Grand Prairie Sees End of Era With City Manager Retiring In Fall

Grand Prairie City Manager (in red tie) announces his retirement with family and city council in attendance

Tom Hart Will Retire After 45 Years of Service

GRAND PRAIRIE – It’s the end of an era in Grand Prairie when long-time City Manager Tom Hart will retire after a 45-year career with the city in the fall.

And, quite unheard of these days, those last 22 years were at the city’s helm as City Manager.

Hart will be retiring at the end of October after taking the position in 1999.

“We have made astounding strides in economic development, built facilities and offered services that greatly enhance our residents’ quality of life, created a financially stable city that is a force with which to be reckoned, and had a great time doing it” Hart said.

Before landing in Grand Prairie, Hart was the Assistant City Manager and later City Manager in Euless for 16 years. In fact, he was one of the youngest city managers in the history of Texas when he served as City Manager in The Colony from 1978 to 1981.

Known for his attention to world class customer service and innovative management style, Hart created the city’s popular and successful mission to “create Raving Fans by delivering World Class Service.”

Hart’s Accomplishments In Grand Prairie

In Grand Prairie his mark will last for years to come since he oversaw the reconstruction of the historic Uptown Theater and construction of the Texas Trust CU Theatre, the Ruthe Jackson Center and Gardens, Grand Prairie Memorial Gardens, Tony Shotwell Life Center and Library, Prairie Paws Adoption Center, the Splash Factory, the cabins and lodge of Loyd Park, Alliance Skate Park, the Public Safety Training Center, Municipal Courthouse, the Public Safety Building, the Summit Active Adult Center, Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark, PlayGrand Adventures, downtown façade improvements, City Hall Central and campus renovation, and The Epic Arts, Fitness and Entertainment Center.

Recently voters approved a $75 million Economic Development Bond Proposal, ensuring Hart’s vision for Epic Central to be a destination hub for entertainment, the arts, recreation and food, by adding two hotels with a shared conference center, a Grand Lawn, and restaurants along the lakes. This development will complement the Chicken N Pickle restaurant and pickleball courts currently under construction and the city’s envisioned water and light show in the lakes.

A Legacy of Service

“Tom leaves a legacy of world class service, integrity and a commitment to people,” said Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen. “His sense of humor, creativity and innovative thinking combined with his thorough knowledge of the intricacies of city finance have tremendously benefitted our residents, and propelled Grand Prairie into the many awards, high rankings and accolades of recent years.”

In 2001, Hart was instrumental in founding Grand Prairie’s Rotary Club Golf Tournament. The annual tournament has provided more than $1 million in dental services to Grand Prairie children.

Hart also serves on the Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation. In 2009 he was named Zeus Man of the Year by the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce. He was also honored in the 2009 Grand Prairie Rotary Golf Tournament for his significant contributions to the community.

With Hart At The Helm The City Has Received Many Accolades

Hart said he is glad to have had the honor to work with two amazing Mayors and a consistent City Council with the “utmost decorum.”

Since taking the role of City Manager, Hart has seen Grand Prairie grow from 118,000 to more than 200,000 and ranked nationally as a happiest city, best place to live, best place to retire, best place for a staycation, best city for jobs, best city for living the American dream, best city in which to raise a family, and safest city.

Mayor Jensen said Hart has a succession plan. He has prepared his Deputy and Chief Operating Officer Steve Dye to “be ready to step in and continue the many great projects that are in the works.”

Jensen concluded “To this end, The City Council will have discussions with Steve in July and should finalize in August.”