By STEFAN MODRICH
With a tent providing a brief respite from the scorching afternoon sun, Missouri City mayor Yolanda Ford and a host of city officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first phase of a three-part beautification project Thursday at the intersection of Texas Parkway and Wrenway Drive.
The first phase cost $1 million and was funded by grants from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
City Manager Odis Jones said the enhancements will “exuberate the pride that people have along (the Texas Parkway) corridor.”
The project included enhancements on Texas Parkway going southbound to Turtle Creek, and on Cartwright Road from Murphy Road to Texas Parkway.
The next two phases will be completed over the next two years.
“It’s a first step of many steps to encourage viability and the next level of development and safety along this corridor,” Jones said. “This project in itself will help not only to improve the safety mechanisms that work within the medians, but also to act as a beautification, which helps to encourage more investment, and more importantly, higher values of real estate along the corridor.”
Jones said he planned to ask for city council’s support Tuesday with a measure proposing the city fund $503,000 worth of beautification and landscaping projects along Texas Parkway medians. The council meeting was held after press time.
Shashi Kumar, the city engineer and public works director, said the city council’s vision for the planting of several new trees along the median extends back to two years ago, and the total budget for the three phases is $2.5 million.
The city’s projected budget for all three phases breaks down as follows:
- $370,000 for design-related services
- $503,000 for phase two
- $1,600,000 for red carpet
- $27,000 for contingencies
Five additional monuments with digital reader signs that will display traffic and road closure alerts and city notices or events are the signature pieces of the second phase, which is already underway and scheduled to be completed next spring.
Construction on the third phase, the “Red Carpet Run,” as it is referred to in the city’s plan to extend the new landscaping to City Hall, will begin in 2021.
Between Missouri City Drive and Lexington Boulevard, the half-mile stretch will feature 12 new plazas, seven shade trees and 40 ornamental trees. A new sidewalk will also be installed, including at the aforementioned intersections with Texas Parkway and at the intersection of Texas Parkway and Kenforest Drive.
Kumar said the $1 million grant from TxDOT was limited for use only in the road medians, so it was used for the first phase.
He also said Jones and the city council have shown they are eager to improve the parts of the city that are in need of revitalization.
“Certainly anything you can do to attract mobility and people coming into the city will contribute to the economic development,” Kumar said. “I think that is one of the visions laid out by the city council.”