MIDLOTHIAN — In a unanimous vote during its meeting Tuesday night, the Midlothian City Council approved a professional services agreement with Dunkin Sims Stoffels Inc. to update the 2006 Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Master Plan, create a Community Park Master Plan and prepare and submit a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant.

The item was presented by Jim Berman, parks and recreation manager, who explained that to apply for the $500,000 outdoor recreation grant, the city must provide an updated master plan. The cost of the contracted projects is not to exceed $61,000. Funding for the contract will come from the 2007 bond issuance.

“It is necessary to perform all three tasks in concert in order to submit the state grant application. The plan has to be updated and submitted to Austin 60 days prior to grant application,” Berman said. “We have already filed a letter of retroactivity with the state so the purchase price that we had for that land (for the new community park) can be our match in the event that we do receive the grant.”

On street parking

Mike Adams, executive director of engineering, presented a request to allow on-street parking along George Hopper Road between South 14th Street and Farm-to-Market 663, which was part of the planned development ordinance allowing for on-street parking to count as on-site parking for commercial properties in the MidTowne development. The developer requested angled and parallel on-street parking on both the north and south side of George Hopper.

“The original ordinance provided on-street parking on George Hopper for commercial and retail with staff approval. Another request was for a reduction for the driving lanes on George Hopper from 12-foot on the exterior lanes to 10 ½-feet with an 11-foot continuous center turn lane. Right now they are all 12-foot lanes continuous across. Because this is a significant change from the concept plan, staff brought this before council because this is more of a policy decision versus staff making the determination,” Adams said.

MidTowne developer Monte Anderson and transportation planner Andrew Howard gave a visual presentation of outlining the concept and required changes along the roadway.

Numerous concerns were voiced by council members relating to safety considering the location between a high school and middle school and if the narrower traffic lanes would accommodate the width of school buses and growing congestion in the area.

After considerable discussion, Jason Kyle made a motion to allow on-street parking on the north side of George Hopper at this time and leave the south side as conceptual, which would require further action from council. The motion also directed staff to move forward with having the street marked with 10 ½-foot travel lanes and the median as depicted in the exhibit presented to the council. Council member Jamie Wickliffe seconded the motion, which passed 4-2 with council members Joe Frizzell and Hank Miller dissenting.

Annexation

In other business, the council granted a petition for voluntary annexation of 47.49 acres within the extraterritorial jurisdiction located about 253 feet north of Walnut Road and east of South Walnut Grove Road.

In a related item, the council unanimously approved extending the municipal boundary limits of the city due to the voluntary annexation.

Airport projects

Airport board president Paula Baucum presented an update on projects including the terminal renovation. She said the business plan update, a $100,000 study by TXDOT, expected to be completed in November, would create a list of capital projects for the next 10 years.

“We are seeing the airport transition from strictly general aviation with only pilots being out there to a place that’s really a community center of interest,” she said. “There is a lot of interest in aviation and what’s going on at the airport.”

Mayor Boyce Whatley delivered a proclamation declaring March as Legacy DeMolay Month.

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.