Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza in Old Town
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Please see the video below for a time lapse look at the progress from May 29 - Nov 14.
Old Town Burleson is experiencing a pronounced rebirth due to decades of investment and strong planning work. Starting more than 20 years ago with the Old Town Development and Preservation Plan, the City Council and City Staff have worked to install strategic improvements and make decisions that foster a vibrant and beneficial district.
In the years since that Plan was adopted, the City added hundreds of parking spaces in the railroad right‐of‐way, recruited destination restaurants, and invested in infrastructure and hardscaping on multiple occasions. All told, the City has invested more than $12,000,000 to support the re‐development of the district. This has helped leverage tens of millions of dollars of private investment in the district.
In 2015, the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) approached the City about conducting a legacy charrette in Old Town Burleson due to its unique position and success in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. City leaders met with nationally recognized planners and architects in Old Town to discuss projects that could build upon our success but also lay groundwork for a truly walkable, mixed‐use district. The professional presentation that includes concept drawings of the Old Town plaza and key development tracts.
Since the conclusion of the CNU legacy charrette, the City worked to complete an update to the Old Town Development Plan. The Plan guides the vision of future development of Old Town by implementing many ideas from the CNU charrette. The plan places an emphasis on a public plaza, and Old Town identity, safe and walkable rail crossings, higher education and expanded living opportunities.
The City has invested in many actions items since the plan was adopted in 2016. To date, more public parking has been completed on Bufford and N. Main Streets, construction is nearing completion on Renfro St. that will calm traffic and increase walkability, quiet zone crossings at rail intersections are underway, and the landmark Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza has broken ground.
The Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza is a TIF/4B funded investment in Old Town that will serve the residents of Burleson and visitors of Old Town for generations. The Plaza will become a formal gathering space for dozens of community events and festivals that have called Old Town home for years.
Among other site amenities, the new performance stage will be capable of hosting larger concerts than the City’s current mobile stage, as well as other forms of live performance. Other site amenities will include; public restrooms, shade pavilions, great lawn, children’s area with small play trolley, activity lawn with games, courtyard, movable tables and chairs.
The anticipated completion of the the Plaza is May 2020. More information and project renderings can be viewed below.
On Monday, May 20, 2019 City Council awarded a Construction Manager at Risk contract to Hill & Wilkinson for the construction of Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza in Old Town. Hill & Wilkinson has responded to the City’s request to begin as soon as possible and began construction on May 28, 2019.
The project will close the main City Hall parking lot. The public will utilize the parking lot to the West until construction is completed at which point the parking lot to the East will become Visitor parking and the parking lot to the West for employees. The number of ADA parking spaces available to the public is in excess to the required amount.
The public is encouraged to utilize one of two new parking lots in Old Town. In addition to the 107 recently constructed parking lots on Bufford St. and N. Main St., this phase of the project will add another 55 to offset 117 removed spaces for the plaza site. Another 21 parking spaces are planned to be added in the Warren St. right-of-way, making a total of 66 more parking spaces added to Old Town than exist before the project began.
Beginning July 1, the Utility Billing drive on the East side of City Hall will be closed permanently. Customers still have numerous options to pay their water bill:
• Pay by phone
• Pay online
• Mail in payment
• Night drop
• Walk in to Utility Billing
(Please contact Utility Billing at 817-426-9601 to set up a new payment type)
Learn more: www.burlesontx.com/229
Frequently Asked Questions
Where will the plaza be?
The plaza is set to be constructed on the area between the new building and City Hall framed by Warren St. and Wilson St.
What will be in the plaza?
Formal planning for the plaza design began in March of 2017. TBG Partners, the City’s contracted landscape architect, processed public input gathered via online surveys, on-site pop-up plaza events, a three-day design charrette and Facebook town hall events. The final design was presented to and approved by City Council on January 22, 2018. The design includes:
Great lawn consisting of real hybrid Bermuda grass
Shade pavilions with seating, ping pong and foosball tables
Permanent performance stage with lighting and audio/visual capabilities
Red 411 “Parlor Car” trolley backdrop and viewing platform
Children’s play area with small scale play trolley
Activity area for lawn games
ADA access to both trolley cars
Movable seating and tables
Will Ellison Street permanently closed?
