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Closing Boyett on busiest nights makes Northgate safer

By Gus Roman, Assistant Director of Community Services

If you’ve ever driven through the Northgate Entertainment District on a Friday or Saturday night, you know it’s an immensely popular place for college students to get revved up for Aggie football or just unwind after a long week of classes.

You also know it can be an extraordinarily dangerous place for unwary pedestrians. With more than 60,000 students walking, driving and bicycling around campus, safety has to be the top priority for local authorities.

The city has worked closely with Texas A&M and The Texas Department of Transportation to devise and implement various safety improvements along University Drive. In 2012, Old College Main was closed at University Drive, and we added a bicycle and pedestrian crossing.

Still, with one of the nation’s most populous universities across the street, pedestrian safety remains a dominant issue – especially at the intersection of University and Boyett Street.

Despite the presence of a signalized crosswalk, many pedestrians blatantly ignore the signal and haphazardly move through the bustling traffic. Meanwhile, ride-booking services and taxis often stop in traffic lanes to serve their customers.

We may not be able to stop that reckless behavior, but we can try to reduce the risk.

That’s why starting this week, Boyett Street will be closed between University Drive and Patricia Street from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The intersection will also be closed Wednesday, Aug. 29, the night before the Aggie football opener against Northwestern State. No parking will be allowed on the sealed portion of Boyett.

The closure includes the area in front of Shiner Park, O’Bannon’s Tap House and a few other bars, along with two entrances to the corner convenience store.

Whenever Boyett is closed, the southern row of the Northgate parking lot will serve as a designated loading area for ride-booking customers. To help traffic flow, we renumbered and restriped the lot to accommodate angled spaces. Plenty of additional parking is available in the city’s Northgate Parking Garage, which has more than 700 affordable spaces.

These adjustments may be inconvenient for some, but in the end, we’ll have a safer, more pedestrian-friendly environment in Northgate.

 


About the Blogger

Gus Roman has been with the City of College Station since 2015 and has served as assistant director of community services since 2016. He’s also worked for the City of San Marcos and the City of Bryan. Gus previously served the City of College Station from 1995-2003. He has two degrees from Texas A&M – a bachelor’s in building construction (1989) and a master’s in agriculture, land economics and real estate (2006).


 

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BV Veterans Memorial is our community’s hidden gem

By Lacey Lively, Marketing Manager

Tucked away in College Station’s Veterans Park and Athletic Complex at 3101 Harvey Road is a hidden gem – a 12-acre site dedicated to veterans from our nation’s wars. The Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial includes life-sized statues, a Wall of Honor, interpretive panels and memorial sites.

Chartered in 2000 as a non-profit corporation, the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial is supported by generous community residents, organizations, and partners, including Brazos County and the cities of Bryan and College Station. The Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial’s all-volunteer board of directors proudly contribute time and resources to salute our veterans. Their mission is to proactively pay tribute to veterans through an educational venue where future generations can learn that freedom comes with a heavy price.

Former President George H.W. Bush helped dedicate the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial on Nov. 10, 2002. Bush said “The Brazos Valley community can stand proud. The names that mark the memorial showcase the sons and daughters who gave dedicated service to our nation so that future generations can share the freedoms we enjoy.

“Their task was great and their sacrifice even greater, but their legacy stands firm, and their memories burn bright.”

Bush later said the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial is of similar quality to those on the famed National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Louis L. Adam Memorial Plaza & Wall of Honor

Within the Louis L. Adam Memorial Plaza sits the 250-ton red granite Wall of Honor, which serves as the memorial’s focal point. The wall bears the etched names of more than 5,000 veterans representing all periods of U.S. history who are family and friends of Brazos Valley residents.

Notable names include 24 presidents and seven former Texas A&M University students who received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. The bronze sculpture mounted at the top of the wall depicts a G.I. carrying a fellow soldier to safety. The status is the work of artist Robert Eccleston of Schuyler Falls, New York.

Do you know of a respected veteran you’d like to add to the Wall of Honor?

