Volume 20, Issue 27 - July 8, 2022
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.
There are multiple topics of high concern for Americans today but one that is receiving less media attention is related to the country’s water resources. Regions of high growth are vying for the same diminishing water supplies, and, at the same time, the country’s drought is sapping water in every pond, lake, river, and reservoir. Just last year, the Department of the Interior issued its first official declaration of a water-shortage in the Colorado River—a critical source of water for numerous large states. But that’s not the only area of concern. Old water system plants need to be upgraded, aging pipelines must be replaced, wastewater processes require modernization, and cyber protection should be enhanced immediately. 

Experts report that further strain on water resources could threaten a crisis. It should be noted, however, that water issues in America are being addressed. Large amounts of funding are currently available for public officials to address water issues.

One large funding source is the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation (WIFIA) program which invests in regional water projects with long-term, low-cost loans. In 2021 alone, the US Environmental Protection Agency awarded $8.9 billion in WIFIA loans to 40 individual water projects. Many of those projects are just now being launched and over the next several years American citizens will benefit as water systems are modernized, expanded, upgraded, and equipped with greater cybersecurity protection.

The city of Houston's Fiscal Year 2023 budget began July 1, totaling $5.7 billion. The city also updated its five-year capital improvement plan (CIP). The five-year CIP is revised annually to include new projects, reflect changes in priorities, and extend the plan an additional year. The first year of the plan is the city’s current fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. The FY 2023-2027 CIP projects a total of $10.3 billion from all funding sources.

Some of the projects include the North Belt Police Station at a cost of $22,400,000. The new 35,000-square-foot facility would tie into an existing fire station located on Gears Road. The station would provide police services to the Greenspoint area.

The existing Municipal Courts facility was extensively damaged in August 2017 during Hurricane Harvey. Beginning in 2023, the city will replace the facility at a cost of $125,112,000.

The city plans to begin work on a Hispanic History Research Center in 2024 at a cost of $19,458,000. The center will provide a special collections library and a Houston Hispanic Heritage Library, allowing the public to trace their lineage and explore Houston history.

Beginning in 2023, the city plans to design and construct the 69th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant at a cost of $63,740,000. The project includes electrical, mechanical, structure, process, and piping improvements of various components to control operation and maintenance costs and ensure regulatory compliance.

The Information Technology Department plans to replace the fire department’s Emergency Alerting System in 2023 at a cost of $2,500,000. The digital/network-based alerting system would make the fire station SMART controlled by network components that interface the buildings lights, audio, paging, and alert modules with the city's dispatch system at the Houston Emergency Center.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award nearly $1 billion from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to 85 airports across the country to improve terminals of all sizes. Eight airports in Texas will receive a total of $103,440,000.

  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport - $35 million: This project constructs a zero-carbon electrical central utility plan, which will assist the airport's goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Phase 1 will construct the facility and convert two of five terminals. Phase 2 will convert the remaining three terminals and on-site hotel.  

  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport - $40 million: This project improves energy efficiencies, ticketing, security screening checkpoints, baggage systems, gates, and modernizes curbside access and loading bridges. 

  • Austin Bergstrom International Airport - $15 million: Funds will improve accessibility with hearing loops, wayfinding, and multi-lingual assistance, plus assistive care restrooms and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance throughout. Grant funding also will cover energy efficient systems, glass tinting, and green energy construction. 

  • William P. Hobby Airport - $3.6 million: This project will add new gates and baggage systems. ADA access will be improved with wheelchair turning clearances in restrooms, video relay services, animal-relief areas, hearing loops, and sensory rooms. Energy efficiency enhancements include new lighting, high-efficiency insulation, and energy efficient glass. 

  • El Paso International Airport - $5 million: This project replaces ceiling panels, adds energy efficient lighting, new passenger seating to provide device charging, and improves ADA access. 

  • Corpus Christi International Airport - $1.8 million: This project will modernize restrooms to include mother’s rooms and service animal relief areas for ADA compliance. The project will also include adding generators for heating and air conditioning and electric vehicle charging stations. 

  • Arlington Municipal Airport - $540,000: This project includes replacing aging HVAC systems with energy efficient and more reliable systems. 

