Volume 11, Issue 22 - Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Economic development is the highest priority for a majority of America's mayors. And, within that category, parks and recreation is the No. 1 redevelopment priority throughout the country.
There are several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that parks generate an incredible amount of revenue for cities. One source reports that more than $154 billion annually in U.S. economic activity comes from parks. Additionally, citizens want to live near parks and recreation areas.
Cities, however, are also investing in parks because of sustainability goals. The trees, plants, and landscaping help to mitigate the effects of climate change. Innovative designs and landscaping such as wetlands and rain gardens help with storm water management, and the trees and plants help purify the air.
Philadelphia city leaders recently unveiled a 10-year, $200 million master plan for the redevelopment of an old park in South Philly. The Fairmount Park Conservancy has divided the large project into two phases. The first will involve the creation of elevated boardwalks, a picnic grove, access points for fishing, and restoration of a 40-acre wetland. The first phase will also offer contracting opportunities to expand a creek in the park for kayaking and construction of a public facility on a hill in the park that provides views of the city skyline and its rivers.

Check out the latest article from our Texas Government Insider Newsletter!
Washington, D.C. - A $19.1 billion disaster aid bill cleared a final hurdle in Congress with a 354-58 vote in the House on June 3. The U.S. Senate passed the bill earlier on May 23 with a 85-8 vote.

The president's signature of the bill would release billions of dollars to communities around the country decimated by disasters. It also includes a provision for sending $4 billion to Texas that Congress allocated last year to assist with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.

The bill also aims to help hurricane victims in the Southeast, flood victims in the Midwest, and wildfire victims in California. It includes monies to repair highways and infrastructure such as military bases and helps farmers cover crop losses, and extends a national flood insurance program to Sept. 30. Puerto Rico would receive $1.4 billion in aid that includes a $605 million nutrition program and $304 million of community development grants to help it rebuild from 2017's Hurricane Maria.
Georgia - A regional-scale Top End Express Lane project is being considered by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to relieve congestion on Interstate 285 in the Atlanta area. According to GDOT's website, more than 240,000 vehicles travel this highway section every weekday.

GDOT plans to start construction on two new elevated, barrier-separated toll lanes in each direction in 2023 with completion in 2028 along the end of the Perimeter between Paces Ferry Road in Cobb County and Henderson Road in DeKalb County. New toll lanes on Ga. 400 from I-285 to the North Springs MARTA station also are planned.

State and federal funding is expected to pay for the $5.1 billion project. Officials will issue a notice in September of their intent to proceed with the plan, which will be followed by an environmental review and draft of preliminary plans. The expansion is part of GDOT's Major Mobility Investment Program, which will start with 11 large-scale initial projects.
Rendering of I-10 expansion
Texas - El Paso City Council members recently adopted a resolution to support the $1.1 billion expansion of Interstate 10 in downtown El Paso.

Some of the project's features include razing blocks of buildings, constructing gateways, and adding a deck park or parks on I-10 from Schuster Avenue to Copia Street. The project has entered the preliminary planning stages with environmental review scheduled for this summer and a final proposal set for completion by winter 2020, pending Texas Highway Commission authorization and funding. City officials said they are exploring possible public-private partnerships and seeking state and federal grants to fund the proposed deck park.
Vista del Camino Park
Arizona - Scottsdale voters will cast their ballots on three categories of projects in a $319 million bond referendum in November.
The city has divided the categories into:
  • Parks, Recreation, and Senior Services - $112.6 million
  • Community Spaces and Infrastructure - $112.3 million
  • Public Safety and Technology - $94.1 million
Fourteen projects in the parks category include, among others, requests for $40 million to build multi-use sports fields in the Bell Road area, $31.2 million to build new swimming pools and replace a building at the Cactus Pool, and $11.2 million to replace aging buildings at Paiute Community Center.

Some of the 20 community spaces projects include requests for $27.3 million in Civic Center Plaza improvements and replacements, $23.5 million in Vista del Camino Park lake and irrigation repairs, and $21 million to build parking structures in Old Town Scottsdale.

Public safety and technology projects call for $18.26 million to build a new fire department training facility, $16.6 million to renovate the Via Linda Police Station, $13.1 million to renovate and expand the Civic Center Jail and Downtown Police Facility, $11.4 million to install fiber optic, and $10.5 million to build a new fire station near Hayden Road and Loop 101.
SR 94-SR 125 interchange
California - Design efforts are underway on the State Route 94/State Route 125 interchange project that is estimated to cost $105 million.

