The Denison City Council moved forward with plans Monday to invest more than $2 million in city roads in 2017 when councilors approved a contract Monday with Texana Land and Asphalt. The $2.17 million contract will see asphalt milling and overlay work on many roads in the city’s low-income neighborhoods.
Mill and overlay involves the removal and replacement of the top layer of asphalt from city roadways that are in need of repair. City officials said this practice should extend the lifespan and improve the condition of the treated roads.
“We are pretty excited by this and once it (the construction) gets stated, we anticipate a 90-day completion,” Development Services Director Gabe Reaume said. “It should be quicker than a full reconstruction like on Chestnut Street.”
Denison Public Works Director Bobby Atteberry said the project will cover roughly 18 lane-miles of roadway encompassing 100 blocks on 52 Denison streets.
When put out to bid, the city received nine bid for the project with Texana representing the low bid, City Manager Jud Rex said. The high bid came in at $3.22 million. While the city has not worked with Texana in the past, Rex said the company has done work on FM 691 in the past under a contract with the Texas Department of Transportation.
Reaume described Monday’s action as the fruit of more than a year’s worth of work by city staff and members of the Denison Community Block Development Grant Committee. This group oversees the city’s annual allotment of funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for projects, improvements and rehabilitation in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods.
Under the city’s current plan for the improvements, funds from this program will be used to finance the project. The project will be primarily funded through a $1.55 million Section 108 loan authorized through HUD. The city plans to use a portion of the annual CDBG funds to pay back this debt.
Earlier this year, the city signed a resolution stating that the city would pay off the debt using its general fund in the event CDBG funding disappears. This came after an initial budget proposal by President Donald Trump’s administration featured significant cuts to HUD and the elimination of the CDBG program.
In addition to the loan funds, the city will also use an additional $250,000 from previous year’s CDBG allotments. The remaining funds will come from money set aside for street maintenance in the city’s general fund.
Because the majority of the funds will be coming from CDBG sources, the improvements will be taking place in neighborhoods that are at least 51 percent low- to moderate-income populations. When asked about what areas the project will cover, Reaume said the streets are distributed across the city, but noted hubs near Munson Park and the Denison Independent School District Administration Building on Mirick.
When the funds that are not dedicated to CDBG areas, the city focused its efforts on connector streets between these areas.
“We have some limits, so we took a worst comes first mentality with this,” Reaume said. In 2016, the city conducted a roadway assessment that scored each road on a scale of 0 through 100 based on condition.
Up until 2013, the city regularly invested about $300,000 annually in mill and overlay work. However, it has been well over a decade since the city’s roadway infrastructure has seen this level of improvement, Rex said.
Moving forward, the city plans to follow up this initial investment with an annual contribution of $600,000 in roadway funding. These funds would come from the savings the city recouped from adjusting its energy rates and from the city’s franchise fee for utilities, telecommunications and other services.
Through these improvements, Reaume said the city hopes to encourage redevelopment and reinvestment in some of these residential neighborhoods. As many of these streets are among those included in the city’s infill affordable housing program, he said he hopes that this might entice some developers to take notice of these neighborhoods.
Reaume said he hopes to have a pre-construction meeting with the contractors soon with an expected start date of July 1.