Capital Projects

Can you imagine a day without water?

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Think a moment about your typical morning routine.

You wake up and make a steaming cup of fresh coffee or tea before heading to the toilet and the shower. After you get dressed in freshly washed clothes, you eat a nutritious breakfast and clean your dishes in the dishwasher or sink.

Of course, you make your dentist happy by brushing your teeth.

Now, imagine for a moment that you had no water. None of your morning activities would be possible without safe and reliable water and the infrastructure that delivers it to your home.

If you’ve never gone without water, it’s almost impossible to envision a day without it. Your water service may have temporarily been shut off to repair a leak, but you had full confidence that the water would soon flow again.

Today is the fourth annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water. The Value of Water Campaign is helping hundreds of organizations across the country host events and spearhead projects aimed at raising awareness about the crucial need for investing in our nation’s water infrastructure.

After decades of underfunding, water infrastructure across the nation has aged and needs replacement or significant repairs. Drought, flooding, and population changes have dramatically increased the stress on our water and wastewater systems.

According to the Value of Water Campaign’s report on The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure, a one-day disruption in water services at a national level would result in a $43.5 billion loss in sales for businesses. In just eight days, a national water service stoppage would put nearly two million jobs in jeopardy.

In contrast, for each job created in the water sector, 3.68 jobs are added to the national economy. For every $1 spent on infrastructure improvements, the United States generates $6 in economic returns. That’s a sound investment.

It’s not all gloom and doom. College Station’s water and wastewater systems are young compared to many cities. For the most part, we’ve been able to stay ahead of our infrastructure needs. Each day – including weekends and holidays – our Water Services employees maintain 454 miles of water lines, 363 miles of wastewater lines, nine groundwater wells, and three wastewater treatment plants.

City councils and community leaders through the years have recognized that water is essential to the quality of life and economic competitiveness and have supported the water and wastewater rates necessary to maintain award-winning water and wastewater systems.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Karl Mooney read an official proclamation (at right) for Imagine a Day Without Water to draw attention to the many ways we maintain critical water and wastewater infrastructure.

How you can help

No community can thrive without water, and every American deserves safe, reliable, and accessible water.

You can help by conserving water. Since irrigation water gushing down the street benefits no one, sign up for landscape watering recommendations from Brazos Valley WaterSmart. Every gallon of water saved is a gallon left in the Simsboro Aquifer for later use.

You can also help keep our waterways clean by avoiding over-fertilizing, picking up litter, and disposing of hazardous waste at Household Hazardous Waste collection events like the one scheduled for Oct. 20. Improperly discarded fertilizer, motor oil, and litter make its way into our creeks, which feed into the Navasota and Brazos Rivers – and someone is drinking that water downstream.

A groundswell of communities and partners have come together to promote safe and reliable water systems with Imagine a Day Without Water. We can make a difference by leveraging our collective power, educating our decision-makers, and inspiring our communities to make water infrastructure a priority.

Let’s invest in our water systems, so no American ever has to live a day without water.

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

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By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Wastewater Master Plan Update: In the workshop, the council will review the city’s updated Wastewater Master Plan, which includes demand projections and a capital improvement plan.
  2. Neighborhood Sidewalk Improvements: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $203,000 contract for sidewalks on the west side of Eisenhower Street, the south side of Live Oak Street, the north side of San Saba Drive, and an ADA accessible sidewalk on the south side of Cross Street. The projects will be funded by federal Community Development Block Grants.
  3. LED Street Lighting: Also on the consent agenda is a $2.56 million contract for replacing the city’s street lights with more efficient LED (light emitting diode) fixtures.
  4. Corsair Circle Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the land use and zoning designations for about two acres on Corsair Circle just north of Pavilion Avenue. The changes would allow for the development of a hotel.
  5. SH 6-Sebesta Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the land use and zoning designations for about 18 acres south of Sebesta Road along State Highway 6. The changes would allow for commercial development.

