Plans for a proposed Tyler animal care facility are moving forward.
The City Council on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for a contract with Freese and Nichols, Inc. for the project’s design.
Seven individuals also have been appointed to a new Animal Care Advisory Board, according to a news release. They are Marjorie Ream, veterinarian Michael Maris, Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle, Code Enforcement Manager Chris Lennon, Todd Tutt, William McCord III and Mary Ann Clifford.
Representatives from Smith County, which is looking at using the new facility, and Tyler Junior College, which is pursuing a Vet Tech program and interested in partnering with the city on the project, will be appointed at a later time, according to a news release.
“We have been working toward Tyler maintaining its own animal care facility for several years, and we are very pleased to progress to this next step in making that happen,” City Manager Mark McDaniel said in a prepared statement. “We are particularly happy about the prospect of bringing in great partners like Smith County and TJC, and several cities in the surrounding area have expressed an interest as well.”
The project will be located on property the city purchased at 4218 Chandler Highway.
McDaniel said in January that the animal care facility will be more than a shelter, and described it as having a “public health safety perspective” instead of “an animal rescue approach.”
City engineer Carter Delleney said design for phase 1, which will be able to accommodate 72 dogs and 48 cats, should be complete by the beginning of 2015, and construction could start in February or March 2015.
“We’re just excited to see the future of an animal care facility here in Tyler,” he said.
The city currently contracts with Klein Animal Shelter in Jacksonville to house animals.
BRICK STREET VILLAGE
The council Wednesday also approved a commercial corridor overlay for Brick Street Village, an area bordered by Dobbs Street, Chilton Avenue, Charnwood Street and South Broadway Avenue border Brick Street Village.
City of Tyler Planning Director Heather Nick said in February that Brick Street Village is a nice place to visit, particularly during the Azalea and Spring Flower Trail, and the neighborhood group of residents and commercial property owners is trying to brand the area.
“The neighborhood group wants to establish an identity and brand for their unique area of Tyler. They have really worked hard … to involve their neighbors to establish criteria for the overlay district to accomplish their goals,” she previously wrote in an email.
According to a presentation given in February on the proposed Brick Street Commercial Corridor Overlay, some improvements have been made in Brick Street Village over the years, such as curb improvements and landscaping, and the area has hosted various activities, including Brick Street Stroll in December.
Rhonda Reuter, owner of Crafts and Quilting, Etc., previously said the neighborhood group wants to revitalize the area and encourage people to come to Brick Street Village, while also collaborating with the city.
Plans for that effort include a Brick Street Village logo, designed by resident Kyle Carter; “installing old fashioned street lamps, banners, benches and flower pots”; providing “pedestrians and bicyclists safe, comfortable and attractive access to sidewalks, crosswalks and private properties, while accommodating automobiles”; and increasing “economic opportunities within the district and the city of Tyler,” according to a presentation made in February.
“We don’t want to change the look of our area. What we want to do is enhance,” Ms. Reuter previously said.
DJ Ferguson, of Carriage House Gallery, previously said, “Our whole purpose is we love the area. We want it to be thriving and economically sound.”
Ms. Reuter said Tuesday that many people frequent businesses in the Brick Street Village area, and she and others are excited.
“I think it’s a real important step in future planning…,” she said.
“I think it’s a good thing for the city.”
Also on Wednesday, the city council accepted a $75,000 donation from Green Acres Baptist Church and Grace Community Church for improvements to the playground at Bergfeld Park. The $75,000 donation is being made on behalf of children in the Gospel Village mentoring program, Stephen Wickliffe, missions pastor at Grace Community Church, has said.
Wickliffe said Tuesday that the project includes a complete rebuild and expansion of the Bergfeld Park play area.
City of Tyler Parks and Recreation Director Stephanie Rollings said the project will use a lot of natural elements, in addition to the new play features.
One of the cool features, Wickliffe has said, will be net climbers.
He has said children also will be able to go in between the levels of the playground using slides, and there will be natural boulders for climbing.
Among the other planned features are new swings, a merry-go-round and a toddler play area, according to a news release.
Don Warren, chairman of the Bergfeld Park Improvement Project, has said the park’s master plan is being done phase by phase, with the first phase being the playground installation.
The equipment, he previously said, is projected to cost about $285,000, and money will continue to be raised so that equipment can go in during the first part of the summer.
Warren has said the second phase of the park improvement project involves focusing on Broadway Avenue landscaping, as well as signage and improvements to “Splasher,” the dolphin water feature.
Also included in the master plan, he said Tuesday, is tree trimming and picnic pads, improvements to the tennis courts, improved lighting and ultimately renovations to the amphitheater.
The council also endorsed the Veteran and Military Growth Initiative “to create sustainable opportunities for veterans and their families to thrive in East Texas,” according to a news release.
According to the news release, outlined in the initiative are “more than 40 strategies and tactics for veteran-focused community growth, making a strong case for how implementation will bring fresh dollars into Tyler/Smith County and cement Tyler’s reputation as the ‘capital of East Texas.’”
The initiative has also been endorsed this year by the Veterans Community Roundtable, which was charted in 2011 under Mayor Barbara Bass’ leadership, the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Veterans Committee and Tyler’s Leadership Roundtable, according to a news release.
A presentation on the initiative shows that Smith County has 16,000-plus veterans.
Other council business included renewing a special use permit for Gateway to Hope to continue operating for five more years and accepting Bergfeld Park’s designation as a Lone Star Legacy Park “for its special prominence in the local community and the state of Texas,” according to the city. According to a news release, the designation comes from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society.