College Station City Council discusses 2022 bond election projects | Latest Headlines

Members of the College Station City Council further discussed potentially holding a bond election in November during a meeting last month at City Hall.

City Manager Bryan Woods said after reviewing 33 proposed projects from the city’s Citizen Bond Advisory Committee, city staff narrowed it down to 21 projects that are projected to total $ 92,400,000. No action was taken at the July 28 meeting.

The top-ranked project regards public safety, with the installation of a new Fire Station No. 7. Other projects include the widening of Rock Prairie Road East, Phase 2 of Texas Independence Ballpark, citywide park improvements, Bachmann Little League Building replacement, Veterans Park soccer field replacements (6), pickleball / futsal courts installation and the redevelopment of Mabel Clare Thomas Park – and as a separate project – installing a pool at the park.

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Woods told the council they revised the cost estimate for Fire Station No. 7 from $ 10.5 million to a projected cost of $ 18 million. The cost for the Texas Independence Ballpark Phase 2 also was revised by staff from $ 12.6 million to $ 26 million, and also would put $ 6 million toward the park from hotel occupancy tax funds.

Woods noted that they are waiting to hear back on the bids that were placed for Phase 1, which will help determine the projected cost for Phase 2.

“The fire station we moved up in price, we kind of expected that. The other big jump was Texas Independence Ball Park, which we are waiting on the first phase, and we will have the numbers for the first phase before we call the bond and that drove the numbers up, ”Woods said after the meeting. “We also went and looked at each project… and some of them we already had money set aside that can be used or there were maybe better ways to fund it.”

Council members Elizabeth Cunha, John Nichols and Dennis Maloney, each stated how much of a jump Independence Ball Park estimates were. Council also asked what the park includes and what the infrastructure would be like.

“I am interested to see what numbers will come out for Phase 2 of Independence Ball Park because that seems extraordinarily high right now,” Maloney said at the meeting.

Woods clarified there would be more details on the park at the next council meeting. Through discussion with city staff, Woods said another big change they made was recommending that some of the items go onto certificates of obligation, which are voted on.

“That is just because [some of the projects] are more general in nature, and it seemed like it would make more sense to do those projects as we go along, ”he said. “And also provide some flexibility depending on what projects come in at the future.”

Woods presented the council with two options for the propositions and how they could potentially be presented to voters.

Proposition Option 1 includes four categories / propositions for voters to vote on separately: public safety, transportation, parks and recreation and Mabel Clare Thomas Park Pool.

Proposition Option 2 includes five categories / propositions: public safety, transportation, sports and tourism, park improvements and redevelopment and Mabel Clare Thomas Park Pool.

Both options total $ 92.4 million, Woods said, however, Option 2 is laid out in a way that clarifies more specifically what each category will entail. During the meeting, council members voiced they were more in favor of Option 2 to be potentially discussed for the November ballot.

Mayor Karl Mooney said he was in favor of having Mabel Clare Thomas Park Pool as a separate proposition.

“I don’t want folks voting no on the entire bond package because the Mabel Clare pool is included,” he said at the meeting. “I would rather they be able to say yes or no one way or the other, because there is too much to lose.”

The pool is projected to cost $ 3.9 million and would be about 4,500 square feet, Woods said. Councilman John Crompton brought up the point that continued operation and maintenance for the pool, would be something to keep in mind over time.

Woods said they wanted to combine the Veterans Park fields and Texas Independence Ball Park under the sports and tourism proposition, because each pertains to economic development.

“We put the other parks projects that are really only for local use, we put them together,” he said after the meeting. “Veterans and Independence have a local and large economic impact, so we put them together. The goal is to make sure people can vote within the categories that they feel comfortable. “

Woods said they will have better estimates on Independence Ball Park at the Aug. 11 council meeting and review the bond ordinance language / descriptions for the propositions; and they will have sample material they plan to send to residents about the bond election.

Woods said council may potentially call a bond election during a special meeting Aug. 17.

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