Caltrans, the state's transportation agency, is leading the project, and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is pledging $16.24 million from its FY 2020 draft budget toward the 2-mile segment that will provide a direct freeway to freeway connection from southbound State Route 125 to eastbound State Route 94.

The section of SR 125 between the Lemon Avenue on-ramp and the Spring Street off-ramp carries about 84,000 vehicles a day with about 20,500 of them exiting at Spring Street. The proposed connector would reduce traffic delays in this area by eliminating the need for exiting traffic to connect to SR 94 and reducing exiting traffic counts by more than 15,000, according to Caltrans.
Michigan - Detroit officials plan to improve 100 miles of the city's roads and bridges this year for $100 million.

The project is targeting 53 miles of residential streets, 41 miles of major roads, five bridges for rehabilitation, and construction of streetscape projects to beautify seven commercial corridors.

The road resurfacing program will be paid for primarily through the city's share of state and federal road funds, along with $14.5 million in city bond funds. Work is underway on several projects and will continue until mid-November.

Detroit Public Works Director Ron Brundidge said the infrastructure improvement program is the most expansive in the city's recent history.
Arizona - Plans are coming together for a new multi-purpose sports arena at Arizona State University (ASU) that would be home to its men's hockey team and other sports programs. The Sun Devils hockey team currently plays all its home games at other arenas off campus.

ASU has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking companies to fund all or most of the costs to develop and construct the arena in time for the projected 2022-2023 hockey season and participate in the creation of a sports and entertainment zone. RFP proposals are due by 3 p.m. MST July 17.

According to university documents, ASU will designate 10 acres in the Novus Innovation Corridor for a multi-purpose arena and supporting spaces. Minimum requirements for the facility are 5,000 spectator seats, seven locker rooms and one home team suite, six auxiliary locker rooms, and merchandise and concession amenities.
Port of Corpus Christi
Texas - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide a huge boost to the Texas economy as it begins deepening the Port of Corpus Christi's channel.

Work began last week on the channel, which is now 47 feet, to deepen it to 54 feet thereby allowing large megaships to use the Texas port. Corpus Christi is home to the country's fourth-largest port in total tonnage, and it plays a vital role in the Texas economy. Its importance will only increase in the near future.

New shipping capabilities will benefit energy producers in West Texas, particularly from the Permian and Eagle Ford regions. The port also will positively impact the transportation of single shipments in larger vessels.
Rendering of proposed arts district
Ohio - Trustees at Ohio State University got their first glimpse on of what the school's new Arts District could look like at a May 30 subcommittee meeting. Officials anticipate $50 million of the of the estimated $161.6 million project cost would come from private donations.

The new district will include an updated Weigel Hall that will host the university's School of Music and a new Department of Theatre building with performance spaces, recital halls, and classrooms. Annie and John Glenn Avenue will connect College Road to High Street with improvements for pedestrian access. Construction is scheduled to begin in June pending full board approval.
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North Carolina - Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools administrators are looking for two tracts of land to locate a new $25 million elementary school and $30 million academy. The Ashley Academy for Cultural & Global Studies and Brunson Elementary School need to be replaced, according to school officials.

Darrell Walker, assistant superintendent of operations, said the district is considering one 10- to 11-acre location, which has multiple owners, for the new academy and six sites for the new elementary school. Walker said district officials are reviewing the potential elementary school sites and will present their recommendation to the school board in August.
Capital Plaza redevelopment
Kentucky - The city of Frankfort and Franklin County are lining up a request for proposals (RFP) for the development of 11.8 acres downtown. This area currently includes a YMCA, parking garage, and land under a hotel.

City Manager Keith Parker told members of the Franklin County Fiscal Court that the Downtown Master Plan Committee and city staff would work with the Finance and Administration Cabinet to draft a RFP that would include the master plan and an urban mixture zoning district.

Parker anticipated the property transfer could occur in September or October of this year.
Lakeview High School
Michigan - Board members and administrators at Lakeview Public Schools are discussing $54 million in proposed bond items for a potential November election.

