The Mineral Wells city council authorized the solicitation of bids on two items related to the downtown revitalization project Tuesday night.
A portion of the 2017 bond package approved by voters included about $1.3 million for utility upgrades and replacements in the areas of SW 4th Avenue, SW 5th Avenue, NW 15th Street, NE 10th Street and SW 15th Street.
“About a year ago we were soliciting bids for this project and the bids came in about $1 million over what we had allotted for the project, so we had to go back to the drawing board and kind of relook at the scope of that project,” Mineral Wells City Manager Randy Criswell said. “We believe that we can get that project down within the budget number and are ready to do that.”
Sanford LaHue of Parkhill Smith and Cooper said the streets are projected to be paved next year.
“We want to get the utilities out of the way so when we pave it, we won’t have any issues,” he said. “If we try to do it all at once, utilities and paving, it’s just too much.”
Criswell said it’s a project to celebrate.
“It’s really going to make a difference and I think when folks begin to see that their vote and support of that bond really did result in something that’s a real benefit that they can see and will drive on every day, I think it’s a really really positive thing,” he said.
Mineral Wells Ward 1 Councilmember Jerrel Tomlin said it’s a great thing for the city, especially the southwest streets.
“I think all the council was concerned about this because that was the first bond election that had passed in probably two decades and so we’ve all watched this very closely,” Tomlin said. “It’s very encouraging to see that we’re still at work and on track to accomplish what people chose to approve.”
The contract documents and authorization to solicit bids for the utility improvements were unanimously approved.
Engineer firm Jacob Martin and landscape architect Mesa Design as well as local stakeholders brought together a design for Phase 1 of the downtown revitalization project.
“We were really trying to get a grant application in for the downtown revitalization project with the [Community Development Block Grant] money through TDA and we have worked really closely with Jacob Martin,” Criswell said. “This is really something special. Ultimately what has occurred is we put in a grant application for sidewalks, handicap ramps and some lighting at those blocks of NE 1st Avenue to make it more friendly for pedestrians.”
The original project budget was $420,000 consisting of a CDBG-TDA grant of $350,000 and a local match of $70,000, according to a city document. The engineer’s estimate is about $156,000 in excess of the grant and match total, but the city has received approval from the TIRZ board for the additional cost up to $175,000 so the project can be constructed.
“So by partnering with Mesa Design and Jacob Martin and some of our downtown stakeholders, some city staff, we have now got a design and a proposal to go out for bid for that portion of that project that will be absolutely incredible,” Criswell said.
Criswell added that although this was Phase 1 of the project, it will be easily expanded into Phase 2 and won’t look incomplete.
The construction documents and authorization for solicitation of bids for Phase 1 of the downtown revitalization project was unanimously approved.