City Applying for $700,000 Grant For Sidewalks on Bell, Texas Streets

Sidewalk grant application

Street work was a hot topic at the August City Council meeting and a sidewalk grant was also discussed.

The section of Texas Street that would be paved for a sidewalk if the city is awarded a Safe Routes to Schools-Infrastructure Grant is designated in purple.

City Finance Director Lesa Smith asked the council to approve a resolution which would allow city officials to submit an application applying for to Texas Department of Transportation for a Safe Routes to Schools-Infrastructure Grant which would fund 100 percent of the cost of sidewalks for Texas and Bell streets, to provide safe paths for kids to walk to and from Sulphur Springs Elementary School.
The sidewalk would span from Industrial Drive to Jarbo Street on Texas Street, and from Texas to Bell Street, making it safer for school children walking to and from school.
The city has already received letters of intent from the property owners from whom easements would be needed in order to construct the project.
The resolution was required, and the application is due next week. If approved, the $700,000 project would be contracted out, according to Smith.

The city council gave unanimous approval for city officials to move forward with the grant application.

Street Improvement Projects

Streets designated for repairs in 2020 are highlighted in yellow.

City Manager Marc Maxwell told the council that 20 streets have been designated for paving improvement in 2020, using the $5 street maintenance fee. The lists has been compiled over quite a period of time using input from various city departments, including engineering, public works, utility and water support.
Those projects will be put out for bids, and performed over the course of a a few months, typically during the warmer months of the year. Depending on the weather and availability of contractors, what could mean doing half in one month and half in another month or over more than one month.

City Manager Marc Maxwell, after outlining streets to be repaired in 2020, highlighted (in yellow) streets worked on as part of the street improvement program since 2008.

Maxwell also noted that contrary to complaints some have voiced, many streets outside of downtown have been the focus for street repairs in the last 11 years, since the downtown revitalization project began.

He also displayed on a screen a map with streets that had received improvements highlighted in yellow. He said those would soon be added to the city’s website so that anyone who wants can click and see the past and planned street improvements.
Currently, street improvements continues on Connally Street. The city’s Capital Construction Division is constructing the Connally/League Street intersection at one end of the street and the drainage system at the other end of the street. The plan is to get League at Connally open before school starts on Aug. 20 to better accommodate the heavy vehicle and bus traffic.

The City’s Capital Construction Division is constructing the Connally/League Street intersection at one end of the street and the drainage system at the other end of the street. City officials hope to reopen Connally Street at Leauge Street before school starts on Aug. 20.

While crews work on Connally Street, the Sunset Street project is on hold.
The street running alongside Pacific Park where the drainage issue was addressed will remain closed until Friday, to allow time for the concrete to set and cure properly.

Citizens Comments

Woodside Lane resident Jay Julian during the public comments portion of the meeting thanked Maxwell for the graph, showing that the city has indeed many more streets have been repairs aside from the ones that are or lead to downtown.

A Texas A&M University-Commerce student during the citizens comments portion of the meeting noted potholes on Davis Street over the last year have worsened, causing problems for vehicles of residents and other motorists who travel along the street.

John Lambert asked, after seeing the map of street maintenance repairs made since 2008, when the rate of repair or replacement of the streets was equal to or greater than the rate of deterioration.

A representative from Hopkins-Rains Retired School Personnel personally handed all of the council members an invitation to attend their 50th anniversary at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10. She said 741 people in Hopkins County receive monthly checks from the Teachers Retirement System, for a total of about $16.5 million brought into Hopkins County in 2018, The even will be at The Venue, 219 Main Street. The council members who grew up in Hopkins County were each encouraged to recognize a retired school personnel who made a difference in their lives. Others at the meeting were also invited ot greet and say hi, greet and recognize teachers.

Author: Faith Huffman

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