Neighbors Learn About Heights Park News, Native Plants at Summer Meeting

Native plants

Master Gardener and Master Naturalist Janet D. Smith shared information about native plants that she uses in her White Rock yard, including red yucca, four-nerve daisy, Turk’s cap, lantana and more. Download a PDF of her presentation.

Dozens of neighbors filled the activity center of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany on July 15 for our neighborhood meeting. The crowd of longtime residents, recent additions and first-time attendees came for updates about Heights Park and a presentation about native plants.

Heights Park Neighborhood Association President Erika Usie kicked off the meeting by welcoming those in attendance and introducing HPNA Vice President Jeff Davis.

Davis updated neighbors on the progress of adding more sign toppers to all street signs in Heights Park. The City of Richardson recently installed 12 new signs, and Davis said HPNA plans for the remaining 11 signs to be installed in the coming months. He also played a recap video from The Heights of Summer block party — a Heights Park tradition that will return in 2019.

Mallory Duncan, HPNA membership chair, shared plans for a new initiative — a Welcome Committee for new neighbors. With the assistance of the city, members of the committee will welcome new neighbors, provide them with information about HPNA, local businesses and city services, and hand out recycling bags. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Welcome Committee, email

Duncan also informed neighbors about changes to the Rotary Club flag program. Effective immediately, HPNA will no longer offer flag program registration with HPNA membership payment. Those interested in signing up for flag service may do so at the flag program website.

Usie also introduced the newest member of the HPNA board, Jeff Jackson. Jackson, an integral member of the Greenleaf Gang that coordinated and held this year’s block party, will serve as the new social chair.

Gardening with Native Plants

Guest speaker Janet D. Smith, Dallas County Master Gardener and Master Naturalist, gave an amazing talk about beautiful, drought-tolerant plants that thrive in our part of Texas and are magnets for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. (Download a PDF of her presentation.)

Smith, a resident of White Rock in Dallas, said she credits Carol Feldman of Heights Park for getting her interested in native plants and gardening that require less work than “alien plants” like St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses.

“A native plant is one that was growing here before 1800 with no help from humans,” Smith said. “They are an ancient solution for a modern problem — no fertilizer, no insecticides, no edging, mowing or raking.”

She mentioned that the overall goal isn’t necessarily to have all natives in your yard; instead, a good goal over a period of time is having maybe half native plants plus one in your yard.

“The whole key to gardening is the right plant in the right place,” she said. “Native plants survive in our extreme climate, create a sense of place and provide food for native insects and critters.”

Prize winners

Susan Cluiss and Jean Falsted won prizes at the neighborhood meeting on July 15. Cluiss earned a gift card to Communion Neighborhood Cooperative and Cafe, and Falsted received free flag service for a year.



July 2018 Yard of the Month: 536 Greenleaf Drive

July 2018 Yard of the Month: 536 Greenleaf Drive

July 2018 Yard of the Month: 536 Greenleaf Drive

The July 2018 Yard of the Month belongs to Gracie Evans at 536 Greenleaf Drive. Here is what she had to say about her yard:

Thank you neighbors for awarding me with Yard of the Month! Our neighborhood has so many great looking yards; it’s an honor to have won!

The redo of my yard has been a long time coming. I bought my house at the end of 2015 and decided the interior needed renovation first. It took about a year and a half to get everything on the inside done to my liking. Once I was satisfied with that, I knew the exterior was the next on the list to be done.

I contacted Keane Landscaping, which really deserves the credit for everything. I did not know exactly what I wanted except something low maintenance yet beautiful. Alex Courtney met with me many times to share ideas but the best thing they provided was a 3-D mock up of how everything would look. I highly recommend this for anyone who, like me, doesn’t understand or know landscaping very well.

A favorite feature of my new yard is the lights used to light up and cast shadows on my house at night. Thank you Heights Park Neighborhood Association for this great honor!

Gracie Evans, 536 Greenleaf Drive



Learn About Native Plants at Neighborhood Meeting on July 15

Native plants

Our guest speaker will be Master Gardener and Master Naturalist Janet D. Smith. She will inspire you to fill your garden with native plants

Our next Heights Park Neighborhood Association meeting is going to be 3D. Different location, different day, delightful speaker. Join your neighbors at 3 p.m., Sunday, July 15 at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 421 Custer Road (map). Child care will be provided (details below).

