The planned extension of Sparks Drive moved three steps closer to reality Tuesday night. Cleburne council members approved funding for two projects necessary to continue the project’s progress.
Sparks Drive connects to the Chisholm Trail Parkway on the west side. On the east side however, Sparks Drive terminates about 2,000 linear feet from the tollroad. City officials hope to extend the road on that side to CTP to better facilitate access to the tollroad.
Council members approved the Cleburne TIF 1 board’s recommendation to spend up to $45,000 to develop a conservation easement document to submit to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Corps requires a wetlands mitigation plan to approve the extension of Sparks Drive, Cleburne Director of Engineering Services Cheryl Taylor said.
The extension project, she said, would impact a small area of wetlands.
“The Corps requires mitigation of that impact in order to approve a permit for the project,” Taylor said. “The project area is located in a region that has no approved mitigation banks. Therefore, a permittee-responsible mitigation plan is required. Integrated Environmental Solutions prepared that plan and submitted it to the Corps for review.”
Council on Tuesday approved hiring several companies to assist with that process.
Council also approved hiring Childress Engineers at a cost not to exceed $27,000 for engineering services and development of a supplemental grading plan in conjunction with a land swap between the city and James Hardie Building Products.
The James Hardie land better lines up with optimal road extension plans than does the city’s land, Taylor said.
The cost of extending the road, about $2.9 million, is not in the city’s current budget, city officials said. The hope is that the Texas Department of Transportation or other entities may contribute toward the cost.
The extension, Cleburne Economic Development Director Grady Easdon said, would greatly increase CTP access and enhance Cleburne’s industrial park area.
Rate hike fight
Council members passed a resolution denying Oncor’s request to increase distribution rates. Oncor recently requested a $29.4 million increase from cities in their service area.
The resolution authorizes Cleburne to join a steering committee composed of other cities served by Oncor to oppose the rate-increase request.
Finance Director Troy Lestina said the committee will evaluate Oncor’s filing to determine whether it complies with the law.
“And, if lawful, to determine what further strategy, including settlement, to pursue,” Lestina said.
Local railroad enthusiasts joined Mayor Scott Cain in proclaiming May 10-17 as Cleburne Railroad History Days.
May 10 marks the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike symbolizing installation of the final cross tie joining the Transcontinental Railroad the construction of which President Abraham Lincoln authorized by signing the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862.
“This rail connection followed quickly by many others joining the eastern United State and the west coast and Chicago to the Gulf coast and opened millions of acres of land for settlement,” Cain said. “Scores of villages and towns were created by the development of the railroads.”
The railroad contributed mightily to Cleburne’s development, Cain said, noting that this year marks the 100th anniversary of Engine 3417. Long a Cleburne landmark, Engine 3417 has for decades provided Hulen Park’s focal point.
Cleburne resident Sam Walls and others are leading the charge to restore and preserve the engine and to replace the fencing around it.
A celebration of both railroad milestones will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 11 at the Cleburne Railroad Museum, 206 N. Main St. Exhibits, activities, a documentary film and more are planned. For information, call Layland Museum at 817-645-0940.
Credit to Cleburne
Cain and Human Resources Director Debra Powledge presented the city’s STARS Award to sanitation worker Jimmy Green. The award goes to employees who perform above and beyond the call of duty.
Green assisted and even dipped into his own pocket to help after a woman’s truck broke down at the transfer station. He helped again several days later when the woman returned and her truck once again stalled out.
Armadillo MC members Road Captain and Stumpy joined Cain to proclaim May Motorcycle Safety Month.
Road Captain encouraged motorists to stay off their phones while driving.