Sherman is working on the next step to relocate its Blalock Park Fire Station No. 4 to allow Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille to build on the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417.


The Sherman City Council recently approved a request to advertise for bids for the construction of an extension to Northgate Drive in the city’s Progress Park industrial area, which is where the city’s Fire Station No. 4 will be relocated.


“This will extend Northgate Drive north to where the furture West Travis Street extension will be,” Director of Engineering Clint Philpott said. “This is necessary for the future development of our fire station in that area.”


The extension of Travis Street on the west side of U.S. Highway 75 currently goes through the Sherman Crossroads development and will ultimately be a four-lane divided roadway that will connect with OB Groner Road at its intersection with FM 1417. Northgate Drive is on the north side of FM 1417 and currently extends about three-quarters of the way through the Progress Park I industrial area.


In August 2015, Sherman announced plans to move the Blalock Park Fire Station and combine the nearly nine acres of property it is on with 13 acres of adjacent land owned by the Sherman Economic Development Corp. to create a 22-acre tract to sell for commercial development.


Last month, Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille announced plans to open an entertainment complex as part of a planned full development of the 22-acre tract of land. Schulman’s facility is expected to encompass 63,189 square feet and will feature multiple bowling lanes, eight movie screens offering dine-in viewing, various gaming choices and dining options through a Billy’s Grille and Bar. The rest of the first phase of the development is expected to include spaces for three restaurant or retail locations and a spot for a convenience store along the Highway 75 service road. The second phase of the development will add a hotel and conference center to the east of the Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille.


Philpott said once the city finds a contractor to handle the extension work, which will include the construction of water lines, drainage and a 37-foot wide street, it will be working with SEDCO on the Northgate Drive project.


“The SEDCO board has already authorized the funding of this project,” Philpott said. “We did the design and we’ll manage the project, but it will be SEDCO funded.”


In March, the SEDCO board of directors approved $900,000 to extend Northgate Drive north from its current end near Southeastern Freight to connect with the West Travis Street extension that will run along the northern edge of Progress Park I.


In April, the council approved a contract for professional consulting services with EIKON Consulting Group LLC to design a new fire station on the west side of Northgate Drive across from Southeastern Freight. The council then approved a request to advertise for a construction manager-at-risk for the work to build the new fire station in September.


The current station No. 4 was built in 1968 and has not had any significant improvements made to it since that time. City staff previously said the move will give firefighters better access and a greater ability to serve the southern half of the city and its projected growth.


Following the Schulman’s announcement last month, City Manager Robby Hefton said construction on the development will likely start in December or January and the city is hoping to have the Blalock Park Fire Station moved to Northgate Drive sometime next year.


“The city is going to be the one responsible for demolishing the fire station and the old TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) building and the other structures (currently on the development site),” Hefton said. “We’re giving them a clean site to build on and we hope to be done with that this year.”


The council approved an economic development program agreement last month with Schulman’s owner Mark Schulman for the development. The agreement will provide a cash grant of 50 percent of the sales tax generated by the planned commercial development over a seven-year period. However, the agreement puts a $1.5 million cap on the cash grant, and the agreement expires once the seven-year period ends.


City staff said the commercial and retail center development is expected to bring around $25 million in capital investments to the location and generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual sales tax revenue for Sherman.