Sherman is taking steps to secure land for the future expansion of FM 1417. As a part of these efforts, the City Council recently agreed to give the city manager the authority to “take all steps necessary” to acquire right-of-way rights for the project.

The expansion will be the second phase of widening along FM 1417, and stretch from State Highway 56 to West Travis Street. The first phase — which will extend from U.S. Highway 82 to SH 56 — is currently slated to begin some time next month.

“Construction will begin here soon on the north phase of 1417,” Assistant City Manager Clint Philpott said. “As it happens, we need to start looking at the next phase of this project.”

The project will see the roadway widened into a four-lane road, in what the city believes is becoming a major growth corridor in Sherman. In addition to the recent opening of Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille, and the upcoming opening of Sherman High School, developers have shown interest in building multiple planned developments along the corridor. This would bring a mixture of both retail and residential uses along the city’s south and western sides.

Among the things Monday’s action does is allow for the appointing of an appraiser and negotiator and allows City Manager Robby Hefton to set just compensation for the property rights the city acquires. In the event that negotiations are unsuccessful, the council has authorized Hefton to offer final offers and begin condemnation proceedings, if necessary.

“We try to work out issues with property owners first,” Hefton said. “This is only as a last resort when it can’t be worked out.”

“He and the city are far apart from what we believe the fair value of the property to be,” Strauch said.

“It is one of those things that happens,” Strauch said. “He thinks it is worth one thing, we think it is worth another and we will have an independent party determine who is right and who is wrong and go from there.”

While no specific properties were mentioned in Monday’s item, city staff said there have been some property owners who have been difficult to negotiate with.

Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said the item was primarily meant to resolve issues with a property owner who had unofficially made an agreement with the city, but backed out before it could be formalized.

During the council’s Feb. 3 meeting, the council was expected to approve a $210,000 agreement with Caladium Investments, LLC for about 0.60 acres of land near the intersection of SH 56 and FM 1417. However, the council moved to table the request at the request of the property owner.

“There is more discussion going on with that particular property, and the owner said they wanted to give it more time,” council member Shawn Teamann said at the time.

Strauch said he does not believe that these negotiations will prolong the project as the second phase is still two to three years out.

Ahead of the expected start of the project, the city has already begun to purchase pieces of land that will be needed for the upcoming phase. The purchases are being made utilizing funds that were allocated for other projects that came under budget.

Among these projects are several street improvements that are taking place near the new Sherman High School site. As an example, Strauch said the city had originally allocated nearly $2 million for the widening of Moore Street, but the winning bid came in about $600,000 under estimate.