League City City Council on March 22 voted unanimously to remove the street from the Texas Department of Transportation's list of city-supported roadways for TxDOT's median improvement project.
About a year ago, TxDOT told League City officials it would be overlaying Main with new asphalt from just east of I-45 to just west of FM 270.
At the same time, TxDOT said it could install medians in place of Main's shared center turn lanes at no cost to the city; TxDOT had enough money to do the asphalt overlay and install medians along Main and landscape existing medians on several other roads without charging League City anything, David Hoover, director of planning and development, said at the time.
City officials pushed for the project to happen, noting that Main Street businesses have suffered over the past several years because the area has stagnated. By "beautifying" Main with medians, officials had hoped to breathe new life the area and draw in new businesses and customers.
However, existing business owners along Main voiced opposition to the idea. They claimed installing medians would make it harder for customers to reach their businesses and that their businesses would suffer as a result.
Officials established a committee to examine this issue further, and the committee came to the conclusion to nix the medians plan. As a result, League City City Council had to vote to officially remove Main from TxDOT's list.
Council Member Larry Millican said he was disappointed to learn the city could not use some of the money TxDOT was offering on beautification projects.
"I was disheartened [at] the fact we couldn’t use that money and do something to Main Street," he said.
However, Millican noted TxDOT's job is to move people in vehicles, and the beautification option was tied to that goal. Millican said Main has vacant businesses, and no one can expect the area to improve if nothing is done to revitalize it.
"I’m disappointed, but I don’t see anything changing, personally," he said.
Council Member Hank Dugie said next time a radical change is proposed, the city should involve stakeholders earlier in the process.
Council Member Nick Long pointed out that just because residents own businesses on Main does not mean they necessarily get to have the final say on what happens to the road. Main belongs to all League City residents, Long said. Friendswood revitalized part of its downtown by installing medians, and it could work in League City, too, he said.
"I think we’re missing a little bit of an opportunity," Long said.