CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
LLANO — City leaders appear to be “in step” with Llano residents as they unveil a new downtown sidewalk project, ponder how to pay for street upgrades, and begin work on plans for pedestrian access along a highway with ties to downtown.
The latest completed work involves an overhaul of the near-century-old sidewalk in front of the historic Lantex Theater, 113 W. Main St.
“The Lantex is 90 years old this year, built in 1927. It’s never had an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) emergency ramp out back,” said Terry “Tex” Toler, Llano’s Main Street manager and historic preservation officer.
“Not only do we want to accommodate patrons who have ADA requirements, but it’s a safety issue and a respect issue for the patrons,” he added.
Crews renovated the sidewalk to mimic a historic limestone and rock salt texture in front of the facility (completed in December); upgraded ADA accommodations at two intersections; and installed a ramp in the rear of the facility (completed in January).
The work was paid for with a grant totaling approximately $150,000 through the Texas Department of Agriculture as well as a matching portion totaling about $50,000 from the city of Llano.
Also, officials will decide on whether to take on debt to upgrade and revamp city streets.
“One of the concerns the citizens have around here is the conditions of our roads, so what we’re considering is a general bond to address all the streets in the city,” City Manager Scott Edmonson said.
The issue and possible cost of the proposed bond issue is scheduled to be addressed at the Feb. 6 city council meeting.
In other road-related business, Llano city leaders are in the preliminary stages of working with the Texas Department of Transportation to launch a sidewalk project on RR 152, worth about $1.3 million.
The TxDOT Transportation Alternatives Grant will pay for construction covering about a mile stretch on the roadway.
Amenities include sidewalks and pedestrian trails to connect a number of city amenities, parks, and facilities to the downtown area.
“They’re going to construct a sidewalk from our John L. Kuykendall (Event) Center and tie it into the city. It also crosses a creek,” Edmonson said. “There will be a pedestrian bridge. It will do good to tie all that together.”
According to TxDOT, the work is expected to get underway in 2018.
“It allows a safe way for people to get out there,” Edmonson said. “(For) kids during the summer; and people do a lot of exercising now. That will provide them a safe way as well.”