Council approves ARC site plan
By MIKE EDDLEMAN
With unanimous approval of the City Council, Austin Regional Clinic (ARC) is set to begin work on a new clinic in Liberty Hill.
The 6,400-square-foot facility will be located at 12770 SH 29, between Indian Mound Ranch and Liberty Meadows Plaza.
The plan, according to ARC representatives, is to break ground in June and be open by spring 2020.
The decision to come to Liberty Hill was based on the growth of the area.
“Liberty Hill is one of those growing communities, and that, plus the fact that we have patients and staff from there coming to other ARC clinics, influenced our decision to locate an ARC clinic in the city,” said Anas Daghestani, MD, CEO of ARC. “We’re excited about opening there next year.”
The clinic will include family practice as well as pediatrics and will also have a lab. There are a total of 25 ARC facilities in 10 cities around Central Texas.
Roundabout bid time
A bid for construction of the roundabout downtown was awarded to Smith Contracting Company for $1.4 million.
The City only received one bid on the project, but it came in under the original estimate from project engineer Steger Bizzell, which was $1.56 million.
“The CIP program is coming into full swing now,” City Administrator Greg Boatright said, citing the progress on the roundabout project. “This is very exciting for us, just from the standpoint of creating additional downtown parking and improving further the drainage that is coming through our downtown.”
The vote was 3-1 in favor of awarding the bid, with Council member Liz Rundzieher opposing the project.
“I’m not asking everyone to ignore this roundabout,” she said. “I’m asking that we put it off a little bit and take care of 1869 and the Loop, which seems to me should be more pressing.”
When the Council decided not to alter the one-way streets plan downtown, the idea of posting a police officer at the intersection during high traffic times was brought up.
After monitoring the morning traffic flow at the intersection of RR 1869 and Loop 332, Boatright, in discussions with Police Chief Maverick Campbell, has decided that an officer on site to direct traffic is not the answer.
Boatright counted about 160 cars through the intersection from 6:30-7 a.m., then 328 from 7-7:30 a.m.
“In looking at it, the ability for an officer to make a significant difference there is marginal at best,” he said. “We realized it was a fairly dangerous situation to stick an officer in that intersection.”
The Police Department did test having an officer there one morning with little success in alleviating the problem and created other issues.
“The officer had three very close calls with traffic coming through the intersection, didn’t get a whole lot of compliments on moving the traffic through, mostly complaints, and what we found was that we backed traffic up on the Loop when we allowed the traffic on 1869 to move through,” Boatright said. “What we did in reality was create a different problem for the downtown traffic by letting the 1869 traffic flow through.”
The long-term solution is to see Stubblefield completed to relieve the traffic congestion.
“I just feel like in talking with the Chief (Campbell) and visiting about it, I don’t feel like the danger we place our officer in in that intersection is worth what we’re getting out of it, especially after seeing the result,” Boatright said. “That is just the way that intersection is going to be until we get Stubblefield done.”
An interlocal agreement with Liberty Hill ISD was approved to provide $150,000 to the school district as a one-time contribution to assist in the creation of a police department for the school district.
“We’ve had a chance to sit down with the new Superintendent and talk about it, and the Chief (Campbell) has spent a lot of time with the school district helping them outline their program and go through the vetting process for a chief,” Boatright said. “I think now the timing is right for us to approve the interlocal agreement for the $150,000. I think everyone that is involved with this – that being the governing bodies of both entities – is really on board with this and I think this is a good solution.”
Summer reading support
The Council unanimously approved the donation of $2,500 to the Liberty Hill Public Library’s Summer Reading Program. The theme of this year’s program is Star Wars and begins May 13.