Beeville Main Street Program Manager Michelle Wright told the board that she wanted to plant eight-foot, dwarf crepe myrtles and other vegetation in the planter areas along the 100-300 blocks of North Washington.
When she was asked what kind of other plants she wanted, Wright said she intended to have a Main Street Design Committee determine that.
Wright also said she plans to have matching planters and benches installed along North Washington and in the area around the Depot Pavilion behind the stores on the west side of the 300 block of North Washington Street.
The intention is to have the pavilion area visually tie into North Washington.
“It’s ambitious,” said TIF board member Jim Crumrine. “I like it. And fixing up the depot area wouldn’t be bad either.”
Wright explained that she was working with the people at Zimmer Floral and Nursery to determine the best type of plants to put in the downtown area. The intention would be to have something blooming most of the year.
TIF Board Chairman Joe B. Montez asked City Street Superintendent Albert Bridge if it would be possible for the city to provide some of the compost mulch material it provides at the city equipment yard for the effort.
Bridge said he thought that could be done.
But Montez and TIF board member Dave Moore were interested in finding less expensive ways to provide trash receptacles, planters and benches for the downtown area.
Wright explained that the items she had found in catalogs were industrial quality and quite expensive. She agreed that it might be possible to reduce the costs by looking for alternative sources of those items.
Moore said it might be possible to find a local artisan who could build a dozen decorative metal planters and Montez said it may also be possible to enlist the aid of some of the trade students at Coastal Bend College for the project.
When Wright was asked about the makeup of the Main Street Design Committee she said she was still getting it organized. She said she had called upon local business owners Mark Parsons and Mary Aman to serve on the committee.
“Tell us what you can get for $10,000,” Crumrine asked Wright. Montez then recommended that the next TIF meeting agenda include an item that would allow the board to take formal action on the request.
“We really need to do this,” Montez said. He told fellow board members that he wants to see Beeville have “the best-looking little downtown area in South Texas.”
Crumrine then made the motion to approve the request for the $25,580 for the trees, plants and other materials and that was seconded by Moore. The board then approved the request without opposition.
Moore suggested that the planting of the trees and other vegetation may have to be delayed now because the hot part of the year was rapidly approaching. He said it would not be a good idea to put the plants in the ground now just to see them die in June and July.
The board discussed other improvements that they would like to make in the downtown area, including upgrading the paving on West Bowie, Hefferman and Cleveland streets.
City Manager Tom Ginter reminded the board that they had also recommended resurfacing the alley east of North Washington Street.
Montez recommended that the city rent a special “lay-down” machine like the one used to pave the walking trail at Poesta Creek Park.
City Street Superintendent Albert Bridge said it would cost about $4,000 to rent a machine like the one used on the park trail for two weeks. He said the machines could be rented on a weekly basis.
But he agreed that using the paving machine would provide a better result than using a road grader. That was the way the city resurfaced the 300 block of North St. Mary’s Street recently and Moore said he did not like the result of that job.
Bridge had estimated that it would cost the city just under $50,000 to repave the streets and the alley in the downtown area. He said the rental on the paver would add to that cost.
Montez and Crumrine said they would like to see the Beeville Economic Improvement Corporation help fund such a project, suggesting that it would be an excellent use of 4B sales tax funds.
Bridge agreed that using a paver would result in a better-looking project.
But he said a paver like the one used in the park could only pave a 10- to 12-foot path. Renting a larger machine could dramatically increase the cost.
Crumrine wanted to make a motion to provide up to $60,000 to spend on the paving project. But Montez said the board could not entertain a formal motion because the agenda did not call for action.
Montez said he would take Crumrine’s suggestion as a recommendation.
Board members also discussed the idea of providing public restrooms for the downtown area but Montez said public restrooms can be a problem.
“Even the state is getting away from public restrooms,” Montez said.
He and other board members recommended that the city continue providing portable restrooms for public functions in downtown, including the Depot Pavilion area.
Montez said he would also like to see the TIF board consider upgrading the sidewalks on the connecting downtown streets between North Washington and North St. Mary’s.