The veteran may be living, deceased or active, and does not have to be a Brazos Valley resident. The cost is $150 per name, and the application deadline is Aug. 15 each year. New additions are recognized at the annual Veterans Day Ceremony. Names received after Aug. 15 will be recognized the following year.

Lynn Stuart Pathway and Memorial Sites

Named after Brig. Gen. Louis Lynn Stuart (U.S. Army), the Lynn Stuart Pathway is a half-mile trail connecting the memorials. The pathway features interpretive panels with historical background for each conflict, granite markers, and steel benches adorned with donor plaques. Of the trail’s 18 memorial sites, 10 have life-sized, bronze statues designed and sculpted by Navasota’s J. Payne Lara.

Notable sites along the trail include the War on Terror Memorial that displays a steel relic from one of the World Trade Center towers and the Vietnam War Memorial that features a 15-foot-high bronze UH-1D Huey helicopter plate depicting soldiers preparing to drop into a dangerous landing zone.

Future statues are planned to commemorate the Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection, China Relief Expedition, Mexican Border Service, Granada/Panama/Dominican Republic, Southwest Asia (Desert Storm/Shield), and Kosovo War.

How You Can Get Involved

On Sunday, Nov. 11 – the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I – the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board will dedicate a World War I statue titled Over the Top at 4 p.m. at the World War I memorial. The Veterans Day ceremony will follow at 5:30 p.m. at the Louis L. Adam Memorial Plaza. The events are free and open to the public.

The Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial board strives to preserve the history and memory of military service members while providing educational opportunities for the community to learn about our history. Your generous donation can be directed toward a specific memorial or for the memorial grounds in general.

To donate, add a name, or learn more about the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial, go to bvvm.org or contact us at 979.696.6247 or info@bvvm.org.

 


About the Blogger

Lacey Lively serves as the chief information officer for the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board. She has been with the City of College Station’s Public Communications Office since 2011. Lacey previously worked as an internet marketing consultant for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and as a web designer. A native of Beaumont, Lacey earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and communications from Texas A&M in 2009.


 

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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (July 26)

(L-R): Bob Brick, Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, Karl Mooney (mayor), John Nichols, Barry Moore, James Benham.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, July 26. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:26 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken out of executive session.

Councilmen Bob Brick and James Benham are participating by teleconference. Councilman Jerome Rekrotik is absent tonight.

5:35 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled these consent items for workshop discussion:

  • Carters Creek Wastewater Plant Improvements: The $608,000 contract is for design and construction phase services for centrifuge improvements at the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • East Side Sewer and Lift Station: The $267,000 contract is for design and construction phase services for the East Side Sewer and Lift Station Project.

5:47 p.m.

BVSWMA Budget

The council unanimously endorsed the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency’s FY19 budget, which includes $8.64 million in revenue, $6.42 million in operating expenses, and $3.67 million in capital expenses. Total reserves, cash, and investments are $11.75 million.

The budget also reduces the gate rate for the cities of Bryan and College Station from $20 to $18.50 per ton.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:07 p.m.

Texas Weekend of Remembrance

After reviewing the 2018 Texas Weekend of Remembrance, the council directed staff to continue plans for 2019.

The TWR is a time for military members, veterans, and their families to come together and honor the memory of their lost loved ones through camaraderie and commemoration of their sacrifice. The Memorial Day weekend event allows everyone to show their pride and respect for the men and women who paid the ultimate price.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:08 p.m.

Mayor Karl Mooney suspended the workshop. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

6:13 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:34 p.m.

Historical Markers

The Historic Preservation Committee presented historical markers to St. Matthew Baptist Church (409 Holleman Dr.), Pleasant Grove Baptist Church (1216 Detroit St.), Sterling Whitley (500 Holleman Dr.), Thomas & Sharon Merchant (1102 Detroit St.), Bobby Searcy & Adrian Merchant (1106 Phoenix St.), and Rudell Baker-Wilson (1202 Phoenix St.).

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:39 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Ann Marsh spoke about ways the city can solve issues caused by trash containers.

