Monday, January 27, 2014

Friends of the Katy Trail is on the Go!

We have made it easier for you to access our website anytime. This month we launched a mobile friendly website that will make navigating our site easier on your smartphones and tablets. Before the website was optimized it was difficult to read and fill out donation and registration forms, but with help from Interactive Mobile Concepts you can stay up to date on Katy Trail goodness wherever you are. So pick up your tablet or smartphone and check out our new look at now!

Patti Pettit, 2014 David Stocks Award Recipient

Friends of the Katy Trail Executive Director, Robin Baldock, present this year's David Stocks Award to Patti Pettit (right).

Each December we are honored with the task of presenting the David Stocks Award to a deserving volunteer at our year end board meeting. Named after our inaugural Executive Director, the David Stocks Award is presented to someone who has exemplified outstanding service to the Friends of the Katy Trail and we are delighted to announce that our latest recipient is former Board Member, Patti Pettit.

If you have attended one of our member events, then you have likely met Patti. She has lovingly been dubbed our cheerleader due to her positive attitude and warm, welcoming demeanor.  But don’t let that sweet disposition fool you, Patti is a real go-getter. Although due to other ventures, Patti was only able to serve on our board for one year, she accomplished so much in that short time. As chair of our Membership Committee she brought so many new faces to our organization and worked to bring events to our members each month instead of each quarter. She has secured more member perks than anyone in our organization and built many new corporate relationships as well.

Although Patti is no longer on our board she has a passion for the Katy Trail and will work to better the trail and our organization for many years to come. We congratulate Patti on being this year’s David Stocks award recipient and wish her well in her new endeavors.

Huddleston Sculpture and Dedication

Artist Michelle O'Micheal explains her artistic vision to guests at the Huddleston Sculpture Dedication

By now you have surely noticed the new piece of artwork installed on the trail near mile marker 107. The piece, “Steel Remembers” was created by artist Michelle O’Michael through private donations to honor the memory of Lauren Huddleston, the young woman who tragically lost her life on the Katy Trail in 2010. The sculpture design was based on a DNA strip to signify healthy living centered around a curved pole pointing to the heavens showing the journey of Lauren’s soul.

Friends and family of Lauren commissioned both the sculpture and installation on the Katy Trail and a formal dedication was held in late September at the Katy Trail Ice House. The dedication was attended by many of Lauren’s family and friends who helped make the sculpture possible. Lauren’s legacy will live on in other ways as well. She was an organ donor and her donor recipient attended the dedication along with his family. It truly was an inspiring and beautiful day.

“This sculpture is a celebration of the lives of all trail users, especially Ms. Huddleston,” said O’Michael and we couldn’t agree more. Not only is this a beautiful addition the Katy Trail, but we hope it serves as a reminder to all to be safe and mindful of others on the Katy Trail.

Uptown Dallas Supports the Katy Trail and Our Police Officers

Executive Director Robin Baldock, Police Officers Phil Misgrove and Rob Readdy and Membership and Marketing Director Lauren Whitson with new donated bikes.

Uptown Dallas has been longtime supporters of Friends of the Katy Trail and we recently honored them with their own mile marker engraved in the path. You will find them north of the mile marker 110 between the Lemmons.

For the past two years Uptown’s donations have gone to help fund our off-duty police officers.We spend more than $50,000 a year on off-duty police officer salaries to make sure peak hours and weekends are always covered. To have Uptown cover half the cost is a huge relief to our budget.

“The Katy Trail is such an important part of what makes Uptown so enjoyable, and enhancing public safety in the neighborhood is a major initiative for Uptown Dallas, Inc.  With that in mind, continuing our support of the bicycle police patrol on the Trail was a no-brainer”, says Amy Gibson, Executive Director of Uptown Dallas, Inc.

Uptown isn’t the only one giving our officers props lately. After an anonymous donor learned that the condition of our weekday officers bikes was less than ideal, he helped us purchase new ones. Our officers bike between 30 and 40 miles on the Katy Trail each day so it is crucial for them to have top notch equipment to better serve our trail users.

Safety is our number one priority on the Katy Trail and we are thankful to have such outstanding police officers monitoring the Katy Trail. They work long hours in all sorts of weather conditions to keep everyone safe. Next time you see them out on the trail let them know you appreciate their efforts.

Goal Surpassed for Annual Support Campaign

Each October, the Friends of the Katy Trail conducts an Annual Support Campaign to raise money for operations and ensure we meet our annual fundraising goal. This is one of the few times we ask supporters to give in addition to their membership. Our goal for 2013 was $150,000 which was up from $125,000 in 2012. A lofty goal considering the short 30 day timeline, but you all delivered and we not only met, but surpassed our goal making our 2014 Annual Support Campaign total $174,828! We are extremely grateful to have the support of so many families and businesses in our area.

Major support came from Trammel Crow Residential donating $25,000! Other top donors include Alamo Manhattan, Company Café, JLB, Hillwood, Katy Trail Ice House, Sarofim Realty and Westdale. Thank you banners are up along the trail recognizing individual donors that gave $1,000 or more and businesses that gave $5,000. Check them out and be sure to thank those you know for supporting the Katy Trail. To view a complete list of all of our major supporters click here.

Each year we are tasked with raising more than $650,000 to fund the electric and water bills, salaries for safety patrol officers, and maintenance and improvements for the Katy Trail.  With over 20 acres of trail to landscape, fertilize and preserve these funds are dire to keeping the trail safe, beautiful and clean. We are grateful for such a giving community who believe in the Katy Trail and hope to see it continue to flourish in years to come.

Ways to continue to support the Katy Trail in 2014:

Trammell Crow Residential Hosts Annual Better Best Event

Our annual Better Best event, which honors our top donors, was hosted by Trammell Crow Residential at Old Parkland on November 14th. All members who give at the Better Membership level of $500 and above are invited to hear the latest news on the Katy Trail and most importantly, it’s a chance for our staff and board to personally thank donors for their support. The event was chaired by former board member and current membership committee member Pat Snoots who has worked with us on the event for several years. Other notable attendees include Bobby Snyder, Stacey and Arnie Verbeek and Sarah and Jim Hutcheson.

Trammell Crow Residential has been long time supporters of the Katy Trail and with their current development in the works off the Katy Trail at ‘Goat Hill’ it was a perfect time to partner with them on this event. We are extremely grateful to TCR for inviting us to celebrate with them at their beautiful venue and we appreciate their mindset to give back to the neighborhood treasure that is the Katy Trail. This past Annual Support Campaign Trammell Crow Residential donated $25,000.

We look forward to the Better Best cocktail event all year long and thank all those who were in attendance. Our donors are what makes the Katy Trail so special and we can’t wait to celebrate with you all again soon.

Other Odds, Ends and Events

Our mailing address is changing. We will now be using our physical address for all mail. If you have a return envelope with our old address, it should be forwarded to us, but please take note that our new mailing address is:

5207 McKinney Avenue, Suite 19A
Dallas, TX 75205

We’re right off the trail on the north end. Stop by and see us sometime!

We know you’ve been dying to know and we are ready to tell you. Our 2014 Michelob Ultra Katy 5K will be held on Thursday, May 8th. Online registration will open March 1st so set your calendars because you know it will sell out!

Other member events:

February 25th - Member Social at Origin Kitchen and Bar
March 20 – Member Social at Mattito’s
March 29 – Membership and Safety Drive on the Katy Trail

Be sure to check out our Events page often for updates!