Sherman is purchasing the land for its new fire station for $1 from the Sherman Economic Development Corp.


The SEDCO board of directors unanimously approved the sale of 7.7 acres of land on the east side of Northgate Drive to the city for $1. The purchased land will be the new home of the city’s Blalock Park Fire Station No. 4, which currently sits on the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417. The relocation of that fire station will allow Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille to build an entertainment and retail development at that corner.


“We’ve been working with the city over two years to move that fire station into Progress Park, which would be on the east side of Northgate Drive in (Progress) Park I,” SEDCO President John Plotnik said. “They have started the engineering now to move the fire station off the corner into Progress Park.”


In November, the Sherman City Council hired Crossland Construction Inc. of Prosper to serve as construction manager-at-risk for the planned relocation of the fire station. The council also awarded the contract for the construction of an extension to Northgate Drive that month to Vessels Construction. The extension of Northgate Drive is part of the design that was done for the West Travis Street extension. The extension of Travis Street on the west side of Hwy. 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.


Plotnik said the move to the west side of U.S. Highway 75 will be of benefit to Sherman Fire-Rescue firefighters.


“That’s something that the fire department has been wanting to do for some time because the growth to the west and the northwest of the city,” Plotnik said. “It also enhances the value of Progress Park in that there is a fire station now on the east side of (Hwy.) 75 should there be an (emergency) event.”


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.


In March of last year, the SEDCO board 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.


“The engineering is completed now and the road work extending Northgate Drive, which goes north, is now underway,” Plotnik said.


In October, 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 at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417. 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.


Following the Schulman’s announcement, City Manager Robby Hefton said construction on the development was likely start in December or January and the city is hoping to have the Blalock Park Fire Station moved to Northgate Drive sometime in 2018. Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said Wednesday the city is planning a ground breaking ceremony for the new fire station in the next few weeks.


“Construction is expected to begin by the end of the month, with a projected 10 month build time,” Strauch said via text message. “The hope is to have the new, state-of-the-art fire station open and operational by the end of 2018.”


The Sherman City Council approved an economic development program agreement with Schulman’s owner Mark Schulman for the development last year. 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.