Weatherford Democrat

April 29, 2013

Aledo City Council gives “Grounds” design a go, UMC street closure a no

Weatherford Democrat

— By Judy Sheridan

The Aledo City Council approved a $10,000 contract with Freese & Nichols to plan and design the development of the inside of the Aledo Couplet during a regular council session Thursday.

The council also denied a request from Aledo United Methodist Church to close Oak Street in front of the church for its annual Lord’s Acre Festival on Sept. 28.

To master plan the “grounds” area Freese & Nichols will summarize a long list of  proposed improvements and their costs, prioritize and phase them with the help of the EDC, prepare a streetscape and grounds design concept and present the concept to the EDC and city council.

Landscaping, signs, lighting, banners, sidewalks, parking, public art, structures and activity areas for the area will all be considered, as well as paving and landscaping the triangular intersections at each of its four corners.

The length of time requested — 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. — and the fact that Lord’s Acre is not a civic event appeared to be the main reasons the council voted to deny UMC’s request to close Oak Street from Pecan to Chestnut.

“For non-civic events the policy has been to not close streets,” City Administrator Ken Pfeifer said. “The perspective has always been that it sets a precedent … and a lot of times there are unanticipated factors in the public safety category. The other factor is we have a lot of street closures going on.”

“This city supports community events,” Mayor Kit Marshall said. “We host a number of those community events in keeping with our Strategic Plan. This is different in the sense that it’s not city-sponsored, and it is on a major thoroughfare.”

“I have an issue with the length of time on this one,” Council member Jean Bailey said. “I would not be having an issue with us changing our policy to allow for some short-term street closures for non-city sponsored events — upon payment of fees or permits or whatever to cover whatever costs there might be— but this is way too long.”

In other action the council:

• Held a second public hearing on a request from Bearcat Development, LLC, that the city annex a 13-acre tract of land on south FM 1187 for the proposed 129-lot Brookhollow subdivision.

• Approved closing Elm Street from FM 1187 to Oak Street for the First Fridays Concert Series, set for June 7, July 5 and Aug. 2.

• Approved signing up with Constant Contact, to be used to email quarterly newsletters, and splitting the annual $640 cost with the Aledo Economic Development Corporation.

• Awarded a $122, 000 contract to low bidder Reliable Paving,Inc. for paving improvements to Rolling Hills Drive, Hillside Drive, Cedar Bluff Court and Carroll Street, including concrete ribbon curbing. Additional revenues from building permits and plan review fees will supplement budgeted funds of $105,000. Construction will begin in mid-May.

• Approved a $5,000 agreement with Freese & Nichols to design a north entryway monument sign to be located in the median of FM 1187, flanked by columns on both sides of the highway. The sign, which will look much like the one near the Community Center, will be located midway between Bailey Ranch Road and Bankhead Highway.