Before the council’s executive session, the city’s employee of the year will be announced at 3:30 p.m. and honored with the other nominees at a reception. Employees with at least 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service also will be recognized.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related links:     

         


14316755_10108798313965164_2904942172107966680_nAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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Major changes underway at popular Lick Creek Park

lick-creek-park-sign
By Hallie Kutch, Parks & Recreation Marketing Staff Assistant

For almost 30 years, if you wanted a quick escape from the busy sounds of our growing community, you probably headed for the peaceful solitude of Lick Creek Park, the area’s premier nature preserve. If you’ve been there in recent months, your search for serenity may have been interrupted by the sounds of hammers and bulldozers.

But don’t worry, it’s only temporary — and the results will be worth it.

The 515-acre park on East Rock Prairie Road is undergoing extensive improvements, including the construction of a long-awaited nature center.

Established in 1987 as part of land negotiations to create a city industrial area, Lick Creek Park displays a variety of native plant and animal species, including the endangered Navasota Ladies Tresses. The park offers five miles of marked trails and provides opportunities for hiking, cycling, bird watching, equestrian activities, and nature study.

lick-creek-walkingdogsIt’s also the city’s largest off-leash dog park.

Lick Creek Nature Center

In the 2008 bond election, residents overwhelmingly approved the $2.1 million Lick Creek Park Nature Center. The design was approved in 2014, but construction was delayed until an adequate water line could be installed for fire protection. Torrential rains last spring and summer caused additional delays.

Thankfully, the nature center’s construction and other improvements in the park are underway and are expected to be finished by May.

The nature center will soon be the park’s focal point and will provide citizens and visitors an educational opportunity to learn about the animals and plants that call the park home. Features include a 2,400-square foot building with a meeting room, restrooms, indoor and outdoor classrooms, an amphitheater and native plant displays.

Other Improvements

As a part of the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge to help save the threatened butterfly population, the park will include a monarch-friendly demonstration garden and a butterfly trail with abundant milkweed — the butterfly’s host plant — and other nectar-producing plants. The site will be a prime spot to watch the monarchs’ annual migration and metamorphosis.

The rerouting of trails will improve the flow and create a major pathway that connects the nature center to the park’s west entrance at Pebble Creek Parkway, which is the trailhead for the Lick Creek Hike and Bike Trail that winds more than five miles across town to Creek View Park.

lickcreek2Trail surfaces also will be upgraded, and new signage and maps will guide visitors through the trail system.

Meanwhile, informational signage throughout the park will identify trees, plants, birds, insects, butterflies, and wildlife. Benches along trails and at each trail intersection will allow visitors to pause and enjoy the park’s beautiful scenery.

Bicycle racks will also be accessible at the four major entry ways.

Don’t wait to enjoy Lick Creek Park

Although the improvements won’t be finished until the spring, the park remains open. You can still enjoy the park’s natural design, but be cautious and obey signs noting construction and closed areas.

Portions of the park that are closed include the Rock Prairie Road entrance and parking lot, Yaupon Loop Trail, and part of Post Oak Trail. Parking is available in the equestrian lot off Rock Prairie Road northwest of the main entrance.

The improvements and amenities will enhance one of College Station’s favorite recreational areas and make it more accessible – and enjoyable — for young and old alike.

For more on College Station’s park system, go to cstx.gov/parks.


312d2ecAbout the Author

Hallie Kutch is in her second year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management and a minor in tourism research management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


 

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Community grants have made College Station better

By David Brower, Community Development Analyst

Since 2011, College Station has received about $7.2 million in federal community development grants. As part of National Community Development Week, it’s informative and enlightening to look at the positive impact these funds have had on our city.

Tarrow Park 3 5.27.2011Our Community Services Department coordinates with other city departments, social service agencies, businesses and other governmental entities to ensure the grants are used in the most effective way to address our most pressing needs.

