State grant could pave the way for new sidewalks downtown
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Feb. 8, 2006 -- Downtown revitalization may be in line for a big boost in the form of new sidewalks on Main, Davis and Connally streets.

The assistance could come in the form of a grant from the Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program and would replace cracked and crumbling walks as well as pave a parking area north of the city hall complex and the area known as "T-bone Alley."

Consultant Gary Traylor told council members the chances of the project being approved are much better than under the Downtown Revitalization Program the city tried previously.

"This particular STEP call for nominations is very significant in that the department of transportation is proposing to spend, in the next five years, an amount of money that is almost equal to the amount that was spent in the last 15 years," Traylor said. "We think that we will have the best chance at funding the very first time we can get it, and this 2006 call is when the greatest amount of the money will actually be available."

Traylor said the sidewalk and parking lot project is a very good one and that it matches up very well with the goals of the program.

"It is also a very challenging project because of the age of the buildings, age of the infrastructure, and in some instances the narrowness of the alleys involved," he said.

In other action, the council gave approval to a change in the wording of the ordinance regulating unsightly weeds and grass in the city. The change, recommended by the city's legal staff, would make the law easier to enforce.

The ordinance stipulates that grass or weeds in excess of 12 inches high either within 150 feet of a property line or within 75 feet of any structure, or both, would constitute a violation of the ordinance, according to City Manager Marc Maxwell.

Following an executive session, council gave approval to the purchase of 11 acres of land adjacent to Sulphur Springs Airport. The purchase will provide additional space for hangar construction and other airport expansion.

Approval was also given for a measure that will make "short form" platting procedures available for property owners needing simple plat changes.

"It will facilitate anybody that has a simple plat," the city manager explained to the council. "Usually, it is going to be a homeowner that owns two lots and wants to put a garage on the lot next door but cannot because the lot does not have a primary structure."

The council set Saturday, May 13, as the date for the city council election.

Council seats to be listed on the ballot include Place One, currently held by Garry Jordan; Place Two, held by Clay Walker; and Place Three, held by Joe Crouch.

The filing period for a place on the city election ballot will begin on Monday, Feb. 13, and continue through 5 p.m. Monday, March 13.

Early voting in the city council election will be conducted May 1 through May 9 at the Sulphur Springs Municipal Building, 125 South Davis St.

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