Dayton City Council approves gateway design for The Crossroads

New gateway structures for the north and south entrances to The Crossroads Plaza on Church Street were approved by Dayton City Council at the Dec. 16 regular monthly meeting. The City will pay $24,000 to Cleveland Supply Company for the construction and installation of the two gateways.

Both entrances will feature 6-inch by 6-inch steel posts set in concrete with brick columns. Each gate section will be 14-feet wide and have a black powder-coat finish. In the metal archway that spans Church Street, there will be a star set in the center in keeping with Dayton’s star theme, which is seen on concrete stars in front of businesses and homes throughout the city.

The south gateway, which borders US 90, will be a barrier for through-traffic with no gate. The north side structure, which will have a gate, will be placed at the intersection of Cook and Church streets.

The gateway structures are part of the City of Dayton’s continuing plans to beautify and improve The Crossroads Plaza, where Food Truck Fridays and Dayton’s Treat Street are held. In recent weeks, the street closing has prompted protests from supporters of Aaron’s Tire Shop, which until the closing had entrances from Church St. and US 90.

At the Dec. 16 meeting, Dayton resident David Nazat signed up for public comments and hoped to hear from council about any plans to reopen Church St.

“When are you going to reopen Church Street?” Nazat asked. “It’s caused a mess for the tire shop.”

Nazat said the street closing is negatively impacting the business and makes it more challenging for trailers to be pulled onto the property for tire service. Nazat was told by City Attorney Brandon Davis that Council could not respond to public comments and suggested that Nazat talk to City Manager Theo Melancon about the steps it takes to be placed on a future meeting agenda.

An ordinance creating a downtown tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) was also approved by Council. The zone (see attached map) is roughly 160 acres that has a current taxable value of $44.8 million to the City of Dayton.

This map shows the boundaries of the Downtown Dayton TIRZ (tax increment reinvestment zone).

“Some of the land within that area is publicly owned and some of it is owned by tax-exempt non-profits and churches,” said Travis James with TXP of Austin. James is working with the City on the creation of the zone and previously assisted with the Gulf Inland Park TIRZ, which was approved by Council last year.

James explained that there are seven steps in the creation of a TIRZ: 1. Create a preliminary project and finance plan; 2. Run notices of the TIRZ creation in the newspaper of record; 3. Hold a public hearing; 4. Council approves the ordinance; 5. Create a final project and finance plan; 6. Have the ordinance approved by a TIRZ board that is approved by Council; and 7. Have the final ordinance approved by Council.

Council approved Steps 4 and 5 during the Dec. 16 meeting. The TIRZ allows a portion of property taxes collected within the TIRZ boundaries to be set aside for infrastructure and maintenance costs associated with developing Downtown Dayton. James estimated that an additional $3 million of new taxable development will be added every year within the TIRZ.

“If the property tax rate goes up or down, it applies to the TIRZ as well,” James said.

The TIRZ has a 25-year lifespan that will expire on Dec. 31, 2044.

Council appointed Arlene Langham as chairperson of TIRZ Board No. 1, which oversees the Gulf Inland TIRZ and reappointed Terry Boyett and Leslie Krupka as board members. All finished one-year terms and have agreed to a second two-year term. As the TIRZ board is well-functioning, Council agreed to have the same board oversee the downtown TIRZ.

As Dayton continues to grow so does the demand on its Internet capabilities, so Council approved a $14 million municipal bond to design, construct, acquire, renovate, enlarge and install a fiber optic cable system.

With growth also comes a strain on mobility, which is being furthered hampered by oversized loads moving through Dayton, particularly during the peak hours for traffic. To stop some of the slowdowns, Council okayed an ordinance that prohibits oversized loads from being moved through Dayton between the hours of 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The ordinance also prohibits non-permitted oversized loads – described as 17 feet in height and 14 feet in width. The permits must be obtained from the City of Dayton within 48 hours of the load being transported.

The creation of a new municipal utility district was approved by Council. MUD #8, located on the southernmost part of the city next to the industrial canal near the Chambers County line, will help Rail Logix recoup some of the money it is investing for water, sewer, retention ponds and fire prevention. Currently, the City’s water systems end four miles from the Rail Logix property. Taxes collected by the MUD will be paid by businesses that purchase properties within the Rail Logix industrial development. Residents outside that area will not be impacted.

After approving a bid for ambulance service with Allegiance EMS last month, Council approved the final contract that includes a $75,000 annual payment to Allegiance. Of that, $30,000 is being paid back to the City to lease space for ambulance bays and offices. The city attorney explained that the contract is for three years and has an automatic renewal. The contract is for one staffed ambulance and one standby ambulance within the City of Dayton, around-the-clock 365 days a year, to respond to emergencies. Davis said that mutual aid is allowed should both ambulances get called out simultaneously, but mutual aid calls can only be up to 10 percent of all calls within a three-month period. Allegiance is tasked with reaching out to other EMS providers in the area who are willing to provide mutual aid and they must be approved by the city manager.

In other business, Council heard from Susan Simmons and Alan Conner with the Dayton Enhancement Committee. They asked Council to approve new board members – Ken Davis, Kathleen Arnold and Tammie Alexander – and to change the committee from 11 to 9 members.

Simmons and Conner, on behalf of the committee, also asked the City to support efforts to have State Highway 146 renamed the John Otto Parkway, named for the state representative from Dayton who served from 2005 to 2017.  Davis told Council that he had unsuccessfully attempted to communicate with officials with the Texas Department of Transportation about what the highway renaming would entail, so Council agreed to postpone the renaming plan until TxDOT officials can offer input.

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