City of Pampa Commissioners discuss downtown revitalization

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The City of Pampa Commissioners received an update on the downtown revitalization project on Monday afternoon during a regularly-scheduled meeting.

“It’s been a couple of years since we filed for a grant to help revitalize and beautify downtown,” Community Services Director Dustin Miller said. “It’s a grant many communities in the Texas Panhandle has received and this is the first year, even though we haven’t received official notification, on the website it says we have been awarded that grant.”

The total on the grant is $350,000 and engineering firm Parkhill worked up a rendering of the work the City has planned for the project.

“We envision downtown as Cuyler Street and Parkhill came and walked our downtown with us and prioritized sidewalks that are in worse condition than others,” D. Miller said. “From Foster/Cuyler to Russell/Cuyler, which would be from the old Moses building to just past the Coney. There is no curb, there is sidewalk but it has crumbled and (Coney Island Owner Brandon Richards) has contacted us several times about people falling because of the lack of a curb.”

Priority No. 2 is 100 block of Cuyler from Kingsmill to Foster on the east side of the street (Sparrow’s Nest and southward).

Parkhill suggested bump-outs on the corners (similar to Borger’s downtown).

“The reason they suggested this is it’s aesthetically pleasing, it looks nice,” D. Miller said. “It promotes foot-traffic and it slows down car-traffic. In the middle of Cuyler you see islands there.

“Those are the same thing but they are aesthetically pleasing, promote foot-traffic. Some downtowns have axed those islands and would rather have parking spaces.”

D. Miller said the design specification on the project should be approved by August with visible work starting in October.

“The grant itself is for sidewalks and rails,” D. Miller said. “It does not include any vegetation, trashcans, benches, etc. It will have conduits in the sidewalk for future electrical work for lamps.”

City Manager Shane Stokes said there are some variables that could allow more work to be done on sidewalks, but the City has to wait until the bids come in.

“Based on last year’s project [the engineers] bid out, they were really conservative with our estimate,” Stokes said. “They are anticipating about a 25 percent increase from last year.”

D. Miller also shared a potential rendering of what downtown Pampa could look like at the end of the completion.

Stokes added with the new Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone in place, the goal of the TIRZ is the potential for the revitalization.

During the public comment section of the meeting, Peggy Christine Duran Miller (speaking for herself and fellow resident Kelly Rathburn) spoke about a squatter near her residence.

“This past week I watched her break into a home,” C. Miller said. “The police officer told me to follow the chain of command but since I know what’s going on and [he] knows what’s going on and I’ve dealt with Connie Roth in the past, go to the commission and continue fighting this fight.”

C. Miller said the squatter even started a fire on a high wind day. C. Miller had several letters from other residents in the neighborhood to give to the Commission.

“She has done so much damage to the house,” C. Miller said. “We have mice/rats running all over the place. Cockroaches have invaded the neighborhood. Everyone in the neighborhood is really having some issues. I have several letters from neighbors that had to be at work or have different reasons to not be here today.”

Sacora Belknap also addressed the Commission about an issue she has had with Raymond Douglas properties.

“I have reported these lots numerous times, but nothing has been done,” Belknap said. “This is why I’m here today. On March 19, on a calm day (luckily), a power-line fell and caused a fire on a lot that was luckily mowed. It spread by the time the Fire Department got there across Douglas’ lot.”

Belknap speculated that had the fire got into his lot, the presumed high grass would have led to disaster with the fire.

Belknap said she has been told the reason for inaction is because the two lots are zoned commercial and residential, separately.

“A man that lives across the street from us (zoned commercial) gets notices when his grass is six to eight inches tall,” Belknap said. “What’s the difference between these two lots. They are both commercial, but one gets notices and the other doesn’t.”

The Commissioners also approved the following items:

• Minutes of the April 25, 2022, Regular Commission Meeting.

• Absence of Commissioner Fisher and Commissioner Searl from the April 25, 2022, Regular Commission Meeting.

• Amendment to Interlocal Cooperation Agreement for the Provision of Ambulance Services with Gray County and Hemphill County Hospital District for EMS services and authorizing the City Manager to execute Amendment. This is a similar item to what the Gray County Commissioners approved at their May 2 meeting.

• Authorizing the City Manager to enter into a two-year Lease Agreement with Top of Texas Motorcycle Training, LLC for use of the Parking Lot located at 12065 E. Frederic, commonly known as Recreation Park.

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