On the horizon for 2014

January 4, 2014

It’s a new year, and quite a few things will be fresh in Granbury and Hood County in 2014.

A new Emergency Operations Center (EOC), a new animal control building, a new tram for visitors to the Town Square, a new executive director for the Lake Granbury Economic Development Corporation and more.

Who knew?

Well, we all did, because these things were in the works during 2013.

But city and county officials say that we’ll be seeing some real action in 2014 – maybe even the start of construction on the long-awaited Cresson bypass. That’s what Precinct 2 Commissioner Dick Roan hopes, anyway.

With a renewed dedication to fitness being on the minds of many during this time of New Year’s resolutions, it is perhaps fitting that a dedication ceremony likely will take place sometime this month for the voter-approved recreation center. It will be early 2015 before its doors open to the public, but the project will now move forward after being delayed for all of 2013.

The $10 million facility was approved by 58 percent of voters during the November 2012 General Election, but no ground was broken last year because of legal technicalities. Those technicalities involved the land that was being donated to the county for the rec center by the Granbury school district.

That’s over now.

“We’re to the point where contracts seem to be in order and legally acceptable and ready to go,” said Roan.

Ground will likely be broken in early spring when the weather warms up, according to members of the Commissioners Court.

The new EOC, located near the Law Enforcement Center, is “ahead of schedule,” according to Roan, and the move-in will likely happen by March 1.

Up next in the queue will be the new Animal Control building, to be located on county-owned property on Highway 51. It is in County Commissioner Steve Berry’s precinct.

“By the last quarter of 2014, we should be opening the new Animal Control (building),” Berry said. “It will be between 9,000- and 9,500-square-feet, depending on the cost analysis.”

Commissioners should have the cost analysis within the next two weeks, he said.

Berry also reported that the EDC board was to select a winning candidate for the position of executive director from among two finalists. That decision was to be made yesterday, after the Hood County News went to press. Berry sits on that board.

The position has been vacant since former executive director Joey Grisham took a similar position in another town in mid-2013.

Granbury City Manager Wayne McKethan said that work will resume by the end of the month on the long-delayed fishing pier off Pearl Street.

The city was embroiled for several years in a lawsuit over what materials were to be used in that project. That lawsuit has been settled, and now the fishing pier will move forward.

McKethan said that “Phase II,” which will involve a floating boat dock on the north side of the fishing pier, will probably be part of the next budget cycle, for fiscal year 2014-2015.

Also delayed but now moving forward is the skatepark off Crossland Road near the soccer fields.

The Granbury City Council will be presented at its meeting Tuesday night with designs that were drawn after citizens gave their input.

McKethan said that the council will be shown a design that is within the previously set cost guidelines as well as designs that would be over budget.

“We’re recommending that they stay within budget right now and we’ll add more phases later,” McKethan said of city staff.

Plans for 2014 also include improvements and landscaping to the parking lot behind the newly renovated Opera House, the city manager said.

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