The District of Houston isn’t finished yet with plans to revitalization the downtown. A next phase involving 10th and 11th from Copeland to Butler is now in final design. (Houston Today photo)

The District of Houston isn’t finished yet with plans to revitalization the downtown. A next phase involving 10th and 11th from Copeland to Butler is now in final design. (Houston Today photo)

Downtown revitalization cost estimated at $8.6 million

But work depends on senior government grants

The District of Houston’s engineering consultants who have been in charge of its longterm downtown revitalization plan are suggesting its completion will cost $8.6 million if priced for a start next year and without GST added in.

That work will take in 10th St. and 11th St. from Copeland Ave. to Butler, including Poulton Ave. and the west half of Butler.

In a presentation to council Oct. 19, engineering consultants Urban Systems said the design work for the above is nearly complete.

A first phase involved below ground civic works as well as new asphalt, sidewalks, lighting and other amenities on 9th St. from Hwy16 to Butler and Hwy16 from Benson Ave. to Poulton Ave. and the next phase will generally follow along with what was done on 9th.

That work was to have been completed in 2020 but weather and other factors delayed its finishing until this past spring.

One portion of this next and much larger undertaking, is the widening of Copeland from 10th St. to Hwy16 and that’s planned for next year, Jared Halter from Urban Systems sketched out for council.

But the consulting firm did advise that phasing in of various work components, timelines for construction and financing for the work have not yet been confirmed.

An intricate financing plan laid out by District officials this past spring set aside monies received in 2019 and 2020 from a major provincial grant plus some of the District’s own surplus to kick start some of the work.

The District is also waiting for word on whether a grant application to the federal government has been successful in securing additional monies for the full scope of work.

Officials did warn in the spring that a completion of the full scope of work would be contingent upon receiving senior government grants.

A key part of the underground works component would include a water main upgrade on Butler from 6th to 10th as part of an overall upgrade to beef up the water supply in case of fire to the downtown, the Houston Mall and Silverthorne Elementary.

Council members did ask Halter from Urban Systems about above ground design tweaks regarding keeping existing trees, adding coniferous trees and coloured concrete on 10th and 11th Streets.

The original concept plan has been adjusted regarding a grass boulevard on 10th because of the storm main location and the sidewalk in front of the fire hall and its driveway will have ‘let downs’ or lowered portions to accommodate fire trucks.

But similar letdowns on sidewalks elsewhere, particularly in front of vacant lots, won’t be pursued.

“There is no way we could predict what kind of development would go there in the future,” noted corporate services officer Holly Brown of council’s discussion.

Other items included in the Urban Systems presentation call for no changes to the bull sculpture area and for a lane from Poulton between 9th and 10th to the Husky gas station under construction.