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Podcast: City manager on College Station’s next “big dig”

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

College Station residents endured massive road expansion projects at State Highway 6 and Rock Prairie Road, and at FM2818 and Wellborn Road. But City Manager Kelly Templin says those will pale in comparison to the next “big dig.” (more…)


Five things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Possible Projects for Bond Election: The council will have a workshop discussion on the Citizen Advisory Committee’s recommendations for facilities projects to include in a possible November bond election. The council will also talk about other funding options for the transportation projects.
  2. Gateway Marker Design: The council will receive a workshop presentation on the design of markers for the city’s gateways.
  3. CSPD Recognition: In the regular meeting, the council will recognize the College Station Police Department for achieving compliance with the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s best practices program.
  4. Francis Drive Changes: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider three items related to Francis Drive: an all-way stop at the Walton Drive intersection; a yield sign for the free right-turn bay from southeast bound Walton; and a prohibition on left turns into the driveway at College Hills Elementary School during drop-off and pick-up times.
  5. Rock Prairie Road Development: The council will consider a performance-based agreement to facilitate the development of 232 acres on the south side of Rock Prairie Road at the future Bird Pond Road intersection. The action is another step in the implementation of the Medical District Master Plan. The council will also look at the creation of the related Rock Prairie Management District No. 2 and its board of directors.

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Improved Northgate safety was worth the wait

Few things are more frustrating than getting caught in congested traffic, especially when it’s caused by inconvenient construction projects. However, when the dust eventually settles, the benefits of these necessary projects quickly become evident.

That’s certainly the case with the University Drive Pedestrian Safety Project, which will greatly enhance the safety of students and other pedestrians in the Northgate area. For more than three years, the City of College Station has worked closely with Texas A&M and the Texas Department of Transportation on the project. Thankfully, the first phase — which stretches from Wellborn Road to Tauber Street – is expected to be finished in the next two weeks.

Pavers are being installed on the new College Main Plaza, and traffic control devices will be removed in the next few days. Next week, retractable bollards will be installed at the College Main-University and College Main-Patricia Street intersections, along with new pedestrian signals at Boyett and University.

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City Council Meeting Summary (April 14, 2011)

This blog is a short summary of the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, April 14, and is not the official minutes. Changes made to specific items will be recorded in the minutes, which will be available in approximately two weeks.

Workshop Meeting Highlights

Update on the FY11 Capital Plan
Council voted 6-1 to include the Lick Creek Nature Center and East District Maintenance Shop in the FY2011 Capital Plan. Both projects were part of the 2008 bond authorization. Planning for the Lick Creek Nature Center and detailed design for the East District Maintenance Shop are scheduled to begin this year. However, the council recently voted to remove those projects from a debt reimbursement resolution. A debt reimbursement resolution is simply resolution declaring the council’s intent to reimburse the general fund for expenses associated with the design and/or construction of a capital project with long term debt. Staff also updated the council on the status of other projects in the FY2011 Capital Plan.
VOTE: Jana McMillan voted against the motion.

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City Council: Thursday Preview (April 14)

Here’s a quick look at some of the items the College Station City Council will be considering Thursday (April 14) at its workshop and regular meetings. This blog is not intended as a complete and official agenda. Click here to see the complete agenda packets.

Workshop Meeting (3 p.m.)

Update on FY11 Capital Plan
The city council will receive a summary on the status of capital projects included in the city’s FY11 Capital Plan, including the Lick Creek Nature Center and East District Maintenance Shop. Council approved the capital plan last fall as part of the FY11 Approved Budget.

In February, council voted to exclude the Lick Creek Nature Center and East District Maintenance Shop from the debt reimbursement resolution, which declares the council’s intent to reimburse the general fund for expenses associated with the design and/or construction of a capital project with long-term debt. However, both projects were included in the FY11 Capital Plan, and planning for the Lick Creek Nature Center and detailed design for the East District Maintenance Shop are scheduled to begin this year. Staff is seeking direction on the schedule for both projects.

