Benbrook plans projects for next several years, sees updates


by A.C. Hall

At their February meeting the Benbrook City Council considered an annual update to the capital improvements program section of their comprehensive plan.  This is done yearly and gives the City a plan on the projects they will focus on in the near future.
An overview of the projects that have been completed in the current comprehensive plan was given.  These included road extensions, alley system construction, and erosion projects.  One project from the current comprehensive plan that is still ongoing is the overhaul of Benbrook Boulevard/377.
The proposed update contained no new community facilities or streets projects, but instead focused on drainage projects.  A total of five drainage projects were listed on the new capital improvements update.  They were spread across the next three years and included projects on Sundown Drive, Plantation West, Chapin Road Cross culvert and channel, Van Deman Drive, and erosion on Timberline.
A public hearing was held during which anyone was allowed to speak about this item.  No one present wished to speak, so the public hearing was closed.  A motion was then made to approve the update to the capital improvements plan. That motion passed unanimously.
Benbrook Towne Crossing Changes
The Benbrook Towne Crossing is an area that includes the proposed extension of Vista way from Mercedes Street to the 820 frontage road.  Vista Way currently runs behind Walmart but stops there.  The current developer is reluctant to build Vista Way, so the City has explored ways to stimulate the development.  Benbrook has paid for some of the infrastructure in this area.  This area falls within a Tax Increment Financing, which is a separate entity that’s made up of multiple taxing entities that contribute a portion of the funds to be used for public improvements.
The proposal before council was for the TIF to handle the engineering services and construction of the Vista Way extension to the 820 frontage road.  This would be done in exchange for some concessions from the developer.  The proposal also includes the TIF handling the construction of two new access drives off of 377.  One would be located by McDonald’s and would allow access to the Albertsons’ property while another would run behind Russell Feed Store and would allow a new access into Walmart.
As part of the agreement, the developer would grant right of ways needed to construct the new roads.  It would also convey some land to the city including the corner of Mercedes and Benbrook Boulevard and 2.1 acres on Mercedes behind the RaceTrak gas station.  Utility easements behind some of the businesses along the new roads being constructed would also be given to the city.
TIF board has already approved this agreement as has the developer.  City staff made clear that since this is a TIF area that no city funds are directly involved in this project.  The project will be funded out of the TIF funds.
A discussion was held about a general timeline for all of this taking place.  With some of the project needing federal approval, things could change, but it was said that if all goes perfectly the design and approvals would be done by the end of 2016.
A motion was made to approve this resolution and authorize the City Manager to sign this agreement.  That motion passed unanimously.