FROM: Tommy Sloan, Mayor, City of Coleman
October 20, 2022
On behalf of the City Council and the City of Coleman, I want to thank all of the businesses and residents of Coleman for helping make the revitalization of Coleman and the downtown area so successful to date. As part of the City’s commitment to improving the aesthetics and walkability of downtown, we wanted to update you about where we are on our sidewalk improvement program.
Our sidewalk improvement program was made possible when the city was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture – Downtown Revitalization Program for the installation of sidewalks, curb and gutter, ADA compliant ramps, and handrails. The program is focused exclusively on safe pedestrian-accessibility improvements. This grant required a match of $75,000 which was provided by the joint boards of the Coleman Economic Development Corporation and the Coleman Community Coalition, for a total project cost of $575,000.
The sidewalk grant enabled us to improve our dedicated downtown right-of-way on part of Commercial Avenue. This one hundred and twenty (120) foot wide right-of-way extends from the building fronts on each side of the street, and is an easement for the benefit of the public’s use, whether vehicular or pedestrian. The right-of-way area is not privately owned or operated by the business owners. Sidewalks may be used by businesses for things such as sidewalk sales, temporary signs, and awnings.
This grant enabled the city to provide much needed improvements for our residents and visitors. Handicap ramps and new concrete walkways will add a much-needed facelift and accessibility features to our downtown. This is the second round of grant-based sidewalk projects. The first project was completed in 2018. In totality, the city has obtained $900,000 in improvements with grant dollars. In the absence of these grant monies, there would be a large financial impact to the tax payers of this community. With each grant cycle, the city intends to extend the areas for improvements to other areas on Commercial and the rest of the downtown area.
Regrettably however, along with progress and improvements come growing pains. Taking out existing infrastructure and reinstalling new improvements is never an easy task, and certainly not a quick one. We did have some issues with a former contractor, but our current one is moving the project along, and playing catch-up in the process. We are striving to make the grant dollars go as far as possible in this downtown sidewalk improvement project, so replacing larger portions of sidewalk area at one time helps to maximize the use of the grant funds.
The city has tried to minimize disruption in front of businesses, but some inconvenience is inevitable. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our downtown business owners’ as we work to improve the area in front of their businesses. These businesses are vital to the continued success of Coleman. Thank you all for your support as we strive to improve Coleman for generations to come.