  • Laredo International Airport - $2.5 million: These funds will add new security checkpoints in the airport and additional concessions space. The project also includes construction of additional restrooms, service animal relief areas, sensory room, and improving ADA compliance and accessibility.
Dr. James Hurley
President
Tarleton State University
Public career and education highlights: I have enjoyed a lifetime of service as an instructor, professor, dean, and president of two other institutions before becoming the 16th president of Tarleton State in 2019. Tarleton is experiencing remarkable academic excellence and a dynamic enrollment that makes us the eighth-fastest growing public regional institution in the country. Thanks to a keen focus on life-changing breakthroughs, we have attained the designation of Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity from the Carnegie Classification of Higher Education. My Doctorate in Education is from Morehead State University, my master’s degree from Indiana University and my bachelor’s degree from the University of Pikeville.

What I like best about my public service is: Giving back and paying forward. So many people poured into my life to help me get where I am. Now I have the responsibility to help others. I’m a proud first-generation college graduate, the grandson of coal miners and a son to parents who taught me that education unlocks a brighter future. Because of that I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure that the brightest minds in Texas receive the best education possible. A university degree will change their lives and the lives of their families for generations.

The best advice I’ve received is: Put the dreams of others first, and your own dreams will come true. Nearly 80 percent of Tarleton Texans receive some form of financial assistance, and more than 40 percent are Pell Grant eligible. This means that their dream of a transformative university education might not be possible without innovative initiatives like our Distinguished High School Partners and Distinguished College Partners that guarantee scholarships for qualifying students. I firmly believe that as long as we put the dreams of our students first, then our dream to become the premier comprehensive regional university in the nation will come true sooner rather than later.

My favorite way to de-stress is: A good early-morning run across campus and through Stephenville neighborhoods relaxes me. It’s also a great time to plan my day and dream big. Sometimes I run alongside our Texan Corps of Cadets or student-athletes.

People might be surprised to know that I: Love extreme skiing. What an adrenaline rush just before you head down a run! I’m 100 percent engaged in the thrill, in the zone, and nothing else matters.

One thing I wished more people knew about Tarleton State University is: Our students come from all parts of Texas, 42 states and more than three dozen countries. They love this very special place — its people and traditions, its commitment to their triumphs in and out of the classroom. From the moment they arrive, our students know they’re part of something tremendous. We learn together, work together, serve together. Our diverse experiences and thinking bring us together. We’re a family. The Tarleton family.
College Station City Council and the citizens bond advisory committee have started prioritizing its list of projects to be included in the more than $95 million bond for the November general election.

voters will consider projects by groups unless the council wants an individual project to be considered on its own. Those project groups can include public safety, facilities, parks, and streets. The council has between August 10 and August 22 to finalize ballot language.

Council chose to pursue the following projects and their estimated costs:

  • Fire station #7 - $10,500,000. 
  • Rock Prairie Road widening from the freeway east to Fitch, and adding separated bicycle lanes - $18,900.000. 
  • City park improvements - $8,000,000. 
  • Bachmann Park Little League building and athletic building - $7,350,000. 
  • Replacing six Veterans Park soccer fields - $6,300,000. 
  • Pickleball/Futsal courts - $1,050,000. 
  • Replacing two Veterans Park artificial turf fields - $3,150,000. 
  • Bicycle/pedestrian improvements - $5,250,000. 
  • Additional traffic signals at five locations to be determined - $5,250,000. 
  • New Central Park operations shop - $7,350,000. 
  • Thomas Park improvements - $3,570,000. 
  • Replacing Bee Creek and Central tennis courts - $1,575,000. 
  • Lincoln Recreation Center area improvements - $1,050,000. 
  • Development of Texas Independence Park in College Station’s Midtown area - $12,600,000. 
  • Swimming pool at Thomas Park - $3,150,000.  
  • Rebuild Gilcrest Avenue from Thomas Park to Munson - $4,000,000.
Austin City Council members are looking at the 32-acre city-owned Rutherford Lane Campus to house its emergency services. Located at 1520 Rutherford Lane, the site could be redeveloped as a campus for the Austin Police Department (APD), the Austin Fire Department, Austin Travis-County Emergency Medical Services, and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. The four departments are housed in different buildings in Austin.