6:41 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • An amendment to the Solid Waste Facilities Operations Agreement with BVSWMA that governs communications and procedures during extended periods of landfill inaccessibility.
  • The first reading of a franchise agreement with Organix Recycling for the collection of recyclables from commercial businesses and multi-family locations.
  • A contract with Pebble Creek Interests for easements needed for the Lick Creek Parallel Wastewater Trunk Line Project.
  • A contract with Aggieland Properties for land needed for the State Highway 47 Electric Substation Project.
  • A second amendment to the lease agreement with Wirestar that increases the leased fiber optic strand miles to 88.74.
  • An annual price agreement not to exceed $1,873,500 with Knife River ($1.44 million) and BPI Material ($438,000) for Type D hot mix asphalt for the maintenance of streets
  • A $209,656 contract with CF McDonald Electric to install purchased VFDs at Sandy Point Pump Station.
  • The removal of parking on the west side of Boyett Street beginning 60 feet north of the intersection of University Drive and ending 130 feet north of University Drive on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
  • The creation of a passenger loading zone in the Northgate Promenade Parking Lot to help address pedestrian safety and traffic congestion issues. The loading zone would be in place from 9 p.m.-3 a.m.
  • Changed the definition of a junked vehicle in the city’s Code of Ordinances to align with the Texas Transportation Code. The amendment also transfers cost responsibility
  • to remove a junked vehicle from the city to the owner.
  • A $60,000 change order for the contractor to bore under Wellborn Road and the railroad track to build an additional feeder to the Jones Crossing development.
  • A $608,000 contract with Jones and Carter for design and construction phase services for the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Centrifuge Improvements Project.
  • A $267,000 contract with Jones and Carter for design and construction phase services for the East Side Sewer and Lift Station Project.
  • A contract not to exceed $120,000 with Krause Paint and Body Shop for heavy truck paint and body repairs.
  • A $800,077.30 bid award for annual blanket purchase agreements for electrical items: KBS Electrical Distributors ($100,044.30), Wesco Distributors ($41,898), Texas Electric Cooperatives ($119,737.50), Techline ($509,373.50), and Anixter ($29,024).

This item was moved to the Aug. 9 council meeting:

  • Renewal of the inter-local agreement with the City of Bryan for management of the Larry J. Ringer Library.

6:55 p.m.

Committee Term Lengths and Limits

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to change the term lengths for appointees to various city boards, commissions, and committees to three years – except for the Planning & Zoning Commission – and to remove term limits that aren’t required by law. Planning and Zoning commissioners will continue to be limited to two terms.

The modifications are a response to the declining number of citizens applying to serve. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:09 p.m.

Fun for All Playground

The council unanimously approved a $942,123 construction contract for the first phase of an all-abilities park at Central Park. The Fun for All Playground will be a fully accessible park that will provide inclusive play for everyone.

The improvements will be funded primarily by civic groups and private citizens. Phase 1 includes a playground, swings, splash pad, parking, fencing, and general infrastructure.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:10 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

7:10 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The workshop will resume after a short break.

7:17 p.m.

The workshop has resumed.

8:21 p.m.

Possible City Charter Amendments

The council discussed possible city charter amendments that may be included in a special election in November: They approved the following items for the ballot:

  • Expand the terms from three to four years for mayor and city council members with regular elections in even-numbered years.
  • Expansion of residency requirement for the city manager and city attorney to allow them to live in the extraterritorial jurisdiction.
  • The mandatory appointment of an internal auditor.
  • Add language permitting the city to specify by ordinance the notice required for competitive bids and proposals.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:23 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The council meets again on Thursday, Aug. 9.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also 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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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Possible City Charter Amendments: The council will have a workshop discussion about proposed city charter amendments that may be placed on the ballot in the November election.
  2. Historical Marker Presentations: The Historic Preservation Committee will present historical markers to the owners of six homes.
  3. Boyett Parking Removal:  As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider the removal of parking on the west side of Boyett Street on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The no parking zone would start 60 feet north of University Drive and extend another 160 feet.
  4. Northgate Passenger Loading Zone: Another consent agenda item is the creation of a passenger loading zone in the Northgate Promenade Parking Lot to help address pedestrian safety and traffic congestion issues. The loading zone would be in place from 9 p.m.-3 a.m.
  5. Fun for All Playground: The council will consider a $942,123 contract with CRT GC, Inc. for construction of a Fun for All Playground at Beachy Central Park. The all abilities facility would provide accessible and inclusive play for everyone and will be funded primarily by private donations and civic groups.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also 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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This week’s Games of Texas to attract thousands

By Kelli Nesbitt, Parks & Recreation Marketing Coordinator

No, the fall semester is not starting a month early.

