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The original item was published from 5/29/2019 11:45:00 AM to 7/1/2020 12:00:07 AM.

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City Updates

Posted on: May 29, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Construction starts for Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza in Old Town

Parking lot closedBeginning Wednesday, May 29, the main city hall parking lot, 141 W Renfro St, will be closed along with a portion of Ellison Street from South Warren to South Wilson Streets as construction begins for Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza in Old Town.

Visitor parking for city hall will be in the west parking lot until construction is complete. After the opening of the Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza, visitor parking will be moved to the east side of City Hall. The required number of ADA parking spaces will still be available to the public. Staff is looking at options to expand the number beyond the requirement temporarily during construction.

The public is encouraged to utilize one of two new parking lots in Old Town. In addition to the 107 recently constructed parking lots on Bufford St. and N. Main St., this phase of the project will add another 55 to offset 117 removed spaces for the plaza site. Another 21 parking spaces are planned to be added in the Warren St. right-of-way, making a total of 66 more parking spaces added to Old Town than exist before the project began.

The total duration of the project is just under one year.

Beginning July 1, the Utility Billing drive on the East side of City Hall will be closed permanently. Customers still have numerous options to pay their water bill:

  • Pay by phone
  • Pay online
  • Mail in payment
  • Night drop
  • Auto-draft
  • Walk in to Utility Billing

(Please contact Utility Billing at 817-426-9601 to set up a new payment type)

Weekly project updates can be viewed online or via the City’s E-Newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter.

Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza in Old Town Frequently Asked Questions

Where will Hot Sounds of Summer be this year?
This year Hot Sounds of Summer will be relocated to the public parking lot just West of City Hall.  The free concerts will begin at 7:30pm each evening.


Where will the plaza be?
The plaza is set to be constructed on the area between the new building and City Hall framed by Warren St. and Wilson St.

What will be in the plaza?
Formal planning for the plaza design began in March of 2017.  Processing public input gathered via online surveys, on-site pop-up plaza events, a three-day design charrette and Facebook town hall events, TBG Partners, the City’s contracted landscape architect, a final design was presented and approved by City Council on January 22, 2018.  The design includes:

  • Great lawn consisting of real hybrid Bermuda grass
  • Shade pavilions with seating, ping pong and foosball
  • Permanent performance stage with lighting and audio/visual capabilities
  • Red 411 “Parlor Car” trolley backdrop and viewing platform
  • Children’s play area with small scale play trolley
  • Activity area for lawn games
  • Courtyard
  • Public restrooms
  • ADA access to both trolley cars
  • Movable seating and tables

Will Ellison Street permanently closed?
Yes, Ellison Street, between Warren and Wilson streets will be permanently closed.  Traffic flow further into Old Town through Ellison will be redirected to Bufford or Renfro.  The redesign of Ellison St. converts the area into a pedestrian promenade.  Using removable bollards, the street can still be opened for emergencies, service, parades etc.  The promenade has been designed in a way that would allow periodic or permanent vehicular traffic in the future, if needed.

How long will construction last?
Hill & Wilkinson is the City's Construction Manager at-Risk for the project.  The allowed number of days for construction in the contract is 350.  Hill & Wilkinson is incentivized to complete the project early. 


Will we lose parking space? 
When the project is complete, there will be a net gain of up to 66 parking spaces. In addition to the 107 spaces recently constructed on Bufford St. and N. Main St., this phase of the project will add another 55 to offset 117 removed spaces for the plaza site.  Another 21 parking spaces are planned to be added in the Warren St. right-of-way, making a total of 66 more parking spaces added to Old Town than exist before the project began.

Will a parking garage be built?
A parking garage is not planned for this phase of the project. Although a parking garage could add somewhere around 300-350 parking spaces in Old Town, due to the extremely high cost to build it (in excess of $20,000/space), the City has chosen to first utilize more cost-effective spaces in right-of-ways and lots.  A parking garage will remain a consideration in the future.

Will the number of handicapped accessible parking spaces be increased?
The City has studied the areas where handicapped accessible parking is needed.  Per the guidelines put forth by the State of Texas, Old Town has a sufficient number of accessible parking spaces.  However, further consideration will be taken to the amount and placement of future accessible parking spaces.  Some considerations include grade (slope), width, and access to sidewalk.
Have you considered a valet service?
Several years ago, at the request of local business owners, the City contracted a service to valet cars in the parking lot to the West of City Hall as a pilot program.  Unfortunately, due to a lack of participation, the service was not adopted long term.  City staff continues to evaluate other options to help patrons shuttle around Old Town.

Burleson Plaza Rendering_2018-09-14


How will this project be funded?
The plaza project, additional parking, storm sewer extension and other streetscape improvements will be paid for with a combination of TIF funds and 4B funds. 

What is a TIF fund?
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a tool local government uses to put the money made in a certain district back into that same district through new development. Tax increment can be used to publicly finance needed improvements to infrastructure and buildings within a designated area known as a reinvestment zone. The cost of improvements to the reinvestment zone is repaid by the future tax revenues of each taxing unit that levies taxes against the property. Each taxing unit can choose to dedicate all, a portion of, or none of the tax revenue gained as a result of improvements within the reinvestment zone.

What are 4B funds?
The sales and use tax for the city is 8.25%. The State of Texas receives 6.25% and the City receives 2% of this tax. The proceeds from the City's portion of this tax are used to support quality of life project and economic development. Specifically, .5% is governed by a private non-profit economic development corporation (established pursuant to Section 4A of the Texas Development Corporation Act of 1979).  The sales tax authorized by Section 4B, provides cities with a wide range of uses. It is intended to give communities an opportunity to undertake projects that improve the quality of life for the community. Section 4B tax can be used to fund projects that are considered community development initiatives such as purchase of land, buildings, equipment and expenditures to improve facilities, parks and entertainment venues. 

Will my taxes go up as a result of this project?
No, the project’s primary funding source will be the TIF. The new value generated by this project will actually pay money back into the TIF for future development projects.  The use of 4B funds used on the project are generated through sales tax.

Future Development

What is going where ‘Wood Shopping Center’ is today?

Wood Shopping Center will be demolished as part of the plaza project.  For the short term, the area will be used for construction staging, worker parking, etc.  The City is evaluating the highest and best use for the property adjacent to the plaza and will issue a Request for Proposals as a means to select a developer.

Learn more about Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza
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