Financial services consultants completed space program requirements for the four Austin departments in April. The consultants will also be presenting building performance specifications. Once completed, the city will then have the technical data needed to draft a request for proposals for the redevelopment of the Rutherford Lane Campus in 2023.

The city plans to create a community engagement strategy before the end of 2022 to understand how a new campus can serve the surrounding neighborhoods as well as the city.
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) on July 7 approved financial assistance totaling more than $10 million for water, wastewater, and flood projects.  

The city of Corrigan received $6.7 million and intends to acquire new property adjacent to the existing wastewater treatment plant for an expansion that will double its current treatment capacity. The city then plans to remove the existing wastewater treatment plant components from service for rehabilitation. In addition, the city will create and implement an asset management plan and emergency preparedness plan. 

The East Texas Municipal Utility District will receive $2.1 million to replace water lines and service equipment in its water distribution system. The project includes development of a water master plan and installation of new water lines to improve service and increase water quality. 

The Riverside Special Utility District will receive $1.6 million to drill a new water well to supply an additional 500 gallons of groundwater per minute to fulfill demand. It will also replace sections of the distribution system to reduce water loss. 
The city of Lakeway introduced 11 improvement projects June 30 from its parks master plan. The largest project, costing $7.8 million, is at Lakeway City Park. Some of the improvements include building a new activity center/venue and picnic pavilion, building a new restroom, adding a half-mile paved boardwalk trail, and adding a kayak launch and drop-off loop.

The Lakeway Swim Center, at a cost of $3.6 million, will add a multipurpose sports field, a 12-lane pool, splash pad, double flow rider surf simulator, and a lazy river.

Improvements at North Lakeway Greenbelt will cost $2.5 million and include renovations to the parking lot, adding two trailheads, adding boardwalk trail and overlook points, and adding rugged and steep trails.

Costing $2.3 million, Butler/Rough Hollow Park might receive an amphitheater or two multipurpose fields. Additional improvements include a ninja course, a splash pad, and a decomposed granite trail.

An all-inclusive playground is one of the proposed improvements at Serene Hills Park. At a cost of $2.2 million, other upgrades include a pavilion, nature play area, wildlife overlook, 10-foot concrete walk, and granite trails.

The city is requesting feedback from the community in order to make changes to the improvements and prioritize each project’s level of importance, before presenting it to City Council.
Valley International Airport officials are looking for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding for a new tower, one that will stand about twice as high as the current structure, which is about 60 feet tall. While the new tower is being built, a temporary tower will be erected nearby while the old one is demolished.

Once the old tower is demolished the new one will be built in its exact place with a construction time frame of nine months to a year after FAA approval and a subsequent bid process.

The airport board in May approved adding $15 million to the budget for the new tower. The plan is to be reimbursed if FAA funding is approved. The remaining funds will come from the airport’s passenger facility charge.

In June, the airport board approved $1.965 million for design, environmental assessment, and pre-construction engineering in a contract with a Florida facilities and infrastructure consulting firm.
The Texas Department of Transportation has plans to reconstruct State Highway 5 between Spur 399 and US 380 in 2025, and the city of McKinney is looking at options for a possible deck park to add some greenspace to the project.

City Council members were presented in April with three options for the deck park. Option one, costing between $50-$70 million, would be at ground level with SH 5 running underneath the park. Option two, costing between $13-$20 million, would have an inverted deck park with SH 5 running at ground level with the park dipping underneath. The third option, costing between $5-$7 million, would include two separate park spaces connected by pedestrian crossings that run through SH 5.

Estimated costs do not include building, operating, and maintaining the park. City leaders will see if the project qualifies for federal or regional grant funding and if partnerships with local businesses and stakeholder groups are viable.

Public input will be collected at a meeting July 12, and the results will be incorporated into a future pedestrian feasibility study, including a deeper dive into the three design options. The North Central Texas Council of Governments has committed to funding this study.
The Texas State University System is soliciting statements of qualifications for the selection of an architect/engineer firm for the design of the Bobcat Stadium End Zone Complex Expansion. Responses are due by July 21, 2022, at 2 p.m. CDT.

This expansion will consist of the construction of a new 7,600-square-foot weight room and nutrition center which includes a new alumni pavilion and deck on the roof of the building.

Interior renovations include expansion to the existing locker room, new breakout team rooms, new player lounge, a new third level donor suite, installation of a new elevator, and connections to the east and west concourse levels. A solicitation will follow in the coming weeks for a construction manager at risk.

