League City City Council delays controversial bike trail

After pushback from residents, the City Council on Tuesday shot down a bike trail segment that would have cut through a golf course and been adjacent to a gated community.

With the goal of relocating the proposed segment away from the hazardous golf course and concerned neighbors, the council voted 6-2 to delay approving the segment and instructed city staff to find alternative trail segment locations within 90 days.

The segment the council voted down was part of the FM 518 Hike & Bike Trail, a $5.27 million Texas Department of Transportation-managed project. Federal grants would cover 80 percent of the entire trail project’s costs, and League City would pay 20 percent, according to a city memo.

The 3,700-foot segment would have run southwest from South Shore Boulevard along the north side of the Genco Canal to the Clear Creek Independent School District property line at 2425 E. Main St. It would gone through the South Shore Harbour Golf Club golf course and near the gated community along Fairway Pointe Drive, raising concerns from the golf club and neighbors.

Several Fairway Pointe residents voiced opposition at the meeting for the project. Many said the trail would create a safety concern because pedestrians could easily be hit by golf balls.

“I just have to believe there’s a better use for our money than building a safety hazard,” one resident said.

Others said the trail would reduce property values, increase traffic and create noise and pollution for residents who want to live in a quiet, clean neighborhood.

“With the lack of the consensus on this, it appears we’re trying to ram it down their throats, and I don’t think that’s the proper way to do this,” Mayor Pat Hallisey said.

The proposed segment would cost an estimated $390,975, of which League City would pay 20 percent. With the council’s vote, the city will likely have to fund the entirety of whatever alternative segment is approved, but the majority of the project is not compromised, City Manager John Baumgartner said.

In 2017 the City Council asked staff to work with residents and other stakeholders to find an alternative for the controversial segment. Still, the League City parks board in July recommended the City Council to approve the trail construction, including the Fairway Pointe segment.

In other business

In response to ever-increasing emergency calls, the City Council on Tuesday approved buying a sixth ambulance for $332,290.

Since 2013, emergency medical service calls have increased 10 percent. There’s been a 9 percent increase to medical transports and 3 percent increase to mutual aid calls, according to a city memo.

The city has five ambulances, three of which are “frontline” ambulances. The fourth is used during peak times, and the fifth is kept in reserve. The city needs four frontline ambulances to maintain response times of five to seven minutes, according to the city.

Throughout the year, League City EMS was unable to staff the peak-response ambulance for 58 days because of more than one ambulance needing maintenance at a time.

“This additional unit will allow EMS personnel to keep up with increasing demand without affecting our core mission of responding to, treating and transporting the sick and injured citizens of League City,” the memo reads.

The proposed 2019 budget includes hiring two paramedics to help run the new ambulance.
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.



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