VFW Park transfer nears completion


By Lauren Jette

Absent a quorum of committee members, discussion only was held during the downtown revitalization committee meeting on Tuesday.

Mayor Connie Fuller was the only committee member present when the noon meeting started, so she asked city officials to give updates on projects currently in the works, including an update on the VFW Park in downtown Liberty Hill.

Fuller said that the acquisition of the VFW Park is almost complete.

“By the end of the week we should be owners,” she said.

The city is taking ownership of the park from Fellowship Church.

City Administrator Greg Boatright said the first thing to take care of once the papers are signed is to have an arborist come out and look at the oak trees in the park, which showed signs of possible oak wilt.

“We would really like to save those trees,” he said.

After that, he suggested the city look at landscaping at the park and work in tables and benches for places to sit.

“I think it’d be beneficial to have seating there in downtown,” Boatright said. “We can certainly create a pretty cool venue there. It’s going to be a cool aspect to our downtown.”

Boatright and Assistant City Administrator Amber Lewis briefly discussed progress on the construction of the administration building downtown.

Boatright said he had a meeting scheduled to talk about the exterior stone for the building, while Lewis said the project is “on track”.

A runoff problem in a corner of the parking lot was discovered and fixed with brick pavers matching the ones in the sidewalks in the area.

Lewis said six beams were salvaged from the old building at 926 Loop 332. Plans for those beams are to display three in the conference room, with the other three in the lobby and reception area.

Jim Bechtol with SUNRhea Design presented plans and renderings for an expanded sidewalk plan.

Bechtol identified six different project phases for the north side of Loop 332 between Myrtle Street and RR 1869.

“We recommend starting at Myrtle Street and working towards FM 1869,” he said.

Improvements included in the plan are reconstructing much of the sidewalk in that block, along with constructing better steps and drainage system and providing a new handicap space, along with better parking. The estimate of the total cost of the project was $100,000.

Boatright also touched on future goals to possibly acquire two acres near the park that the county currently owns, and the corner lot owned by AT&T to use for more parking, which is a major concern.

Fuller asked for an update on the Economic Development Corporation’s façade and sign grant program.

Senior Planner Sally McFeron said a few businesses had contacted the city for information about the grant program, and some had picked up applications, but they hadn’t received any completed applications recently.

“We’ve had a lot of interest so far,” she said.

In discussion about a downtown park and green space, Boatright recommended beginning plans for that space.

“We need to move forward with getting that planned,” he said. “We need an overall design with that.”

Boatright said he would discuss the park further with the EDC Board, since that board had identified three areas they would like to focus on at their workshop last month.