In fact, students have nothing to do with the thousands of people pouring into Bryan-College Station this week. Blame this friendly invasion on archery, golf, judo, lifeguard competition, pickleball, sand volleyball, skateboarding, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track field.

Those 11 sports comprise the 2018 Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s Summer Games of Texas, which will be conducted Thursday through Monday at venues across College Station and Bryan. The Olympic-like festival features more than 7,000 amateur athletes of all ages from across the state competing in multiple sporting events, mostly in swimming and track and field.

Admission is free at all events except for swimming and track and field. Daily tickets are $7 for swimming and $5 for track and field. Credit cards will be accepted only at swimming.

The City of College Station, in collaboration with the City of Bryan and Texas A&M, is playing host for the sixth time after conducting the event in 1988, 1994, 2000, 2014, and 2015. We’ll be the host city again next year. The 2015 Summer Games of Texas attracted more than 20,000 athletes, coaches, families, and volunteers who registered an estimated economic impact of about $7.5 million.

We invite you to help us welcome our visitors at the opening ceremonies Friday at the Wolf Pen Creek Festival Site. The parade of athletes begins at 6:30 p.m. led by the Prairie View A&M University Drum Line and ending with Team Fastrax, a skydiving and pyrotechnic team.

Traffic Delays and Facility Closures

  • All College Station Parks and Recreation facilities except the Larry J. Ringer Library will be closed Thursday through Sunday.
  • Expect delays around College Station High School from Thursday through Sunday. Lanes will be minimized to accommodate parking.
  • Holleman Drive from Dartmouth Street to the former Sears Service Center parking lot will be closed Friday from 4-9 p.m.

You may follow the Games of Texas on facebook.com/taafnation. For more information, visit taaf.com/gamesoftexas or call 979-764-3486.

Related Links:

 


About the Blogger

Kelli Nesbitt (@kneztalk) has served the Parks & Recreation Department for 14 years, the last seven as marketing coordinator. A native of Bryan, Kelli earned a bachelor’s degree in health & kinesiology from Sam Houston State.


 

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Home repair program could help you beat the heat

By David Brower, Community Development Analyst

As heat ripples dance across the street, neighborhood kids fry an egg on the sidewalk. You dread climbing into your car because you know it will feel like an oven, and the seatbelt will be scorching.

It’s blazing hot this week with no end in sight. The extended forecast shows one triple-digit day after another.

Just when you think it can’t get worse, you realize your air conditioner has trouble keeping up, especially during the hottest hours. You raise your hand to the nearest ceiling vent, but your heart sinks when you feel warm air.

Your AC has gone out, and you can’t bear staying a minute more in your stifling home.

Then, the HVAC technician says your system must be replaced. You call another company, and they tell you the same thing. As the owner of an older home, you’ve faced a lot of expensive repairs in recent years, and you certainly can’t afford a new HVAC system.

Mopping sweat from your brow, you fret about what to do next.

The City of College Station’s Minor Home Repair Program may be able to help. Income-qualified homeowners in the city limits may be eligible for a grant of up to $7,500 to address an emergency health or safety issue.

The income limits are higher than you might expect and are based on household size. A family of two can earn up to $43,050 a year and still qualify. A family of four can make up to $53,800.

For more information, call Community Services at 979-764-3778 or visit cstx.gov/housingassistance.

 


About the Blogger

David Brower has been a community development analyst for the City of College Station since 2008. He is a 2008 graduate of Texas A&M.


 

Photo Copyright: cylonphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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