Our guest speaker will be Master Gardener and Master Naturalist Janet D. Smith. She will inspire you to fill your garden with native plants. She specializes in growing drought-tolerant plants that attract bees, butterflies and birds. She loves helping others discover the thrill of having their own nature channel out their windows.

In addition to the guest speaker, HPNA board members will give updates on the neighborhood, sign topper installation and more.

Have children? Bring them to the meeting, where they can enjoy the playground at the church, which volunteers will monitor. And before the meeting wraps, they will get to plant a seed to care for at home.

Win Prizes!
Our neighborhood school, Heights Elementary, needs donations of large hand sanitizer (pumps) and cleaning wipes (Clorox or similar). Those who bring either donation will be entered in a raffle for a $50 gift certificate for Communion Neighborhood Cooperative Coworking, Coffee and Eats. And all meeting attendees will be entered in our drawing for our door prize — a free annual enrollment for flag service.



June 2018 Yard of the Month: 534 Winchester Drive

June 2018 Yard of the Month: 534 Winchester Drive

June 2018 Yard of the Month: 534 Winchester Drive

The June 2018 Yard of the Month belongs to Melissa and Theo at 534 Winchester Drive. Here is what they had to say about their yard:

We are honored to be selected as yard of the month in a neighborhood with so many yards worthy of the award!

We moved here in fall 2016 and felt welcomed by the neighborhood from the first day. Practically without fail, greetings from neighbors shifted to conversation about our home’s original owner — Mr. Freck Matthews, a true fixture of Heights Park. In addition to the consensus that he was an all-around great neighbor, many conveyed stories of how well he maintained his yard, such as how he pulled weeds by hand in the heat of summer. We wanted to carry his dedication forward as best we could.

The goal for the landscaping was to reduce the amount of turf grass by adding a low-water, low-maintenance flowerbed. We also wanted to attract beneficial insects and wildlife; we are already seeing bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies enjoying the flowers. Unfortunately, the flowerbed is not as low-maintenance as we’d hoped thus far. Lesson learned: don’t underestimate the persistence of nutsedge and bermuda grass! Weed-blocking fabric did not stop them; layers of cardboard, mulch and good old-fashioned weed pulling by hand seem to be more effective. We are novice gardeners, figuring everything out through trial and lots of error. It’s a work in progress!

We selected mostly native perennial plants that can handle the full and direct sun in our south-facing yard. A lot of inspiration came from taking the city of Richardson WaterWise home landscape tours in 2016 and 2017. Nearly all of our plants regrew from the winter, and some are already re-seeding themselves. This spring, several white iris plants a neighbor gave us from her garden bloomed, and we look forward to seeing them multiply in future years. The Chinese pistachio tree was planted about a year ago, and will provide some much-needed shade to the front yard as it grows.

Thank you again!

Melissa and Theo
534 Winchester Drive



Local Business Spotlight: Communion Neighborhood Cooperative

Communion Neighborhood Cooperative is located at 514 Lockwood Dr #5609 (behind QuikTrip).

Communion Neighborhood Cooperative is located at 514 Lockwood Dr #5609 (behind QuikTrip).

Editor’s note: The following is part of our series featuring local businesses. We believe everyone has a story to tell. If you know a business or neighbor who should be featured, email

The Heights Park Neighborhood Association is excited to introduce you to our new neighbor Tim Kahle. Tim is the owner and founder of Communion Neighborhood Cooperative.

Tim, tell us about you and your family.

I’ve been married to my wife, Amy, for 10 years this year. Our kids are Samuel (5 1/2), Ruthie (4), and twins Judah & Abby (2 1/2) and a dog. We live here in Richardson and have loved being part of this community.

When did Communion open?

We soft launched in November of 2017, but we had our Grand Opening in January 2018.

What is a highlight about Communion that makes it different from other venues?

The first, and sometimes confusing, thing about Communion is that we are three different venues under one brand.

Our cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with a delicious three roaster coffee rotation program and one of the most robust whiskey selections in the area.

Our co-working space allows for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses to grow & connect with people they would’ve never otherwise connected with.

Our space also operates as an event venue on Thursday and Friday nights and on the weekends. So if you need a space for a birthday or graduation party or if you want to host an opera or wedding rehearsal, we’ve got you covered.

We’re really becoming something of Richardson’s living room. Much like the old sitcom “Cheers,” we hope that when you come here, you’ll never feel alone, never feel lost, but will always feel at home.

Why did you choose this location? Why did you open this type of business? What are your hopes for the neighborhood and surrounding area?

