Liberty City Council on Tuesday, March 8, authorized a $65,000 economic development grant to RKR Restaurants, which intends to build a Wendy’s Restaurant in Liberty. The site being considered for the popular fast food chain restaurant is located at 1912 US 90, directly across from Whataburger and just east of Taco Bell.
On Feb. 15, the Liberty Economic Development Corporation directors voted unanimously to authorize the grant to RKR Restaurants. Council’s approval was the final step needed. However, grant funding will not go to the developer until the restaurant is in operation and certain conditions are met.
According to Liberty City Manager Tom Warner, the developer plans to invest $1 million on the building and $250,000 in furniture, fixtures and equipment. The restaurant is expected to hire roughly 30 full-time and part-time employees. The developer must also submit a landscaping plan and an exterior lighting plan with construction documents, and erect a fence or enclosure for dumpsters that will be used by the business. These construction documents must be approved by the City of Liberty.
Warner said the developer currently is working to secure soil and site surveys, which could take a couple of months. A start date for construction of the restaurant is unknown at this time.
Council also authorized $2.312 million in funding for more than five miles of street repairs. As needed, the street base will be repaired and then an asphalt overlay will be applied by the contractor, Vulcan Materials Asphalt and Construction, LLC. Funding for the repairs comes from the City’s Cambridge Fund, which comes from profits from the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency.
“We have a list of 32 streets throughout the city. These streets were selected based on need and the fact that we do not foresee any water or sanitary sewer work on them. There are a couple of streets that have minor waterline work that were included,” Warner said.
The Humphreys Cultural Center – home of the Liberty Municipal Library and The Valley Players – will soon undergo major renovations totaling $1.1 million. Funding for this project will come from two sources – the City’s Cambridge Fund and proceeds of a lawsuit between the City and the architect and contractors who performed work on an addition to the library more than a decade ago.
“We had issues with some of the work that was performed, which led to the lawsuit,” he said.
The new library project will involve reroofing the original portion of the Center, replacing skylights and roof drains, painting interior walls and installing new carpet, replacing loose bricks, and pressure-washing and sealing the exterior. The City has included a cushion in the budget to cover any contingencies that might arise during construction.
Brazos Commercial Roofing is the contractor for these renovations to the Center.
Two dilapidated structures are slated for demolition in the ongoing effort to rid Liberty of blighted properties. Slated for demolition are structures at 100 Carter St. and 604 Confederate St. The property owners have 30 days to demolish the structures or the City will have the structures demolished and place liens against the properties to cover the costs of demolition.
The owners of two other dilapidated structures that were slated for demolition – 1900 Kipling and 513 Palmer – have been given 30-day extensions to clean up their properties and provide engineered plans for the foundation, framing, HVAC and plumbing repairs they intend to make.
“We will take action if they don’t provide the engineered plans before the 30-day deadline,” Warner said.
Council also amended a 380 agreement that was authorized in May 2019 with Merrick Homes, LLC, for the development of eight residential lots on a four-acre tract on Holly Street. According to Warner, the City agreed to enlarge drainage lines and increase the size of waterlines to accommodate the eight homes. However, the developer now wants to make the homesites larger for only four homes. As the developer failed to meet the terms of the agreement, the City is placing $13,750 liens against each of the four homesites to cover the $55,000 that was spent to upsize the lines.
Warner said the developer has already sold most, if not all, of the lots, so the City will not have to wait long to be reimbursed. The liens will paid for by proceeds of the sale during closing.