The bond package could include a total of 42,000 square feet of additional classroom space in all seven of the district's schools, building additions at Lakeview High School and Jefferson Middle School, security enhancements, technology upgrades, new HVAC systems, and other infrastructure improvements. Other ballot items could call for reconfiguration of elementary offices, updated amenities and turf at the high school stadium, and band and orchestra instruments.

Under the proposed plan, funds would be allocated to all seven schools with the high school receiving $20.8 million; the middle school getting $10 million; Ardmore Elementary, $5.1 million; Greenwood Elementary, $5.4 million; Princeton Elementary, $5.2 million; and the district's administration-preschool building, $1.3 million.
Law Park
Wisconsin - Madison city leaders are close to starting work on the Law Park Master Plan that would help guide development of the park's connections with the downtown and Lake Monona.

The beginning of the process will include branding, engaging the community, and completing preliminary technical tasks.

Ultimately, the master plan will incorporate the narrow layout of the park, a 30-foot bluff, nearby convention center, six-lane highway, and railroad tracks. Overall project cost estimates range from less than $5 million to $20 million, depending on the level of improvements. Minor updates could include realignment of the bike-pedestrian trail and lake shore amenities.
Nickerson High School
Kansas - Voters in the Nickerson-South Hutchinson Unified School District (USD) 309 will determine the fate of a $29.9 million bond in a Nov. 5 general election.

USD 309 officials said they plan to ask voters to approve funds for a new auditorium at Nickerson High School. They also would seek funds for safety, security, and infrastructure enhancements at the high school, South Hutchinson and Nickerson elementary schools, and Reno Valley Middle School.

Board members are set to finalize items for the proposed ballot at a special meeting on June 10.
Massachusetts - The town of Belmont Select Board and the Belmont School Committee are considering a public-private partnership (P3) for the construction of a new ice skating rink. Town Administrator Patrice Garvin said the Skip Viglirolo Skating Rink, which is operated by the Recreation Department, will likely fail structurally in two years and indicated something should be done to replace it.

Officials from both boards convened for a joint meeting May 30 to discuss a P3 to finance, design, construct, operate, and maintain a new facility that would house a rink and a half. Select Board members were set to vote on authorizing a request for proposals (RFP) process June 5 for a new rink estimated to cost $7 million.

Wisconsin - Madison Mayor Satya-Rhodes hired Linda Vakunta and Cameron McLay as deputy mayors May 30. Vakunta's primary responsibilities will be housing and human services. She previously held roles as the founder and executive director of a Wisconsin-based nonprofit and program director of a Chicago nonprofit. McLay will work to improve effectiveness in the city. Previously, he was a police captain with Madison Police Department and chief of police in Pittsburgh. He also served as a consultant for a neighborhood analytics initiative and the city of Seattle.

Maine - Former Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has been appointed as the next chancellor of the University of Maine System. Malloy will begin his tenure on July 1 and replace retiring Chancellor James Page. Malloy served two terms as Connecticut's governor from 2010 to 2018. He also served as mayor of Stamford, Connecticut, for 14 years. Malloy is the Rappaport Distinguished Visiting Professor at Boston College Law School. He taught undergraduate political science as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut.

Washington, D.C. - The Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents voted to select Lonnie Bunch III as its secretary over the Smithsonian's 19 museums, 21 libraries, and the National Zoo. On June 16, he will succeed outgoing secretary David Skorton who is leaving to become president and CEO of an association of American medical colleges. Previously, Bunch served as the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture since its inception in 2005 and at the National Museum of American History.

Nebraska - Susan Fritz, a first-generation college student and former faculty member, will lead the University of Nebraska system as its interim president. The Board of Regents selected the Nebraska native on May 30 to replace outgoing President Hank Bounds. Fritz will begin her role Aug. 15 and remain in it until the next president and successor is hired. She began working at the university an instructor in 1989, earned tenure in 1998 and became head of the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication in 2000. She also has served in leadership positions in the university's agriculture and natural resources programs. Fritz became an associate vice president for academic affairs in 2011 and interim executive vice president and provost and dean of the graduate college in 2012, assuming the permanent position in 2014.

Georgia - Milledgeville City Manager Barry Jarrett announced his resignation May 28, effective July 5. Jarrett served in various positions for the city for 34 years, most recently as its city manager since 2010. Prior to that he led Milledgeville's water and wastewater department.
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