It’s a fantastic location right off of 75 and Belt Line. And the old car shop that we took over was a prime spot to develop the industrial modern feel that we wanted. But it all started by trying to figure out, “What is that community watering hole for Richardson?” Richardson didn’t really have one, so we started dreaming about a bar/cafe/restaurant as the gathering spot. But we couldn’t stop there. What if the community gathering spot was also the spot that help business thrive? That was when the co-working and event sides started.

As far as our hopes go … we want to be a force for good for Richardson. As we said before, we hope for deep meaningful connection. Hopefully those connections will help businesses grow and help us impact our individual neighborhoods.

We also hope to help Richardson not just be a map point between Downtown Dallas and McKinney. Rather, we strive to see Richardson’s robust, multi-cultural, artistic, entrepreneurial, and community-oriented ethos shine in the metroplex.

Explain the difference between Communion Restaurant and Communion working co op.

Many people we have run into believe they have to pay to be a member to even eat at the restaurant. I agree, that’s a common misconception. The cafe and the front patio are open to the public just like any other restaurant. You’re welcome to grab a bite, sit anywhere you’d like and use our free wifi. We’d love for everyone to have our homemade biscuit sandwich in the morning, the new short rib sandwich for lunch, my favorite Old Fashioned for happy hour. Everyone should share our family-style dinners with good friends (the steak & frites is a crowd favorite!)

But if you’re a business that needs access to meeting rooms, free coffee, mail services, and opportunities to network, learn and grow in a beautifully crafted space, then you’ll want to join our monthly membership. Did we mention a private back patio with a putting green, ping pong, and a fire pit?

Does your business have a stated mission statement, the reason it exists?

We do! Our mission is to grow a community of creative entrepreneurs within Richardson centered on cultured co-working and craft coffee and eats.



Former HPNA President Janet DePuy Celebrated as ‘Real Hero’ at Ceremony

Family surrounds Janet DePuy (in black), former HPNA president, at a ceremony recognizing the contributions of the newest Richardson Real Heroes honorees. 

The Richardson Real Heroes program seeks to recognize the silent generosity of people who give of themselves to benefit Richardson.

On April 4, in a beautiful ceremony at Richardson City Hall, with family and friends and community present, Richardson recognized a real hero, Janet DePuy. She was chosen from many nominations for her decades of service as a founding member of the Heights Park Neighborhood Association and president for the last 10 years.

Through Janet’s dedication and leadership, Heights Park has become one of the most active and productive neighborhood associations in Richardson, making significant contributions to the City of Richardson’s economic growth and development. A few of the many accomplishments include the revitalized Heights Shopping Center, the addition of QuikTrip, two creek bridge enhancements, an active Crime Watch program, a Yard of the Month program, street parties, and street sign toppers. Janet also serves on the City of Richardson Plan Commission, is on the board of Arts Incubator of Richardson (AIR), and is in Leadership Richardson Class XXXIII.

If you aren’t familiar with all that Janet accomplished during her tenure with the neighborhood association and all that she will no doubt contiue to contribute to our neighborhood and city through her active volunteer efforts, just walk through the neighborhood. Much of what you see has been touched or influenced by her passion for the people and the community in which she lives. And if you haven’t thanked her for her silent efforts over many, many years and for the positive impact she has directly had on where you live and play every day, when you take that walk, stop by on Parkview and shake her hand, or drop her a note, or send her a text.

Want to hear directly from Janet about what volunteering means to her? Visit:



Thanks to Our Members, New Sign Toppers Are on Their Way

Sign toppers will be added to 12 intersections in Heights Park this spring.

Be on the lookout for more pride toppers shining through-out the neighborhood. Did you know Heights Park was the first to install sign toppers identifying the boundaries of our neighborhood? (Another initiative credited to Janet DePuy!)

Okay, time to play who’s getting them next. Cover up the below and see if you can guess before revealing the list.

  • Ridgedale & Custer
  • Ridgedale & Inglewood
  • Lindale & Newberry
  • Lindale & Stardust
  • Twilight & Floyd
  • Parkview & Thompson
  • Greenleaf & Thompson
  • Ridgedale & Thompson
  • Westwood & Thompson
  • Lockwood & Thompson
  • Lockwood & Gentle
  • Weatherred & Westwood

The city should have them installed by the end of May and may we say Thank You to all the Heights Park Neighborhood Association members. This is made possible by your membership dollars.