City goes out to bid on East Walnut Ave. sidewalk project three years after it was first proposed
By Crystal Havner
Reporting for The Sun-Gazette
FARMERSVILLE – In 2017, the City of Farmersville applied for funding to create a buffer between students walking to and from the high school and an elementary school and cars traveling 50 mph down a major road.
Now three years later, after three different funding sources and several different plans, the City is ready to go out to bid on the project. On Oct. 14, the Farmersville City Council authorized staff to go out to bid on the East Walnut Avenue Improvement Project. The project will add sidewalks, curbs and gutters and pave the way for a future bicycle lane along Walnut Avenue at the northern edge of the city’s sports park.
The new stretch of sidewalk will connect the existing sidewalks at Jack in the Box at the corner of Farmersville Boulevard to Freedom Drive across from the high school campus. The city is unable to mirror the project on the north side of Walnut Avenue because it is outside of the city limits. The $608,000 project was funded on June 27 with State transportation funding.
The funding includes $25,762.03 for planning and design documents and $33,511.08 for actual construction. The funds were secured by TCAG from the State of California’s Local Transportation Fund, derived from a quarter-cent tax on general sales collected statewide. The project also needed the required Division of State Architect approval and that was received on Sept. 23. The City hopes to open the project to bids on Nov. 14.
The perimeter of the northern half of the sports park has already been graded in preparation for another project to plant trees along the exterior of the park to provide shade for families using the portion of land that is slated for baseball and softball fields as well as a concession stand.
The trees and plantings will be funded with $290,000 from CalFire’s Urban Forestry Grant awarded to the city in the summer of 2016. The estimated cost of the project is $144,000.
The southern portion of the park opened on Nov. 4, 2016 when the city held a ribbon cutting for its “Farmersville Canal Parkway and Park Development.” The seven-acre section of the park was planted with 200 trees and 1,000 shrubs, built a half-mile walking trail with a bridge over the canal, added three picnic tables and benches, installed 5 acres of grass for two-full size soccer or football fields and a bioswale to collect rainwater and educate the public about drought landscaping and the area’s cultural and natural history.
Gomez said many students cut through the sports park to get to Farmersville High School but still have to cross Freedom Elementary during busy, morning drop-off traffic. In order to provide a safe crossing for students, Gomez said the city has talked about installing a raised crosswalk that will not only be more visible but force traffic to slow even further on Freedom Drive.