A longtime employee of the city of Humble was appointed to be the new public works director at the Humble City Council meeting Aug. 8. Council members unanimously voted to appoint Assistant Director of Public Works Mark Arnold to replace former Public Works Director Barry Brock, who recently retired.

Arnold has worked for the city of Humble for 34 years and served as assistant director to Brock for 25 years. Arnold said it was bittersweet to be appointed to the position of his mentor.

“Him and I both applied for the [director] job 25 years ago, and it came down to Barry and I, and they selected Barry. It was about a month after I became Barry’s assistant that I realized council did me a favor,” Arnold said. “For 25 years he prepared me [for the job]. He’s been not only my mentor but my friend.”

Humble City Council also unanimously approved a development agreement with real estate company Jackson-Shaw—the developer of the Parc 59 industrial space—to fund improvements to Rankin Road.

The $800,000 Rankin improvement project will expand the road from two to four lanes between Hwy. 59 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and add a raised median, City Manager Jason Stuebe said. Jackson-Shaw offered to partner with the city because the road will increase access to its incoming Parc 59 development, he said.

Grant Pearson, vice president of development at Jackson-Shaw, said the company intends to break ground on the project in the next two weeks. Construction should take roughly six months, he said.

Meanwhile, the city of Humble is also moving further along in its larger Rankin expansion project, which will target the portion of the road east of the railroad tracks to Houston Avenue. The roughly $3.2 million project will expand the road from two to four lanes, improve drainage, replace the existing water line and install a pedestrian bridge across Garner Bayou, according to the agenda packet.

The design and engineering phase of the Rankin project is roughly 65% complete, and the city intends to put the project up to bid by spring 2020, Arnold said.