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Marble Falls nears downtown parking fix

Downtown Marble Falls

A total 15 parking spaces could be added to downtown Marble Falls along Second Street. The proposed project would mean cutting down this hackberry tree and moving a popular U.S. Postal Service dropbox to another site. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Parking on Second Street could get a lot easier with changes under consideration by the Marble Falls Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board No. 1. However, more parking could mean cutting down a hackberry tree and moving a much-used U.S. Postal Service dropbox.

The board was unable to vote on any of the proposed changes at what was supposed to be a regular meeting on Tuesday, July 18, because not enough members attended. Of the nine members, only four were present. Five are needed for a quorum. 

“We need to take action on it, but we can’t today because we don’t have a quorum,” Downtown Manager Erin Burks said at the meeting.

Improvement plans include 15 additional parking spaces along Second Street between Main Street and Avenue H and new sidewalks on the south side of the street. There are currently nine spaces, with one designated as a handicapped parking spot.

“We want to keep that (handicapped parking) spot if we can,” said Allen Ross, president of Schaumburg & Polk Inc., the engineering firm designing the project.

Second Street would benefit from spaces at 60-degree angles as opposed to parallel parking used elsewhere downtown, Ross said.

“You can only gain so many parking spaces when you do parallel parking,” he said. “We have a little more depth here. Using angled parking maximizes the number of spaces we can use. Plus, angled parking is a little easier to negotiate.”

A hackberry tree on city property might need to be cut down to accommodate the planned improvements, Ross said.

“I know we’re in the part of Texas where any tree is a good tree, especially during this time of year, but I don’t think the tree can be salvaged if we’re going to execute this project,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. We don’t like to take down trees if we don’t have to. But, in this particular case, I don’t think there’s any way it can be salvaged.”

The project also calls for the relocation of a heavily used postal service dropbox.

“We’re going to try and find a new spot for it,” Burks said.

Another design element is light poles to boost nighttime visibility.

“It’s been suggested we may take some of the existing lighting standards that are on Main Street and relocate them to there. Or, we may end up putting in new standards altogether,” Ross said.

The project’s current budget is $263,000 plus about $44,000 set aside for contingencies. 

“We put numbers in there that we think are reasonable,” Ross said. “For the most part, we used (Texas Department of Transportation) unit prices. Those are usually pretty conservative.”

TIRZ Board No. 1 member Joe Don Dockery, who is also the Burnet County Precinct 4 commissioner, brought up the possibility of an interlocal agreement using city and county work crews to limit costs.

“You’re looking at $17,000 a space,” he said. “It’s really good if we can cut down the financial impact of that.”

Burks plans to call for a special meeting in the coming weeks to vote on the continuation of the project before the Aug. 22 regular meeting.

“We can get together and figure out what days work and then we’ll host the meeting,” she said.

If the parking project is approved, the engineering firm will do a 60-day final analysis before sending it to bid, Ross said. Once a contractor has been selected, construction should take about three to four months.

“If we can get this done prior to Spring Break or the summer (2024), we’ve hit exactly where we want to be calendar-wise,” Burks said.

1 thought on “Marble Falls nears downtown parking fix

  1. I find it hard to believe that they can’t build a parking area including the tree and mailboxes. With our Texas heat we need all the trees we have for shade.. I just hate to see trees cut down no matter what kind they are. And the mailboxes?? One reason they are used heavily is because our Post Office doesn’t have any drive up mailboxes which I’ve always found very strange. I hope they rethink this.

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