Reading area donation
The Bellaire City Council unanimously approved a $70,000 donation that will go toward paying for amenities to create a reading and interactive educational area adjacent to the Bellaire City Library.
Donated by Patrons for Bellaire Parks—a nonprofit founded by Bellaire residents to raise funds for parkland acquisition, for maintenance and upgrades to existing parks, and to enhance Bellaire’s community spirit and quality of life—the funding will join $4,000 already approved in January by another resident-run organization, Friends of the Bellaire Library, to be used for play features in the area.
“We hope you will join us in recognizing this positive impact it will make on our community, for our children, our families, seniors, and all who live here,” said Julie McNee, president of Patrons for Bellaire Parks, during the meeting.
The new reading area will be situated at 5119 Jessamine St., just west of the Bellaire City Library, which the city purchased in 2012 for future expansion of the library. The interactive educational area is planned for a small location behind the library currently being used for library activities and events, according to the Oct. 18 agenda report.
While the interactive educational area will be supervised and only be available to children during the hours the library is open, the reading area will be available to the general public.
The funding will pay for a variety of amenities, including panorama shade structures, picnic tables, chess and checker tables, benches, outside Wi-Fi access, and story walk stands. It will also fund a 4-foot-high black tubular fence that will be erected at the front of the property along with landscaping to enhance the aesthetics of the property.
According to Karl Miller, the city’s director of parks, recreation, and facilities, the amenities will be easily removable and can be used in another park in the future if the city later opts to expand the library.
Support on the council for the outdoor spaces was widespread with council members thanking Patrons for Bellaire Parks for the work it did to gather donations and draw up a conceptual plan.
“The idea that we’re taking advantage of that opportunity without foreclosing the possibility of future expansion on that same site is just a great use of that space, and so I join in expressing thanks,” Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg said.
At a future meeting, Bellaire city staff will return to the council with a proposed ordinance for the creation of rules for the vacant property at 5119 Jessamine St. Those rules will be similar to various park rules that are in place for other parks, Miller said.
Water and wastewater repair agreement
Approved unanimously as part of the council’s consent agenda, Bellaire will once again contract with Houston-based Reliance Construction Services LLP for on-call water and wastewater utility repair services.
At a not-to-exceed cost of $350,000 and coming out of both the city’s Utilities Capital Improvement Program and the Public Works Department Utilities Operations budget, the approved agreement with the contractor is designed to provide additional investment in Bellaire’s water and wastewater infrastructure to maximize its useful life, according to an Oct. 18 agenda report.
The contractor will be on call to address specific issues that can normally be handled by the city’s public works utilities team. The contract also covers deteriorating sanitary sewer manholes, misaligned and sagging sanitary sewer lines, and deep and/or large diameter water line slow leaks.
Leading up to the contract approval, the city went out for a request for proposals for the contract—which was advertised publicly—and city staff also reached out directly to five previous contractors for the work. On Sept. 15, only one proposal was received, a proposal from Reliance Construction Services.