Vision developing for continued downtown revitalization

Planners given direction for detailed concept plan

With the Ninth Street project now well underway, called Phase 1 of a long-term plan for an extensive rebuild of the downtown core, the District of Houston council is turning its attention to Phases 2 and 3 which would encompass tenth and eleventh Streets as well as Copeland, Butler and Poulton.

Using both staff and public comments, council members last week added their own preferences to provide direction to Urban Systems Ltd. as it begins fleshing out design options for sidewalks, paving, road networks and surface amenities in addition to extensive underground infrastructure upgrades and improvements.

Councillors said more trees should be added of species native to the area, that a centre-line curb at Copeland and Hwy. 16 is not needed but that a dedicated right turn lane should be built.

They also want a south sidewalk, part of Phase 1, to continue from Copeland to Poulton, extending into Poulton south of eleventh.

Councillors favour leaving the Robbie Bell statue off of the design plan but do recognize a new suitable placement location should be found.

There was also discussion on the dedicated lane between ninth and tenth off Pulton but council agreed to defer further discussion for now.

Advancing surface design details follows council approving of an application to a federal-provincial program to provide a substantial portion of any construction costs.

That application is for Phase 2 which is estimated to cost just over $5.5 million, a figure that is subject to change once more details emerge leading to a tendering package to solicit bids.

Phase 2 would take in all of 10th Street and the remainder of Poulton.

Council agreed to ask for 80 per cent of that cost based on a staff recommendation that while the federal-provincial program can cover all of the cost of a project, the chances are greater if the District supplies some of its own financing.

That remaining 20 per cent would then come monies received from the province in 2019 and this year for infrastructure and other spending.

Phase 3 would involve all of Butler Ave. and 11th Street and its cost, so far, has been tagged at $2.978 million.

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