Yes, Ellison Street, between Warren and Wilson streets will be permanently closed. Traffic flow further into Old Town through Ellison will be redirected to Bufford St. or Renfro St. The redesign of Ellison St. converts the area into a pedestrian promenade. Using removable bollards, the street can still be opened for emergencies, service, parades etc. The promenade has been designed in a way that would allow periodic or permanent vehicular traffic in the future, if needed.
How long will construction last?
Hill & Wilkinson is the City's Construction Manager at-Risk for the project. The allowed number of days for construction in the contract is 350, or May 2020. Hill & Wilkinson is incentivized to complete the project early.
Will we lose parking space?
When the project is complete, there will be a net gain of up to 66 parking spaces. In addition to the 107 spaces recently constructed on Bufford St. and N. Main St., this phase of the project will add another 55 to offset 117 removed spaces for the plaza site. Another 21 parking spaces are planned to be added in the Warren St. right-of-way, making a total of 66 more parking spaces added to Old Town than exist before the project began.
Will a parking garage be built?
A parking garage is not planned for this phase of the project. Although a parking garage could add somewhere around 300-350 parking spaces in Old Town, due to the extremely high cost to build it (in excess of $20,000/space), the City has chosen to first utilize more cost-effective spaces in right-of-ways and surface lots. A parking garage will remain a consideration in the future.
Will the number of handicapped accessible parking spaces be increased?
The City has studied the areas where handicapped accessible parking is needed. Per the guidelines put forth by the State of Texas, Old Town has a sufficient number of accessible parking spaces. However, further consideration will be taken to the amount and placement of future accessible parking spaces. Some considerations include grade (slope), width, and access to sidewalk.
Have you considered a valet service?
Several years ago, at the request of local business owners, the City contracted a service to valet cars in the parking lot to the West of City Hall as a pilot program. Unfortunately, due to a lack of participation, the service was not adopted long term. City staff continues to evaluate other options to help patrons shuttle around Old Town.
How will this project be funded?
The plaza project, additional parking, storm sewer extension and other streetscape improvements will be paid for with a combination of TIF funds and 4B funds.
What is a TIF fund?
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a tool local government uses to put the money made in a certain district back into that same district through new development. Tax increment can be used to publicly finance needed improvements to infrastructure and buildings within a designated area known as a reinvestment zone. The cost of improvements to the reinvestment zone is repaid by the future tax revenues of each taxing unit that levies taxes against the property. Each taxing unit can choose to dedicate all, a portion of, or none of the tax revenue gained as a result of improvements within the reinvestment zone.
What are 4B funds?
The sales and use tax for the city is 8.25%. The State of Texas receives 6.25% and the City receives 2% of this tax. The proceeds from the City's portion of this tax are used to support quality of life project and economic development. Specifically, .5% is governed by a private non-profit economic development corporation (established pursuant to Section 4B of the Texas Development Corporation Act of 1979). The sales tax authorized by Section 4B, provides cities with a wide range of uses. It is intended to give communities an opportunity to undertake projects that improve the quality of life for the community. Section 4B tax can be used to fund projects that are considered community development initiatives such as purchase of land, buildings, equipment and expenditures to improve facilities, parks and entertainment venues.
Will my taxes go up as a result of this project?
No, the project’s primary funding source is the TIF. The new value generated by this project will actually pay money back into the TIF for future development projects. The use of 4B funds used on the project are generated through sales tax.
What is going where ‘Wood Shopping Center’ is today?
Wood Shopping Center will be demolished as part of the plaza project. For the short term, the area will be used for construction staging, worker parking, etc. The City is evaluating the highest and best use for the property adjacent to the plaza and has recently release a formal "Request for Proposals" (RFP) as a means to select a developer. Please click the link below to view the "RFP".
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