37 The University of Texas at Dallas is a big draw for Richardson. Photo By UTD

Richardson

Laura Maczka may well be the queen of Richardson political firsts. She spearheaded the first major public–private partnership in Richardson, which led to a $150,000 outdoor classroom. She was the first female mayor pro tempore in the city’s history. And now, she’s the first person to ever be elected by the people of Richardson to the position of mayor.

No, Maczka is not the first mayor of Richardson. See, starting in the 1950s, residents would cast their ballots for seven city council members. Then, behind closed doors, the council would appoint one of those members to the position of mayor and another to second-in-command. In 2012, Richardson residents petitioned to change all that. And in May 2013, Maczka, who first moved to Richardson in the seventh grade, became mayor with 71 percent of the vote. 

“It was one of the best things for engaging our residents in a way they had never been engaged before,” Maczka says, seated in her Richardson office. The flip side, of course, is that now residents are also more vocal than ever before. And Maczka returns every phone call she gets.

She’s a fast talker with a big laugh and a tough-to-comprehend energy level. A woman with more experience on boards and PTAs and HOAs than most will muster in a lifetime, yet a woman who takes great pains to learn from her long-serving predecessors, like her neighbor, former mayor and current municipal judge Raymond Noah. “All the neighbors tease us,” Maczka says, “They’re like, ‘This is the mayor’s street.’ ” 

But Maczka is also determined to move Richardson forward, acknowledging its challenges and pushing progressive goals for the future, what Mackza calls the “wow factor.” She’s talking Alamo Drafthouse, Wildflower Arts & Music Festival, mixed-use development, State Farm bringing in 12,000 employees, public art. It’s all part of the equation. 

“Richardson is a great city, but we’re not content,” she says. “We recognize that the world is changing, and we’re changing, too. And there’s going to be wow.” — Cristina Daglas

Demographics

  • Median Age: 36.8
  • Population Growth (2000-2013): 13.80%
  • Population Density: 3,658 people per square mile

Schools

  • Students Passing STARR K-11: 83%
  • Average SAT Score: 1512
  • Students Taking SAT/ACT: 74.80%
  • Instruction Spending Per Student: $4,285

Crime

  • Violent Crime Rate: 1.66 per 1,000 residents
  • Non-Violent Crime Rate: 29.25 per 1,000 residents

Real Estate

  • Average Price of Homes Sold (2013): $216,953
  • Sales Price Change (2011-2013): 12.20%
  • Owner-Occupied Homes: 62.00%

Ambiance: 76