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City Council: Thursday Preview (March 24)

Here’s a quick look at some of the items the College Station City Council will be discussing Thursday, March 24 at its workshop and regular meetings. This blog is not intended as a complete and official agenda. Click here to see the complete agenda packets.

Workshop Meeting (3 p.m.)

University Drive Pedestrian Safety Improvement
The council will discuss a plan to enhance pedestrian safety along University Drive between Wellborn Road and Tauber Street, along with an ordinance removing parking on University Drive and a Memorandum of Understanding with the Northgate District Association. According to media reports, there have been about 342 accidents in the project area since 2001, including 12 that involved pedestrians or bicyclists. Eight out of those 12 have been in the past two years. The primary focus of this project is to significantly increase safety as pedestrians cross University Drive. The vast majority of pedestrians and bicyclists cross University Drive at the College Main intersection.

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Truth & Rumors: No Left onto Barron Road?

RUMOR:Rumor has it that part of the Barron Road expansion will include blocking cars from turning left onto Barron from Springmist Drive.  This would cause more traffic in front of the new school and the intersection of Barron and Victoria, since people in Westfield Village would be forced to either go around and turn left from Victoria, or take Barron to Hwy 40.”

Submitted by Patrick Dexter, College Station

TRUE: The Barron Road Widening Phase 2 project will include a raised median across Springmist Drive, which will prevent any left turns entering or exiting Springmist Drive. 

FACTS: This drive is too close to the proposed signalized intersection of Victoria Avenue and too close to the left turn bay for Victoria Avenue to allow an opening in the median.  Such an opening would encourage an unsafe turning movement onto an arterial roadway that carries traffic between SH 6 and SH 40.  In addition, traffic from the Westfield Village Subdivision has access to both Victoria Avenue and Newport Drive, both of which have full access to Barron Road.  The signal at Victoria also will be a more efficient and safer way to travel north, and area residents are encouraged to use it.

SOURCE: Daniel Beamon, P.E, Assistant City Engineer

Submit a Rumor or Question

Click here if you’ve heard a rumor or have a question about something going on in the City of College Station. We’ll try to find an answer. Please limit your inquiries to City of College Station business. We will not respond to questions of a personal nature regarding city staff, council members or citizens.


What’s up with the water feature at Wolf Pen Creek?

Wolf Pen Creek water feature

Early in this new budget year, we’ve heard a few questions about why the city continues to spend money on certain projects. One recurring question asks why we are continuing plans to build a festival ground with a water feature in the Wolf Pen Creek area. Why spend funds on that project when the city still needs money to pay for infrastructure elsewhere?

For the answer, we have to look back more than 20 years. (more…)


Barron Road Hassles Will Pay Off


As a project manager for the city, I’ve heard a lot of concerns from our citizens about the inconveniences due to construction and the impact it has to their daily routines. I’ve also heard complaints about how long it takes to complete a project and even questions about the need for certain projects. (more…)


Going cheap can cost you in the long run

Fire Station No. 6

In his 11 years with the City of College Station, Assistant Director of Capital Projects Donald Harmon has served as project manager for four of the city’s six fire stations, including Fire Station No. 6, which is set to open in late 2012.The $6.9 million facility was approved as part of the 2008 bond election. Located at the intersection of University Drive and Tarrow Street, this station will provide coverage and improve response time to the University Drive corridor and the growing Texas A&M campus.

In many cases, the cheapest way of doing something can cost you more in the long run. We learned that the hard way when we built College Station’s Fire Station No. 2 a decade ago. In an attempt to trim costs, we chose laminate counter tops. Unfortunately, those bright new countertops did not last a year and had to be replaced. (more…)


A Need for Speed

skate park

Support for the future College Station Skate Park is widespread among local skateboarders, who want and need a place to hone their skills and play their game without being branded delinquents or hoodlums for destroying property.  As a lifelong athlete, I can relate to these skateboarders because I understand the thrill of competition and the drive to be the best they can be at the sport they love, whether it’s as weekend warrior or as an elite international star. Their passion drives them. (more…)