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Marble Falls EDC approves grant for Downtown District projects

Pam's Pearls Home in Marble Falls

The stairs at Pam’s Pearls Home at 108 Main St. in downtown Marble Falls is one of nine locations due to receive safety railing with money from a grant approved by the Economic Development Corp. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors approved $78,000 in community leverage grant funding for the Marble Falls Downtown District during its regular meeting Wednesday, Sept. 7.

The recently approved application will help fund several projects in the city, including railing for downtown, the purchase of decorations for the city’s annual Christmas celebration, a lease on a robotic field marker for the city’s Parks and Recreations Department, and engineering services for “three-phase power” for a planned pedestrian bridge over Backbone Creek and string lighting downtown.

Each year, the Marble Falls EDC allocates $100,000 to different community leverage grant applicants for projects that enhance quality of life for residents and improve the well-being of the city.

Past projects include funding to support the hike-and-bike trail system, the soccer field expansion, an art project, and the College to Careers workforce development initiative.

Each item included within the application was discussed in detail during the meeting, starting with the addition of 400 feet of railing at nine downtown locations. Downtown District Manager Erin Burks spoke to the EDC board about the driving force behind the railing’s inclusion.

“It’s nine different projects,” she said. “They’re all addressing safety issues within the district.”

The EDC will contribute $28,000 to the project.

An additional $10,000 will be allocated for a lease on a field-marking robot for the Parks and Recreation Department. Currently, parks employees hand paint lines for recreational leagues such as youth soccer, softball, and flag football.

“Really, where we’re saving is man-hours,” said Recreational Director Lacey Dingman. “We can set this up, mow a field, set it up to stripe it, and be moving over to the next field while it’s striping right behind.”

Along with financing for the new railing, the grant also included an additional $20,000 for engineering services for string lighting across the Downtown District to increase evening visibility. The idea of string lighting has been kicked around internally by the city for some time, Burks said.

Another $15,500 of the grant was allocated for three-phase power engineering services for the Phase 1b pedestrian bridge over Backbone Creek. Three-phase brings more voltage capacity to the parks and will help with chillers at the annual holiday ice rink and other projects.

“When we did (phase) 1a, PEC wanted us to do three-phase over the lake into Johnson Park,” said Assistant City Manager Caleb Kraenzel. “We told them we didn’t want a wire over the water and that we’d like to do it through another means. They agreed verbally that we could defer it to a future phase like the pedestrian bridge.”

The final $4,500 of the grant will be assigned to purchase seasonal decorations such as garland and snow machines for the city’s annual Christmas celebration in downtown.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The EDC approved using Central Texas College’s Frank Fickett Center, 806 Steve Hawkins Parkway, as a new polling location for the mid-term elections Nov. 8. (See related story.)

nathan@thepicayune.com