quality road that drivers expect on the DNT.
To minimize traffic impacts, the majority of this work will happen during off-peak hours — at night and on some weekends. Nightly lane closures will be performed under the guidance of local law enforcement. Please be aware that the work area will move locations periodically.

Project Elements - Crews will restripe the lanes to make room for repairs, then the center barrier will be removed and replaced, then asphalt replacement will take place.
This project will be complete in approximately 18 months, weather permitting.
For project updates and the latest information on lane closures go to

Preventing third-row seat thefts

The University Park Police Department reminds SUV owners with 2014 and older models to continue to take precautions to prevent third-row seat thefts.
Thieves most often target GM products including Suburbans, Tahoes and Yukons.  The stolen seats are commonly sold on eBay, Craigslist, and at area swap meets.  Although 2015 and newer GM full-sized SUVs feature third-row seats that are bolted to the floor, earlier-models have seats that can be easily removed.  Here are a few preventive tips that residents can take to safeguard their vehicles:

  • Secure the third-row seat with a cable lock.  Although locks can be cut, this is a layer of protection to slow the thief down. 
  • Store the seat if it’s not being used. 
  • Park your vehicle in your garage.  If not, back the vehicle to the garage, a fence or wall to hinder thieves from entering the vehicle through the back glass. 
  • Etch your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the seat. The police department has an electric engraver available for resident use.

Report any suspicious activity to the University Park Police Department at 214-363-3000 or call 911 for an emergency.

Preventing bike thefts

With summer just about here, it's time for a reminder on steps kids and parents can take to reduce bike thefts. 

Do not:

  • Leave bikes unlocked
  • Leave bikes in plain sight in the front yard or the driveway
  • Leave bikes inside an open garage

When you lock your bike, use a high-quality U-lock, not a cable lock.  For added protection, lock the frame and one wheel to a secure fixed object.  Also, don't forget to write down your bike's serial number (usually located on the underside of the bottom bracket) and to take a photo of it.  If  your bike is stolen, both steps will help police recovery efforts