A Look Back at Some of Arlington’s Biggest News in 2018
By Office of Communication
Posted on December 26, 2018, December 26, 2018

From the opening of the largest esports stadium venue in North America and the $250 million Texas Live! dining, entertainment and hospitality district to the launch of one of the state's first on-street, on-demand autonomous shuttle programs, 2018 has been a year of excitement for the City of Arlington.

Let's look back at some of the biggest stories that happened this year in The American Dream City.

Esports Stadium Arlington Debuts

Drawing professional gamers and enthusiasts from across the globe, Esports Stadium Arlington made its debut in November as the largest esports venue in North America. The $10 million, 100,000-square-foot stadium celebrated its grand opening with FACEIT's Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals on Thanksgiving Weekend. The tournament was the first of many events planned for this state-of-the-art event venue that was purpose-built to serve the unique and technologically advanced demands of the esports industry.

A New Purpose for Globe Life Park is Announced

Esports isn't the only new game in town. Globe Life Park will become home to a new XFL football teamstarting in February 2020, shortly before the Texas Rangers begin playing at the $1.2 billion, climate-controlled Globe Life Field. The announcement marks the first step in the process to repurpose Globe Life Park after the Rangers play the team's last season at the ballpark in 2019. Arlington is one of eight cities that will host an XFL team when the league launches.

Arlington Among Finalists for Amazon's future HQ2

Earlier this year, Amazon asked Arlington to make an in-person pitch to company executives during a site visit for the City's proposed HQ2 site, Globe Life Park. During this highly competitive process, the City was able to showcase its vision for a repurposed ballpark and how it could connect to the rest of the Entertainment District amenities to provide a dynamic, innovative commercial space. With 1.7 million square feet of existing building space and water, sewer, storm water, power and underground communications infrastructure already in place, Globe Life Park is a prime location to accommodate a corporate headquarters once the Rangers move to their new home in 2020.

George W. Hawkes Downtown Library

The 'Library of Tomorrow' Opens in Downtown

The George W. Hawkes Downtown Library, a three-story, 80,000-square-foot library of tomorrow, opened to much fanfare in June. The bright, colorful children's section of library quickly earned a spot on Book Riot's 13 Awesome Children's Libraries around the U.S. list.
The Friends and Foundation of the Arlington Public Library has helped raise nearly $7.6 million as part of the Downtown Library's $8 million capital campaign. Thasunda Duckett, CEO of Chase Consumer Banking and a Sam Houston High School graduate, was the library's largest individual donor. The Otis and Rosie Brown Living Room on the library's first floor is named in honor of Duckett's parents.

NFL Draft in Arlington Sets Multiple Records

The 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington proved to be a rousing success. The Draft, held April 26-28, generated $125.2 million in economic impact for the Dallas region and $74 million in direct spending, according to a report compiled by VisitDallas. That marked a new record for the NFL Draft's economic impact and the first year that the NFL Draft generated more than $100 million in economic impact for its host region.
In addition to setting records as the highest-rated and most-watched draft ever, the event also set an attendance record. A record crowd of more than 100,000 fans attended the opening day of the NFL Draft and the NFL Draft Experience in The American Dream City, making it the highest-ever attendance for the opening day of the Draft. Overall, the three-day event was attended by more than 200,000 fans.
Arlington's youth will benefit for years to come thanks to a $1.85 million gift from the Gene and Jerry Jones Arlington Youth Foundation, NFL Foundation, and Hellas Construction that built the new Gene and Jerry Jones Family Field at Workman Junior High School.

Autonomous Shuttles Roll Out on Arlington Streets

In October, Arlington became the first Texas city to offer on-street, self-driving shuttle service to the public through a partnership with Drive.ai. These self-driving vans will travel alongside other vehicles at speeds up to 35 miles per hour to select pick-up and drop-off locations within the service area, which includes AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park, Texas Live!, the Arlington Convention Center and the CenterPoint Office Complex.The service, which operates Monday through Friday, is free of charge to the public.

Arlington Expands Via Rideshare Service

The City continues to invest in its Via Rideshare service, which has provided more than 85,000 rides since it launched in December 2017. Earlier this month, the Arlington City Council approved a one-year contract renewal that will allow the public transportation pilot program to continue serving residents, students and visitors six days a week. As part of the renewal, Via's fleet of six-passenger Mercedes Metris vans will increase from 13 to 15 and the company will also grow its number of drivers in independently owned vehicles to keep passengers' average waiting times below 12 minutes. The affordable, on-demand public transportation service area, which was extended south to Interstate 20 earlier this year, currently includes approximately 170,000 residents and 92,000 jobs.

