City Dedicates Jeff Williams Plaza at South Entrance of City Hall in Honor of Former Mayor
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on May 06, 2022, May 06, 2022

Visitors arriving at the south entrance to City Hall are now greeted by one of former Mayor Jeff William’s best-known catchphrases, “It’s a great day in Arlington!”

The phrase, emblazoned in metal lettering on the large stone public seating area in front of the building, was unveiled Tuesday as part of the City’s dedication of the Jeff Williams Plaza. The ceremony, attended by current and former City Council members, county and state elected officials, and hundreds of family members and friends, was held on the lawn of Levitt Pavilion Arlington facing the plaza. Williams, who has served the Arlington community for more than 30 years, including six as mayor, is the eighth of 11 trailblazers, civic leaders and faith leaders tapped by the City’s Honorary Naming Recognition Task Force to be recognized for their service or their contributions to the city.

“We didn’t just honor a mayor. We are not just honoring a record. We are honoring the ethos he brought to the city,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Victoria Farrar-Myers, who served as chair of the Honorary Naming Recognition Task Force. “We brought to you this plaza because we thought it was fitting from this day forward that Jeff Williams will greet everybody and declare ‘It’s a great day in Arlington!”

Williams’ leadership was critical in keeping the Texas Rangers in Arlington and expanding the Entertainment District, keeping the City’s tourism economy and national reputation as an entertainment destination strong. As a hallmark of his service, Arlington won the national competition to be the home of the National Medal of Honor Museum. Mayor Williams, along with many citizens, showcased our city to bring this world-class museum that will benefit generations to come. The one-of-a-kind museum, which opens in 2024, will recognize the 3,511 servicemembers who have received the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for valor in combat as well as all who they served alongside.

His plan as Mayor was to create jobs and build tourism in order to keep taxes low and provide better city services to strengthen our neighborhoods. This plan was embraced by the “can do spirit” of the Arlington community. In Williams’ first four years of service, Arlington advanced with 140 new businesses, 6,000 new jobs, and a $5 billion increase in the City’s property tax base. New businesses included the headquarters of D.R. Horton, manufacturers for General Motors, GM Financial, UPS, Federal Express and Summit Racing.

To continue the momentum, Williams led the establishment of the Economic Development Corporation, a perpetual investment in Arlington’s economy, and led the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation in making strategic investments. He also partnered with Downtown Arlington on redevelopment of the Abram Street Corridor, Urban Union, the Downtown Library and the Levitt Pavilion, and led Arlington to be a national leader in transportation and innovation.

“What means more to me about my friend Jeff Williams isn’t just the fact that he did a tremendous job and he never stopped doing what he did here in Arlington, but he is a man who talks the talks, walks the walk,” Mayor Jim Ross said during the dedication. “He is guided by his faith and his family. He knows what it is like to be a devoted Christian man who know how to treat people right. Treating people right is what caused me 40 years to choose this community to live in. That is exactly what makes Arlington as attractive as it is.”

Williams should also be recognized for how he emphasized unity in the community through his Kindness Initiative, Community Relations Commission, the Unity Council and Covid-19 Pandemic relief efforts, Dr. Farrar-Myers said.

Additionally, Williams served as the chair of the Texas Big City Mayors Coalition. He was selected by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to serve as the chairman of the U.S. Metro Economies committee and co-chaired their National Relief Initiative that brought $65 billion dollars to cities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Arlington received $81 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Former Arlington Mayor Richard Greene said Williams’ motivation for getting it right when working on projects large and small was because the city’s 400,000 residents were counting on city leadership to do just that.

“His leadership was sharply focused on doing what was in the best interest of the people of Arlington he was determined to help with a sincere servant’s heart. So, for example, when the opportunity for transformational change in the city’s visitor and tourism economy came about, he aggressively seized the moment and led the development of what we have today and more yet to come,” Greene said.

“All of that building upon Arlington’s legacy of as the quintessential ‘can do’ city.
What that means to everyday citizens is a higher quality of life through meaningful delivery of the city’s services that support their daily lives while keeping tax burdens among the lowest of comparable cites throughout the region and state,” Greene added.

Williams profusely thanked his wife, Karen, his family, his friends, city and business leaders and the community for the opportunity to serve Arlington and for their support through the years.

Working together and sharing values such as integrity, commitment and patriotism is how Arlington has been able to successfully compete against other cities across the nation for projects such as the National Medal of Honor Museum, Williams said.

“We have an opportunity for us to take on that responsibility, to be a beacon for the entire nation, to champion these values. To be a place where people can come together and talk about how we can work together to make a difference. We all know that is the key, working together,” Williams said. “Certainly, all of y’all have set that example. Let us continue to do that.”Jeff Williams Plaza dedication

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