Beautification efforts, future growth and a possible Traffic Management Center are all part of a newly approved comprehensive plan that a city official said will help direct the future of growth and development in Tyler.
The Tyler 1st five-year update, which was approved by the Tyler City Council on Wednesday, includes items related to transportation, parks and recreation, historic preservation, business and economy, downtown revitalization and housing and neighborhoods, according to city council communication. Education also has been added to the plan.
“This is definitely an exciting day for the community,” Tyler Planning Director Heather Nick said on Wednesday.
She said Tyler 1st, formerly Tyler 21, “is the community’s plan.”
“We are building our future together,” she said. It isn’t a plan that is shelved. It is truly remarkable that we have implemented 85 percent of the plan since the original Tyler 21 was adopted. This is our community’s roadmap.”
Tyler 21 was originally adopted in 2007.
Mayor Barbara Bass said in a statement that although intended to be a 20-year plan, “it should be periodically reevaluated to ensure that the community’s vision and goals are still being met and that the strategies and action items for achieving the goals are still valid.”
Public meetings, public surveys and web-based opportunities were all part of gathering community feedback, according to a news release.
“The process includes a summary of progress made on implementing the plan, unforeseen circumstances - both opportunities and obstacles - that affect implementation, and a review of the overall vision, goals and principles of the plan,” the news release reads.
Ms. Nick said the city began work on conducting the five-year update in January 2013. Tyler 21 was rebranded to Tyler 1st, according to a news release, and a committee of the city council, city staff, department leaders and more than 50 community members was formed “to represent the city’s diversity and community leadership.”
The committee met each month over a year and “was charged with the overall guidance of the planning process and review of the draft comprehensive plan before it was presented for public comments.” The committee updated chapters in the plan, but also decided that a new chapter addressing education was necessary, according to a news release.
Among the items in the plan update are reviewing policies and Texas laws “to implement shared lanes for bicycles” and requiring bus bay turnouts “for major new developments in the site plan and building permit process,” City Engineer Carter Delleney said in January.
Tyler Parks and Recreation Director Stephanie Rollings previously said items also include developing a “Green-up the Gateway” plan and developing Gladys and T.B. Stewart Park as a heritage park.
Ms. Nick previously addressed historic preservation.
She said in January that items include conducting a heritage tourism development study and developing and implementing a Black History Month Program.
In discussing downtown, Assistant City Manager-Communications Director Susan Guthrie said in January that items include marketing for downtown and “working to strengthen businesses and recruit new businesses to downtown.”
As far as business and the economy, items include more sports tourism, “continuing to promote oil and gas industry” and “working with key stakeholders to grow residency programs in Tyler,” she previously said.
Ms. Guthrie said in January that education items include working with Tyler ISD on implementation of its strategic plan and determining key outcomes the community wants to see with academic achievement.
According to a news release, other items addressed/updates in the comprehensive plan include “approve and implement the new Rose Garden Master Plan”; “expand opportunities for economic impact of graduate school education in Tyler and expand opportunities for economic growth associated with 21st century energy”; “consider the creation of a Traffic Management Center (TMC) to actively manage signal operations”; and “updates to the Future Land Use Guide.”
Ms. Nick said there is an implementation chapter online that gives the public an idea of the possible time frame for items to be implemented. She said via email that there also will be opportunity for the public to track implementation items on future city council agendas.
The implementation chapter, as well as the other chapters of the plan, is available at www.tyler1st.com .
On Wednesday, the City Council also gave approval for a construction contract with Reynolds & Kay, Ltd. for the 2014 Asphalt Enhancement Program and the 2014 Seal Coat Program, according to a news release.
“The pavement in the city of Tyler is one of our largest assets and it is important that we make every effort to maintain it through seal coats and overlays,” Delleney said in a prepared statement.
According to a news release, streets that need asphalt enhancement were identified, and bids were received last month.
The news release reads that, “all streets that have curb and gutter will be edge milled prior to the overlay to provide a smooth transition into the pan of the gutter.”
Delleney said major projects that are part of the Asphalt Enhancement Program include South Broadway Avenue from Erwin Street to Fourth Street and South Fleishel Avenue from East Fifth Street to East Dawson Street.
He said construction on Asphalt Enhancement Program projects will begin in May, and the amount of lane closures will be minimized. Construction on Asphalt Enhancement Program projects is expected to be completed in October, according to a news release.
As far as Seal Coat Program projects, which were also identified and bid on, they will begin in May and are expected to be complete before August. Delleney said one of the seal coat projects is Old Omen Road from University Boulevard to South Southeast Loop 323.
Also on Wednesday, the Tyler City Council heard a presentation on the Center for Healthy Living.
According to a news release, the Center for Healthy Living, located at 2815 Frankston Highway, opened in October and served more than 300 people from when it opened through the end of February, many of which come to the center weekly.
The Center of Healthy Living provides diabetic management, cooking classes, nutrition counseling and blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, weight and BMI screenings, among other things, according to a news release.
“This is a great time to recognize this partnership between the city of Tyler and NET Health (the Northeast Texas Public Health District) considering that April 7-13 is National Public Health week,” Mayor Bass said in a prepared statement. “This facility offers wonderful classes and screening to help prevent chronic illnesses in the population as well as to detect and manage the diseases for those already affected.”
LAKE TYLER DAM
Additionally, the City Council on Wednesday approved an $8.3 million construction contract with Gracon Construction, Inc. for the Lake Tyler Dam Repair project.
Greg Morgan, city of Tyler director for utilities and public works, said earlier this year that the dam was inspected in 2010, and as a result, a boil was discovered, meaning water was coming up and transporting soil.
The boil has been observed, he previously said, and it was determined that the issue needed to be addressed.
Therefore, a barrier wall will be put in to help seal off part of the dam, Lynn Hitt, P. E., with Wisenbaker Fix & Associates, said in February.
Morgan previously said that if the issue wasn’t addressed, it could create a structural problem, so they are trying to be proactive.
He previously said repair work is also planned for the spillway.
Morgan said in February that the project could take five to nine months, depending on whether work on the wall and repairs to the spillway is staggered.