$6M Katy bond package would bring trails, building improvements

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

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For years, Katy leaders have wanted to connect residents throughout the community to downtown and fix buildings in need of repairs.

By: Morgan Theophil - Community Impact

Now, they are hoping Katy residents will support a $6 million bond package to help them do that.

Katy City Council members at a special meeting Feb. 12 voted unanimously to put a bond package on the May 1 ballot. Katy voters will also be electing two residents to fill City Council seats for wards A and B and will vote on 38 propositions related to changes in the city’s charter.

At the Feb. 12 meeting, City Administrator Byron Hebert broke down the package, which is divided into two propositions totaling $6 million. Proposition A costs $1.8 million and is focused on public safety projects, Hebert said.

If approved, the money would fund improvements to municipal public buildings, including the rehabilitation of Fire Station No. 1, Hebert said. That project is already in progress, he said, and the funds would reimburse the city.

The funds would also pay for a training tower for the fire department and the expansion of the city’s fleet maintenance facility, Hebert said.

The three projects would cost $1 million of the $1.8 million in Proposition A.

Council Member Rory Robertson said at the meeting he had recently toured the fleet maintenance facility and agreed it needs to be expanded.

“We need something where they can actually work on the larger vehicles, such as a fire truck, without having to work outdoors in the extreme elements,” he said.

Finally, $800,000 of the $1.8 million would go toward refurbishing existing police department facilities. Some interior areas of Katy’s police station are in “dire need of repair,” Hebert said.

Proposition B, which has a price tag of $4.2 million, is focused on parks. If approved, funds would go toward city park improvements, Hebert said, including the creation of a hike and bike trail system and the construction of a parks administration building.

Building a new parks administration facility would cost $200,000 of the $4.2 million, Hebert said. The city would either tear down and rebuild or repurpose the current building, Hebert said. Then, officials plan on building the new building at Katy City Park.

The biggest project that would come from the bond, Hebert said, would be a $4 million hike and bike trail system, something city leaders have talked about creating for years. Once complete, the trail system would provide a safe path from First Street to the ponds at Pitts Road.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work downtown; we really want to start getting this thing activated, and we really want to be able to have people have mobility to get up and down instead of using Avenue D,” Hebert said.

The trail would likely stretch about 3 miles from First Street to the ponds at Pitts Road, he said, though the total distance could be up to 5 miles because there are plans to extend the trail around the ponds. If approved, construction would likely begin during summer 2022, Hebert said, adding it should not have an effect on drainage.

Council Member Janet Corte said she was excited to see the hike and bike trail on the horizon since city leaders have discussed it for years.

“I think this is something that our residents have really been asking for,” she said. “Especially since COVID[-19], they want to be able to get outside more.”

Council Member Chris Harris said he, too, was glad to see the city moving forward with the project.

“This will be a great way to get everybody hiking and biking outdoors,” he said. “I look at this as something that’s great 20 years from now and for the next generation.”

City officials are planning for a tax rate of $0.44 per $100 of valuation, even with the bond package on the ballot, Hebert said.

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