Municipal leaders release plans for 2018
As the state’s population increases, plans must be made by cities and towns to accommodate the growth. Monitoring city planning is a good tactic for contractors because they will be well-informed of the plan and will know when projects are implemented.
Several cities in Texas have developed big plans and are looking to kickstart them in the coming year. The McKinney National Airport is putting together the final portion of its plan to expand the airport terminal, storage hangars, runways and other support facilities. Airport officials also plan to assess compatible land uses near the airport. A vision for the airport was compiled by the Planning Advisory Committee, a Technical Advisory Committee and a series of public information workshops. The plan will replace one from 2006.
The Georgetown Municipal Airport master plan has been updated from 2005. Grant funding helped pay $218,000 to complete a draft of the updated process. The draft recommends a list of 52 projects with an estimated cost of $59.6 million to be considered over the next two decades. Of the estimated cost, 84 percent could be eligible for federal aviation grant funding. A couple of projects include lengthening the airport’s main runway and replacing lighting on several of the airport’s taxiways. The plan also includes a proposal to open the southwest portion of airport property, the area closest to Northwest Boulevard, to private development.
According to the Guadalupe Street corridor plan, Austin should reduce access to drivers along the one-mile stretch of road along The University of Texas campus to better accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and bus riders. The $33.7 million proposal for Guadalupe include converting a stretch of Nueces Street that runs north of 24th Street to two-way traffic, giving drivers an alternative to Guadalupe; removing the on-street parking and providing space for protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks; reducing the number of car lanes from two lanes in each direction to one in each direction and adding a dedicated bus lane in each direction of Guadalupe, from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to 29th Street. The Austin city council will decide in the spring whether to proceed with the projects using mobility bond funds that voters approved in 2016.
Another plan taking place in Austin is the State of Texas Capitol Complex master plan. The plan envisions four new buildings around the Capitol to accommodate 3,500 additional state employees who now work in other parts of the Austin area, a five-level underground parking garage and a large grass mall on Congress Avenue, between 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
A consulting firm has been hired to lead a statewide outreach and design phase for an Alamo master plan. A team will travel the state and gather input on how the key concepts should take shape. Key concepts in the plan include restoration of the church and the adjoining stone building known as the Long Barrack, a design to return the 1836 battlefield to “a sense of reverence and respect” and conversion of three state-owned buildings to a museum and a theater for screening a film on the Alamo story.
Little Elm council members received an update on the town’s water reuse master plan. Some of the objectives of the master plan is to evaluate the existing reuse and groundwater irrigation system, develop improvements to meet demands for future conditions and provide recommendations for Little Elm to expand and optimize its non-potable reuse supply. A capital improvement plan was presented with three phases. Phase 1 would include the addition of a pump station, ground storage tank and connection of McCord Park and King Road. The cost would be $3.5 million. Phase 2 would connect the Eldorado reuse and Walker Lane systems for a cost of $2.97 million. Phase 3 includes a pump station expansion, ground storage tank and connecting the Main Street and Cottonwood system for a cost of $9.2 million.
City planning is such a major undertaking and many are recognized and rewarded for their efforts. The Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association recently recognized city planning departments. In 2018, many municipal leaders and contracting firms will find an abundance of new opportunities.