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Farquhar crossing design approved

July 25, 2019 - 11:00
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The Navasota City Council held a Regular Meeting Monday, July 22, and approved the proposed design of a pedestrian crossing on Washington Avenue at Farquhar with councilman Geoff Horn abstaining.

The cost of the contract with KSA Engineering is $59,140 with $32,235 for design, survey and coordination with TxDOT and an additional $26,905 if Tx-DOT requires the City to bid the project, inspect the construction and coordinate with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation on ADA inspections. Construction will be performed by TxDOT.

To promote pedestrians safely crossing three traffic lanes past on-street parking midblock, bump-outs and a median will be constructed on Washington at Farquhar. A curb will separate east-west traffic lanes from the median to LaSalle.

KSA engineer Grayson Cox said, “TxDOT had a couple of traffic considerations when it came to the median and the biggest one is that Farquhar will be a right turn only street at Washington (eastbound) and on Washington Avenue, you cannot turn left on Farquhar (westbound). The median that would protect pedestrians that cross Washington Avenue would also block left turns at that intersection. That will actually help with some of the traffic issues you have now at that signal. The left turn lane at LaSalle (eastbound) would actually be extended and you’d have less conflicting movement while the queuing backs up at that intersection.”

According to Cox, Tx-DOT determined that a crossing with striping and yield signage is warranted but a controlled crossing is not.

Cox said, “I would say ‘not yet.’ Once you create a safe environment for pedestrians to cross, there’s going to be more pedestrians and that might trigger a pedestrian hybrid beacon or some other system TxDOT might allow.”

Council discussed the impact of the traffic pattern on residents, visitors, parades, events, the city’s small-town feel, increased traffic on Railroad Street, emergency vehicles and the current safety issue of east-west Washington traffic simultaneously occupying the left turn lane.

Police Chief Shawn Myatt said, “Law enforcement-wise, we like the idea of this because it would lessen some of the congestion. That intersection is where we see a lot of our foot traffic that cross without a crosswalk as opposed to walking down to the light.”

Resident Deborah Richardson suggested a four-way stop at McAlpine and Railroad Street to address increased traffic on Railroad Street.

Repair approved for

LaSalle property

After a public hearing, council approved a 90-day repair order for the structure at 1519 S. LaSalle, a building some consider a piece of Navasota history.

Though structurally sound, Community Relations Specialist Kris Gruver said 50% or more of the nonsupporting walls, ceilings, roofs and floors are damaged or deteriorating, a missing window could be a danger to the public and conditions conducive to harboring disease carrying animals or insects all violate the Substandard Building Ordinance.

Karen Neal-Brown, granddaughter and co-administrator of the Joseph Fisher, Sr. property told council she has already obtained a repair estimate and hired someone to clean the inside of the building.

Neal-Brown from Dallas said, “It didn’t look that way the last time I saw it. I’m guilty of letting it go on too long, but we’re definitely interested in taking care of our property and being compliant, and I have been cooperative.”

None of Mr. Fisher’s heirs live in Navasota and the property on LaSalle at Spur 515 is for sale.

Councilman Josh Fultz called the former gas station “a great part of our heritage.”

Brown-Neal said, “I appreciate that you said that. My grandfather built, owned and operated that business for 70 years until two years before he passed away.”

Reiterating their intent to restore the property to compliance, granddaughter Allison Neal said, “We know what a hard-working man our grandfather was so nobody’s more heartbroken than us.”

Aging aerator replaced

Council approved replacing the aerator at the groundwater storage tank (GST) facility at 520 Malcolm Street. During construction of the new 1 million-gallon GST, the tank inlet was elevated above the inlet on the existing smaller tank creating issues filling the tank. Steve Dunn with Jones & Carter Engineering advised council of three options available for resolving the aerator height issue.

Estimating 3-5 years left on the life of the aerator, Dunn said, “They (the contractor) will do nothing and give you $20,000 out of the contract and you can replace it yourself at a later date.”

Option two, repair by extending the inlet up to the same elevation as the new tank inlet at no additional cost to the city, or three, apply the $20,000 toward a new aerator.

A new aerator at $75,000 plus $42,000 construction costs totals $117,000. The $20,000 credit reduces the city’s responsibility to $97,000. City Manager Brad Stafford advised that funds are still available from the GST bond.

Other council action:

•Received a report on the July 11 Planning & Zoning meeting.

•Received the annual activity report from the Grimes Health Resource Center; approved a budget request increasing amount to $5,500.

•Approved the School Resource Contract with the Navasota Independent School District for two certified police officers.

•Received the City of Navasota Quarterly Investment Report for the quarter ending 6-30-19.

•Approved amending the June 24 city council minutes to reflect documents received and referenced during the discussion of the proposed cell tower at 9256 FM 1277.

•Tabled the first reading of Ordinance 894-19 to redraft the proposed amendment to the Sign Ordinance regarding notice and public hearing requirements for variance requests.

Staff reports:

•Introduction of Municipal Court judge, Pat Gruner.

•Administrative Intern William Moore presented the new GIS map of the City of Navasota storm drain system created by Moore and city staff.

•Recognized Utilities Administrative Assistant Jennifer Reyna, Water Operator Matt Julian and Director of Utilities Jeff Greer for their work on the Railroad Commission safety audit, receiving no violations.

Mayor’s dates

to remember:

•Thursday, July 25 - Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day for the Children’s Miracle Network, noon-5 p.m.

•Thursday, July 25 - Chamber Mixer at the VFW, 5:30-7 p.m.

•Friday, July 26 - Navasota Public Library Summer Reading Program reading log deadline.

•Friday, July 26 - Fourth Friday in Downtown Navasota.

•Saturday, July 27 – Navasota Animal Shelter free adoption, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sterling Auto Showroom, SH 6.

•Saturday, July 27 – “Where’s Waldo?” wrap-up party, Muddy Water Bookstore, 2-5 p.m.

•Thursday, Aug. 1 – Kiwanis 58th Annual Radio Auction.

•Aug. 5-30 – GHRC Emergency Food Drive at CHI St. Joseph’s Hospital.

•Wednesday-Thursday, Aug. 7-8 – “Navasota’s Got Talent” auditions, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Navasota Center.

•Wednesday, Aug. 13 – AgriLife Back to School Health & Safety Fair, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Grimes County Fairgrounds.

•Saturday, Aug. 24 – “Navasota’s Got Talent Show,” 6 p.m., Brosig Auditorium.