Leander City Council approves wish list for county roadway, parks funding

One week after Cedar Park considered what roadway and parks projects should gain consideration for county bond funding, Leander City Council finalized its own to-do list.

On April 18, the council approved three road construction projects and two proposed trail expansions to submit to Williamson County Commissioners Court in anticipation of a potential November bond election, which—if successful—could result in a reported $225 million to $250 million toward countywide projects.

"The county's made it pretty clear they're not going to be funding any projects 100 percent within a city. They're going to expect a city to match," Leander City Manager Kent Cagle told council.

City staff presented a handful of projects that took into account the size and scope as well as anticipated cost endured by both the city and the county. Leander cannot afford to take out bonds until 2015 at the earliest, Cagle said, making county support necessary to get any advance work done on some of Leander's most expensive road construction needs. The county intends on completing all bond-funded road projects within six years, he said, further igniting the sense of urgency to start preliminary engineering on the city's top projects.

Among the road projects proposed was a widening of West Old FM 2243 from Ronald Reagan Boulevard to the future Lakeline Boulevard extension. The total two-phase project would cost $26 million. Both that project and a $9 million Bagdad Road expansion from West Old FM 2243 to CR 280 gained council approval.

Council debated a third project to recommend to Williamson County. Leander staff originally proposed a $4 million improvement on CR 171 near Rouse High School. But after some discussion, Councilman David Siebold suggested the city instead pursue partial funding on a San Gabriel Parkway extension from South Gabriel Drive to Ronald Reagan Boulevard. While there was no exact price for the proposed project, it would roughly cost as much as the $9 million second phase of the West Old FM 2243 expansion, according to city staff.

"[CR 171 is] going to have to get done," Siebold said. "This other one [San Gabriel Parkway extension] is more of an opportunity to do something that might be tougher to do on its own."

By requesting assistance on a more expensive project that better connects the county, there is more upside for both sides, Siebold said. Other council members agreed, amending staff's recommendations to replace the CR 171 project with the proposed San Gabriel Parkway extension.

For parks projects, city staff proposed continuing the Bagdad Heritage Trail from Bledsoe Park south to Crystal Falls Parkway. The city would seek 80 percent support on the $900,000 proposed extension—a reasonable request, Cagle said, because the trail is already on the county's master parks plan. In addition, staff proposed extending the Toll 183A trail to the Capital Metro Park & Ride station and US 183. The project would cost $600,000 and would also potentially gain 80 percent county support.

By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.


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