August 23, 2017
First, if you didn’t already realize, I write and sign these letters personally. What I write is not necessarily from the council, though the council and I often agree on things.
I would like to discuss the shared-use path project. As much as the project is for safety of pedestrians, folks in wheelchairs, or riding electric scooters and bicycles, it is also for connectivity to important spots in the city, such as schools and work places. Also important is the chance that the city has, with the federal grant money through TXDOT, to greatly improve our curbs, gutters and streets where the paths run. Generally, the grant money covers 80% of the costs. This seems to me to be too good to pass up, especially in areas where sidewalks, curbs and covered drainage are poor or lacking.
The first real problem with the intended trail came from a 3-2 council vote backing those who did not want the path crossing their front yards on Dallas Street. I don’t blame them entirely. A “good idea, but not in my yard” attitude is actually understandable, and the city council listened to these neighbors in a fair hearing held August 18th. Upon council’s vote, the money proposed for the project was taken out of the city’s fy-2018 budget. Honestly, I was quite frustrated after the council vote on this issue, but I will just have to get over it. I was looking forward to doing something for the infrastructure in an older VA residential neighborhood, but the project did not appeal to the neighbors living on Dallas Street. Dallas appears to be the most straightaway and practical route, but that possibility seems much less likely now.
Once the city gets another plan together, we can get funding back in the budget and extend the path north of Blassingame to the new elementary school and to Palladium. The great problem will be connecting the path to anything south of Blassingame Street. I fear that it may never happen. The shared-path project may continue, but I’m not sure whether it will ever extend into the southern part of the old, central part of the city.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Van Alstyne, building and sales are robust in the new neighborhood additions in Georgetown. Our downtown work continues, and businesses continue to renovate our older buildings – it is wonderful to see. Additionally, roughly 300 new single-family homes will likely be built in the Greywood Heights area around Palladium and the new elementary school which was dedicated Thursday, August 10th. The new school will be named after Bob and Lola Sanford. This is most fitting because the Sanford’s have contributed greatly to our city for decades now. They are both dearly loved.
Buzz about other new businesses and housing continues, but proposals are not firm enough to describe at this time. Please continue to attend public meetings. Your voices do make a difference. I need to remind everyone not to flush rags, paper towels or disposable wipes down toilets. We will soon have a grinder at our waste water treatment plant, and that will help with the above listed items if they get that far, but much of that stuff will clog sewers before it gets to the grinder. For more information on this visit the City’s website at www.cityofvanalstyne.us and review the information provided along with this newsletter.
I wish you all well.
Mayor Larry Cooper