Goodbye 2021; hello 2022! Another year comes to an end in the American Dream City. It was an eventful year in Arlington, with a new mayor elected, city growth, anniversaries, celebrations, and major announcements. Here’s a look back at some of the things that shaped our city in 2021.
- Arlington’s on-demand public transportation service, Via Rideshare, expands city-wide.
- The city remembers Arlington resident Amber Hagerman, who tragically died in 1996 at age 9. Amber’s kidnapping and murder led to the AMBER Alert System, which has helped save hundreds of children worldwide.
- Six Flags Over Texas introduces its Fire & Ice Winter Festival with winter-themed shows, attractions, and special events.
- WWE announces that WrestleMania will return to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, scheduled for April 2022. In 2016, more than 100,000 people attended WrestleMania 32 in Arlington.
- Arlington and much of North Texas get hit with wild winter weather, leaving thousands without power. The storm brings a mess of snow, ice, freezing temperatures, and snarled resources.
- Rep. Ron Wright passes away at age 67. Mr. Wright was active in city politics and community service work for more than 30 years, serving Arlington and Tarrant County. In 2019, he was elected to the U.S. Congress, representing Texas’ 6th Congressional District.
- Arlington launches a tool-sharing program, which offers a variety of tools and equipment residents can borrow to help with home improvement projects.
- While not widely celebrated, February marked the 10th anniversary since Arlington hosted Super Bowl XLV — one of the largest events ever to grace our humble little town.
- Arlington’s future National Medal of Honor Museum receives a $20 million donation from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his family.
- Arlington’s public transportation service, Via Rideshare, introduces RAPID — a fleet of five self-driving vehicles. Arlington’s pilot program is the first to integrate autonomous vehicles into an existing public transportation service.
- UTA’s Movin’ Mavs of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) wins their ninth championship.
- Arlington hosts two major sporting events at Cowboys Stadium — the American Rodeo and the 2021 State Fair Classic. The college football game was postponed because of COVID-19 and then moved from Dallas to Arlington due to winter storm damage at Cotton Bowl stadium.
- The Texas Rangers open their 2021 home season at the new Globe Life Field, with more than 38,000 fans attending. It was one of the first full-capacity sporting events in the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
- WalletHub ranks Arlington 23rd on its list of 100 best large cities to start a business.
- The City of Arlington and the Arlington Historical Society dedicate the World War II Memorial at City Center Plaza.
- Arlington’s Landmark Preservation Commission launches an interactive map for the city’s local landmarks.
- Longtime Arlington resident B.J. Thomas passes away at age 78. Thomas, best remembered for his recording of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” was also known for his pop, country, and Christian songs.
- Arlington celebrates the anniversary of its longest continually operated restaurant. As a restaurant for 90 years, previous occupants of the building include The Triangle Inn and Arlington Steak House. The current occupant, Jambo’s BBQ, celebrates its 5th anniversary.
- Arlington elects Jim Ross — a former marine, police officer, lawyer, and small business owner — as our new mayor. Mayor Jeff Williams steps down after six years of service to the city.
- Arlington Public Library launches the Arlington Black History Community Archive, a digital collection of documents, photos, and resources for local Black history.
- Persis Forster, the Miss Persis Studio of Dance and Performing Arts founder, passes away at age 91. She was a tremendous influence on local arts, culture, and downtown Arlington.
- Arlington and Chevrolet honor the Suburban, and its impact on the television and film industry, with a Hollywood Star. The star, located in Arlington’s Entertainment District, is the first one awarded to a vehicle. Besides being an iconic SUV, the Chevrolet Suburban is also a hardworking actor, appearing in more than 1,750 television shows and films. Arlington’s GM Assembly Plant opened in 1954 and has built the Suburban and other SUVs since 1999.
- Local historians celebrate the 145th anniversary of the T & P Railroad arriving in Arlington. Many consider July 19, 1876, Arlington’s founding, although the town wouldn’t officially incorporate until 1884.
- Mission Arlington celebrates 35 years of service to Arlington.
- Six Flags Over Texas celebrates its 60th anniversary. The park also announces a new ride for 2022 — the Pirates of Speelunker Cave, a re-imagination of The Cave ride that operated from 1964-1991.
- Globe Life Park, the former home of the Texas Rangers, changes its name to Choctaw Stadium. Major League Rugby announces that the Dallas Jackals will play there in 2022. The Jackals were named as an expansion team in 2020, with 2022 being their inaugural season.
- The City of Arlington creates a video featuring animation and LEGOs to explain the FY2022 city budget. The video goes viral and currently has over a million views on YouTube.
- Arlington non-profit organizations receive more than $2.2 million in donations during the annual North Texas Giving Day, a record-breaking amount for the city.
- General Motors announces a $55 million investment in their Arlington Assembly Plant, signaling their commitment to the city and its continued growth.
- Legal Draft Brewing Co., Arlington’s second brewery, celebrates its 5th anniversary.
- Arlington hosts its inaugural Ramblin’ Roads Music Festival with a weekend of live music and events downtown.
- Loews Hotels breaks ground on a new $550 million hotel and convention center, further contributing to the tourism draw in Arlington’s bustling Entertainment District.
- Sister Cities of Arlington, Texas, and Bad Königshofen, Germany, celebrate the 70th anniversary of their relationship, which began in the summer of 1951.
- Arlington’s East Library and Recreation Center celebrates its first anniversary.
- Local historians celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Bankhead Highway through Arlington. The Bankhead Highway connected Washington D.C. and San Diego. The route in Arlington officially opened on November 26, 1921. Today, it’s more commonly known as Division Street.
- The Kringle Village Holiday Hoedown makes its debut at Knapp Heritage Park.
- Arlington’s Landmark Preservation Commission hosts their first annual Local Marker Dedication Ceremony. The LPC recognizes 14 local landmarks at the ceremony, the most approved in a single year since the program began.
- Arlington’s Parks and Recreation Department announces plans to build a Mineral Well Tower Fountain at City Center Plaza. The 40-foot tower will celebrate Arlington’s mineral well, which existed from the 1890s to 1951, and was a significant city landmark and tourist attraction.
- Major expansion begins in Downtown Arlington’s Urban Union District — a popular area anchored by Legal Draft Brewing Co.
- The Dallas Cowboys, who play in Arlington, make the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 2018.
- Arlington hosts the Cotton Bowl Classic at Cowboys Stadium, featuring college football’s Cincinnati Bearcats versus the Alabama Crimson Tide.
And that is a look back at Arlington in 2021. What’s next for our city?
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Blog post by Jason S. Sullivan, 01-07-22