Sidewalk construction to begin in January

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By SHELLY WILKISON

The Liberty Hill City Council selected a local company to construct sidewalks in the downtown area during its regular meeting Monday.

Capitol Concrete Contractors Inc. of Liberty Hill submitted the low bid of $278,828 to construct 4,700 linear feet of concrete sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalk striping, erosion control and other related items.

The project should get under way in January.

The City received a grant up to $287,000 from the Community Development Block Grant program through Williamson County to pay for the sidewalk improvements.

As part of an overall downtown revitalization project, the City had planned for several phases of sidewalk construction in the downtown area. This will be the first phase of the work.

Assistant City Manager Amber Lewis said Monday that future CDBG funding for sidewalks could be dependant upon results of an income survey.

She said the County has requested information about the income of Liberty Hill residents. There is a question as to whether income levels within the city have increased, which could prevent the City from continuing to qualify for such grants.

“We exceeded income limits that qualify for CDBG as a whole, but this one is already approved,” said City Manager Greg Boatright.

The current project will include sidewalk along the south side of N. Myrtle Street, as well as brick pavers in lieu of poured concrete around the curb ramps at RR 1869 and Loop 332.

“This will better define the pedestrian traffic downtown,” Boatright said.

Seven companies bid on the project.

In addition to the sidewalk improvement project, the Council approved a bid of $411,812 for the reconstruction of Bluebonnet Lane. Central Road & Utility, Ltd. submitted the low bid, and will construct 4,600 square yards of asphalt roadway rehabilitation and ribbon curb, as well as drainage improvements require 1,600 linear feet of 8-inch water line. A cul-de-sac will be built at the end of Bluebonnet Lane.

The City received 10 bids on the project.

Following a presentation by developers of Liberty Parke on a proposed Public Improvement District (PID), the Council approved an agreement that will allow the City to recoup payment for staff time and other expenses incurred as the PID and issuance of bonds moves forward.

The developer, CCD Liberty Parke, LLC, is providing $25,000 to the City that will be held in escrow and used by the City for legal publications, notices, reproduction of materials, public hearing expenses, recording of documents, attorney fees, special consultant fees and fees for administrative time of city staff.

If the balance reaches $5,000 in the escrow account, the City can request additional funds up to $50,000. The agreement approved Monday requires the City to document its expenditures.

Liberty Parke is a new development of 150 acres off State Highway 29 near Classic Bank inside the city limits. There are 585 lots for single family homes that will be built in four phases.

State lawmakers adopted the Public Improvement District Assessment Act in 1987 giving cities and counties the ability to issue bonds to fund infrastructure improvements inside residential and commercial areas. The funds can be used for developing or expanding affordable housing, building water infrastructure, roads, sidewalks, parks and other amentities, as well as providing for public safety and recreation.

The Liberty Parke PID, which the City Council gave preliminary approval to in recent months, will have up to $7 million in debt that developers say will allow them to construct walking trails, a lift station, improve water and wastewater capacity, park amenities and other landscaping.

The debt is repaid by neighborhood property owners and doesn’t fall back onto city taxpayers, developers say. For a 45-foot lot, the assessment is estimated at $9,851 — a cost that could be paid up front or paid at tax time annually. The assessment does not continue once it is paid in full.

At its next regular meeting Nov. 23, the Council will hear from two underwriters whose companies have experience writing bonds for PIDs. At that time, the Council is also expected to consider a draft of a development agreement with Liberty Parke.

In other business Monday, Boatright told the Council that a recent inspection of City Park on CR 200 revealed that the park has not been well kept.

“It was shocking,” said Boatright. “The bathrooms had been vandalized, and under the pavilion, beer bottles were stacked under the sign that said ‘No Alcohol’.”

Boatright said he contact Police Chief Randy Williams, who agreed to step up patrols at the park. The City will also look into purchasing cameras to monitor activity there.

Restrooms will remain locked except when the park is in use by the Liberty Hill Youth Soccer Association and Liberty Hill Youth Football & Cheer.

Boatright said he will also approach the Parks & Recreation Board about possible funding of a part-time employee to look after the park.

“That person would keep it clean and monitor it,” Boatright said. He said the City is getting closer to working out a final agreement with the Liberty Hill Development Foundation to transfer ownership of Lions Foundation Park to the City. He said issues pertaining to the Liberty Hill Youth League and the Liberty Hill Public Library for continued use of the facility have been resolved.

“They (the Development Foundation Board) want the name (of the park) to remain, and they want to keep two acres behind the yellow house, as well as ownership of the sculptures,” Boatright said. “The park has been their focal point, and if they hand the park over, what is there for them to do?”

He said the Board wants to keep the two acres in case the house ever comes up for sale, they would consider purchasing it for use as a museum. Boatright said he hoped to have a final agreement for Council consideration in December.

Council members Elizabeth Branigan and Troy Whitehead were not present Monday.

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