By NICOLE JONES
Pearland leaders on Monday solidified the city’s future projects list as city council and staff continue to work through the budgeting process.
Council during Monday’s regular meeting adopted the 2020-2024 capital improvement plan, a collection of major construction projects to be completed over the next five years in parks, facilities, streets, water and wastewater projects. The first year of the capital improvement program is built into the city’s annual budget. The CIP, as it is known, lists projects over a five-year period but is revised annually to accommodate new projects, reflect changes and extend the program another year.
Nearly 60 percent of the capital improvements program is water and sewer projects, with streets the next largest at 20 percent followed by facilities at 13 percent.
About 3 percent of the projects are devoted to parks. Among planned work is a concrete hike and bike Clear Creek Trail, Phase II of Shadow Creek Park and Shadow Creek Trail Phase II.
“One request we have incorporated is for a future Independence Park Phase II,” City Manager Clay Pearson said. “The rest of it, there were questions but there weren’t any changes suggested.”
Phase II of Independence Park will convert an adjacent detention pond into a usable park amenity, according to the plan, with addition of a boat house and restaurant with parking and entry, landscaping, walkways, tables, lighting and a possible playground.
In other park plans, Clear Creek Trail will be an extension of the Master Trail plan, beginning at the existing trail north of Barry Rose running to El Franco Lee Park and crossing back over Clear Creek beneath Pearland Parkway bridge, then south to the University of Houston campus. Shadow Creek Trail Phase II would run along the Clear Creek Relief Channel and includes a pedestrian bridge.
Improvements to the Recreation Center include a gas stand-by generator, flooring replacement and removal of drop ceilings. Phase II of Shadow Creek Ranch includes addition of two cricket fields, a multipurpose adaptive field, lighting and more parking and restrooms.
The council met in a workshop Saturday to discuss and provide staff with input on the fiscal year 2020 budget. Another budget discussion is scheduled for Aug. 26, and public hearings on the tax rate are scheduled Sept. 3 and Sept. 9. A budget and tax rate must be adopted before the end of September.
Also on Monday, the Council passed the first reading of ordinances revising and updating the city’s unified development code in addition to electrical, building, plumbing and fire protection requirements.
“I know some of these things can be burdensome on businesses,” Councilman Gary Moore said, “but at the end of the day, it’s all for safety. Not just for that structure, but surrounding structures and the people in them.”
The changes were studied for six months and then recommended by an ad hoc committee. City staff then held discussions with the Planning and Zoning Committee, which in July unanimously voted to recommend.
Through a reimbursement agreement with the Pearland Economic Development Corp., the city approved contracts for Phases II and III of the state Hwy. 288 Corridor Master Improvement Plan.
Improvements to all lanes of U.S. 288 will provide dramatically different direct connects throughout the area, Pearson said.
“Those agencies are building the road, and they will leave as just the road, pretty basic. If there are any enhancements long term, that will change the look and feel of that,” he said.
“There’s a plan for major landscaping enhancements, lighting that will give the area a very positive look and feel.”
Many contracts have been awarded up to this point, but Monday’s is the first of actual implementation.
“And that is to essentially pre-order landscape material. It’s been recommended we put the material on order so that it can grow, get acclimated and be available when it’s needed,” he said.
Contracts for Phase II and III were awarded to Landscape Art Inc. Projects include landscaping, lighting, pear sculptures, irrigation, ponds and entryway signs and columns.
“I think everybody’s going to very proud of what it looks like,” Mayor Tom Reid said.