Infrastructure upgrades approved for historic Pflugerville neighborhood

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$3.1M in improvements
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Infrastructure upgrades approved for historic Pflugerville neighborhood
Pflugerville’s historic Colored Addition subdivision is in line to receive approximately $3.1 million of improvements during the coming years.

A comprehensive report outlining the property across from Pflugerville High School on West Pecan Street was evaluated, and future land-use amendments were passed by Pflugerville City Council 7-0. Upgrades to infrastructure on the property, which includes houses, a church, cemeteries, vacant land and a day care, will be added to the capital improvement projects list for funding in future years.

“This has been a long time coming,” Pflugerville City Council Member Rudy Metayer said. “When this issue was brought up many, many years ago, [residents of the Pflugerville Colored Addition] had no one to talk to. And frankly, no one listened to what they had to say. What we are doing right now speaks volumes about Pflugerville.”

The Pflugerville Colored Addition was designated property for black workers in Travis County who worked in the Pflugerville cotton industry and the ice factory, according to the Texas State Historical Association. Black workers were not allowed to move into town.

The community, which included no more than six families at one time, built St. Mary’s Baptist Church in 1910 and St. Matthew’s Missionary Church a decade later.

St. Mary’s cemetery, located west of St. Mary’s church, was started for the burial of black and Mexican residents, according to the Texas State Historical Association.

Pflugerville Planning Director Emily Barron presented information about the current state of the property, which included eight different land uses, a water and drainage structure that failed to meet Texas Commission on Environmental Quality standards, and roadway and access problems.

Barron said funding could come through several different options, including the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the Economically Distressed Areas Program, tax increment reinvestment zone, public improvement districts and others, such as help from the Pflugerville Community Development Corp. She also stressed the figure of $3.1 million is an estimate.

With the amendment of the future land-use plan, the city will now move on toward funding options and add it to the capital improvement plan. The city is also researching other opportunities for historic designation. Currently there are two historic markers on the property for the Santa Maria Cemetery and St. Mary’s Baptist Church.

Future steps will include infrastructure improvements, park development and a new street that would bisect Pflugerville ISD property between Caldwells Lane and Swenson Farms Boulevard.

City leaders stressed the project will move forward over time.

“I’ve seen that area grow and develop and change,” said Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales, a lifelong resident of the city. “I would agree it is long overdue. Ask the residents, the neighbors, the church members and business owners to exercise a little patience. It does take a little while.”
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.