Pampa City Commissioners Discuss Downtown Revitalization

By John Lee | [email protected] | Twitter: @jcl1987

Pampa City Commissioners received an update on the downtown revitalization project on Monday afternoon during a regular meeting.

“It’s been a few years since we applied for a grant to help revitalize and beautify the downtown core,” said Community Services Manager Dustin Miller. “This is a grant that many communities in the Texas Panhandle have received and this is the first year, although we have not received official notification, on the website it says we have received this grant. “

The grant total is $350,000, and engineering firm Parkhill has produced a report of the work the City has planned for the project.

“We’re looking at downtown as Cuyler Street and Parkhill came and walked our downtown with us and prioritized sidewalks that are in worse shape than others,” Miller said. “From Foster/Cuyler to Russell/Cuyler, which would be from the old Moses building to just past the Coney. There is no sidewalk, there is a sidewalk but it has collapsed and (Coney Island owner Brandon Richards) has contacted us several times about people falling due to no sidewalk .

Priority #2 is Cuyler’s 100 block from Kingsmill to Foster on the east side of the street (Sparrow’s Nest and south).

Parkhill suggested bumps in the corners (similar to downtown Borger).

“The reason they suggested this is because it’s aesthetically pleasing, it looks good,” D. Miller said. “It promotes pedestrian traffic and it slows down car traffic. In the middle of Cuyler you see islands there.

“They are the same thing but they are aesthetic, promote foot traffic. Some city centers have destroyed these islands and would prefer to have parking spaces.

D. Miller said design specifications for the project are expected to be approved by August with visible work beginning in October.

“The grant itself is for sidewalks and rails,” Miller said. “It does not include any vegetation, garbage cans, benches, etc. It will have conduits in the sidewalk for future electrical work for the lamps.”

City Manager Shane Stokes said there are variables that could allow for more sidewalk work to be done, but the city needs to wait for bids to come in.

“Based on last year’s draft [the engineers] bidding, they were really careful with our estimate,” Stokes said. “They are forecasting an increase of about 25% over last year.”

D. Miller also shared a potential rendering of what downtown Pampas might look like upon completion.

Stokes added with the new tax increases reinvestment zone in place, the focus of the TIRZ is revitalization potential.

During the public comment section of the meeting, Peggy Christine Duran Miller (speaking for herself and fellow residentt Kelly Rathburn) spoke of a squatter near his residence.

“Last week I saw her break into a house,” C. Miller said. “The police officer told me to follow the chain of command, but since I know what is happening and [he] knows what’s going on and I’ve dealt with Connie Roth in the past, go to the commission and keep fighting this fight.

C. Miller said the squatter even started a fire on a windy day. C. Miller had several letters from other neighborhood residents to deliver to the Commission.

“She did so much damage to the house,” C. Miller said. “We have mice/rats running around. Cockroaches have invaded the neighborhood. Everyone in the neighborhood is really in trouble. I have several letters from neighbors who were supposed to be at work or who have different reasons not to be here today.

Sacora Belknap also came to the Commission about a problem she had with Raymond Douglas properties.

“I’ve reported these lots multiple times, but nothing has been done,” Belknap said. “That’s why I’m here today. On March 19, on a (thankfully) calm day, a power line fell and caused a fire on a fortunately mown lot. It spread the moment the fire department arrived at Douglas Field.

Belknap speculated that if the fire had entered his grounds, the alleged tall grasses would have led to disaster with the fire.

Belknap said he was told the reason for the inaction was that the two lots are zoned commercial and residential, separately.

“A man who lives across from us (commercial area) gets notices when his grass is six to eight inches high,” Belknap said. “What is the difference between these two batches. They are both commercial, but one receives reviews and the other does not.

The commissioners also approved the following points:

• Minutes of the ordinary meeting of the Commission of April 25, 2022.

• Absence of Commissioner Fisher and Commissioner Searl at the regular meeting of the Commission on April 25, 2022.

• Amendment to the inter-local cooperation agreement for the provision of ambulance services with Gray County and Hemphill County Hospital District for EMS services and authorizing the City Manager to execute the amendment. This is a similar article to what Gray County Commissioners approved at their May 2 meeting.

• Authorize the City Manager to enter into a two-year lease agreement with Top of Texas Motorcycle Training, LLC for the use of the parking lot located at 12065 E. Frederic, commonly known as a leisure park.

David H. Henry