Texas Live! Wows the Crowds

Thousands turned out in August for the grand opening of Texas Live!, one of the largest sports-anchored developments in the country. Visitors were wowed by the 200,000 square feet of best-in-class dining and entertainment venues, including Live! Arena, PBR Texas, Lockhart Smokehouse, Troy's, Pudge's Pizza, Sports & Social Arlington, Miller Tavern & Beer Garden and Guy Fieri's Taco Joint. Arlington Backyard, a 5,000-capacity outdoor event pavilion, is expected to host more than 250 events annually, including concerts, art shows, festivals and community events. Live by Loews, a 302-room flagship luxury hotel, will open next to Texas Live! in 2019.

Parks and Recreation Wins 2018 National Gold Medal Award

Arlington Parks and Recreation won the 2018 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, announced by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, in September. The Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.

City Approves New Vision for a Vibrant Downtown

Sidewalk cafes, a dog park, public art and landscaping, and more housing, retail and entertainment options are part of the City's vision for a vibrant Downtown Arlington.
The new Downtown Master Plan, "Building the Dream Downtown," features more than 100 implementation items that aim to establish Downtown Arlington as a distinct destination, support a robust economy, and foster a diversity of housing types, retail activity, open spaces, and cultural attractions. The City Council unanimously approved the plan, which is an update of the City's 2004 Downtown Master Plan, in November.
The City and the Downtown Master Plan Advisory Committee gathered extensive public input over 10 months to establish a strategic framework and specific action items designed to guide the next generation of development in the heart of Arlington.

UTA Celebrates Opening of Science and Engineering Innovation and Research Building

The University of Texas at Arlington inaugurated its new $125 million Science and Engineering Innovation and Research building in September. This four-story, state-of-the-art facility will contribute to pushing UTA forward as a leading health science research and teaching institution. The research laboratory and classroom facility specializes in interdisciplinary research around major health science challenges, such as brain health, cancer, cardiovascular health, healthy aging and rehabilitative medicine.

Arlington, Texas Rangers Announces World's Only MLB-Branded Golf Course

The City of Arlington and Texas Rangers announced a new partnership in early 2018 to create the world's only Major League Baseball-branded golf course in the world. The American Dream City's newest golf course -Texas Rangers Golf Club - is scheduled to open in 2019.
The collaborative branding partnership between the City and the Rangers, along with $24 million in course renovations at the former Chester W. Ditto Golf Course, affords the opportunity for Arlington to offer a destination golf course not only for residents but for visitors to the Globe Life Park, AT&T Stadium, Texas Live! and other nearby attractions. To honor Chester W. Ditto, his family, and their contributions to the City of Arlington, the clubhouse will be named the Chester Ditto Clubhouse.

Bell Unveils Expanded Flight Research Center in Arlington

City and community leaders had the opportunity to see the experimental Bell V-280 Valor aircraft in action during a ceremony in October to celebrate the company's expanded Flight Research Center in south Arlington.
This state-of-the-art facility near the Arlington Municipal Airport houses many of the company's newest technology and innovations, including the Bell V-280 Valor, 525 Relentless, V-247 Vigilant and the Autonomous Pod Transport. The 5,000-square-foot innovation hub provides a unique setting for Bell's commercial and military customers, partners and stakeholders to interact with technology that is defining the future of flight. Bell has conducted flight testing, research and development in Arlington for more than 50 years.

L3 Technologies Expands Pilot Training Center

L3 Technologies' newly expanded multi-purpose training center in Arlington provides world-leading simulation and instruction for both military and commercial pilots and state-of-the-art classroom facilities.
The multi-purpose training center expansion added approximately 40,000 square feet, more than doubling the size of the high bay facility at the L3 Arlington facility. The new facilities include room for six additional full-flight simulators, classrooms incorporating augmented and virtual reality, and customer dedicated spaces.
The company and City of Arlington leaders celebrated the L3 Arlington Training Center facility expansion at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October.

AISD's New Dan Dipert Career and Technical Center Shapes Young Lives

The Arlington ISD Dan Dipert Career and Technical Center offers state-of-the-art courses in career and technical fields to all district high schools. The building, dedicated in February, accommodates 4,800 students every two days and features programs in animation, architecture, automotive, biomedical science, broadcasting, cosmetology, construction, culinary/hospitality, engineering, entrepreneurship, Fire Academy, graphic design, health sciences, horticulture, information technology, law enforcement, photography,precision metal manufacturing and welding.

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