Total construction cost is estimated at $24 million.
Elizabeth Reich has taken a position with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) as the new chief financial officer (CFO). Reich will assume her new role and responsibilities on July 18.

A key member of the executive team, reporting to DART president & chief executive officer Nadine Lee, Reich will lead the agency's accounting, financial reporting, budget, treasury, fare collections and fare payment systems, debt management, investment management, and risk management functions.

Reich comes to DART with more than 20 years of financial leadership experience. She joins the agency from the city of Dallas, where she served as the chief financial officer.

Prior to joining the city of Dallas, Reich spent 16 years with the Social Security Administration, taking on greater challenges and responsibilities including serving as the deputy regional commissioner of the Dallas Region and also serving as its chief financial officer.
The Victoria City Council approved spending $750,000 to purchase a 32-acre property for a new public safety headquarters. The new facility, located at Main Street and Airline Road, will house police, fire administrators, court officials, and 911 dispatchers. The site will also include detention facilities for police and a 911 communications tower.

The new headquarters will occupy a two-story building on 14 acres. The remaining property, which is within the flood plain, might be used by city Parks & Recreation.

In September 2023, the council will likely approve the budget expenditure for construction of the facility.

The project is estimated to be completed by the summer of 2025.
The Ellis County Commissioners Court has agreed to pay $475,000 from the capital improvement fund to obtain 75 acres of land north of Hays that will eventually house the Public Works Department.

The county will begin looking at working with architects in the coming weeks and have options to present to the commission in July.

The search for a location took nearly seven months, finally deciding on the 1700 block of 250th Ave. There were discussions with landowners and real estate agents on a location that was both affordable and had a site that fit county needs.

The current public works location is over 60 years old and is showing its age. Another issue is storage. A separate public works building is being used for bulk material storage and each time the city needs supplies, they must haul it from a separate location. An added bonus is that the new property is in an industrial area.
Roanoke City Council members on June 28 selected an architect to begin the design phase of the future police and courts facility. A needs assessment presented in 2020 showed that a new 58,400-square-foot facility would include additional meeting and conference rooms, a larger training area and dispatch center, additional storage, and a better separation of courts and police. A new shooting range is also planned.

Projected costs for the project are $37.4 million. The needs assessments also had the department relocating to a 6-acre lot on the corner of Fairway Drive and Park Drive, across from the fire station. The current facility is a repurposed grocery store that opened in 2002.

Funding for the facility comes from a proposition that was passed in May 2022 to establish a Crime Control Prevention District and allowing tax dollars to potentially go toward the new police and courts building.

Construction bids are expected to be put out in fall 2022. Once a contractor is selected and groundbreaking takes place, the construction could take between 14-16 months to complete.
Hutto City Council has selected James Earp to serve as the new city manager. Earp brings to Hutto over 16 years of experience with the city of Kyle, where he is currently its assistant city manager. Earp will follow Isaac Turner, who’s served Hutto as interim city manager since January. 

In addition to his municipal experience, Earp holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration/finance and a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Tarleton State University, a Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a graduate certificate in environmental management from Harvard University. 
Mary Scott Nabers will be a Keynote Speaker at the North Texas Commission’s second annual North Texas Infrastructure Summit on Thursday, July 28, at the Hurst Conference Center.

This full-day summit will feature speakers and panelists discussing critical infrastructure and how it impacts business in North Texas.

Topics will include broadband expansion, electric reliability, regional water supply, sustainability, the use of public-private partnerships, and more.

Mary will give the afternoon keynote addressing economic development and Public Private Partnerships (P3s) at 2:30 pm.

 Register for the event here.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from July 1-July 7:

San Jacinto River Authority
  • Stephanie Johnson, Montgomery

Texas Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors
  • Vicki Hollub, Galveston
  • Arun Agarwal, Dallas
  • Adrian Cannady, Temple
  • S. David Deanda Jr., Mission
  • Katie Farmer, Fort Worth
  • L. Frederick "Rick" Francis, El Paso
  • Mauricio Gutierrez, Houston
  • George "Trey" Henderson III, Lufkin
  • Peter J. Holt, Austin
  • Eduardo Margain, Austin
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