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Lubbock City Council Approves Tim Cole Memorial Park, Postpones TxDOT Proposal

Cole Shooter, KFYO.com

At their meeting Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council considered naming a new Lubbock park, a proposal to take back some streets in the area from the State of Texas, and heard the quarterly report for the City’s utility company.

The lot in the southwest corner of 19th Street and University Avenue will be designated as the Tim Cole Memorial Park.

Cole, a military veteran, was wrongly convicted of raping a Texas Tech student in 1985. He died in prison of an asthma attack in 1999, and was granted the State of Texas’ first posthumous pardon from Governor Rick Perry in 2010.

A memorial to Cole in the park location was approved in 2012, and paid for by the law firm of Glasheen, Valles, and Inderman.

District 5 Councilwoman Karen Gibson voiced concern regarding parking in the area, and Parks and Recreation Director Randy Truesdell said that the City would discuss the possibility of sharing parking with a nearby hotel. Truesdell said that they would report back to the Council at a later date regarding parking.

Cory Session, Tim Cole’s brother, tearfully discussed the item during citizen comments.

“I still believe in the City of Lubbock,” said Session. “You have restored something in our family, and we are eternally grateful for your kindness to set up a small area to recognize a man who once came this way, who believed in others.”

The Council approved the park 6-0, with District 2 Councilman Floyd Price absent.

The Council also considered a resolution for a proposal to TxDOT where the City of Lubbock would accept transfer of particular streets and maintenance from the State of Texas.

The roadway transfer is part of the proposed Lubbock Urban Street Turn Back Program.

According to the City of Lubbock, TxDOT has contacted cities with a population of more than 50,000, informing them that TxDOT intends to consider transferring all maintenance and jurisdiction of certain state highways back to the cities in which they are located.

This resolution is only a proposal from the City of Lubbock to the Texas Transportation Commission, and would not be enacted until approved by the TTC.

“I decided that, as mayor of Lubbock, that I feel like it is in our best interest – our taxpayers’ best interest to negotiate the best deal that we could as early as possible, because it is my opinion, and that’s all it is, that this is going to happen eventually regardless,” said Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson.

The proposed program will include currently scheduled work by TxDOT on a portion of the roadways in 2014 for an estimated total value of $3.48 million. TxDOT would also provide an in-kind maintenance to some Lubbock streets valued at around $6.27 million through 2019.

“I will tell you, we are the first city in the State of Texas to be looking at this,” said Robertson. “I see nothing but upside for the City of Lubbock.”

The 42 miles of streets that would be affected include:

  • Slide Road from S. Loop 289 to Farm-to-Market 1585
  • Avenue Q from N. I-27 to S. I-27
  • 19th Street from Marsha Sharp Freeway to East Loop 289
  • West 19th Street from W. Loop 289 to Marsha Sharp Freeway
  • East 50th Street from I-27 to Spur 331
  • Fourth Street from Research Blvd. to MSF
  • Research Blvd. from W. 19th Street to Fourth Street
  • E. Fourth Street from 19th Street to E. Loop 289
  • Southeast Drive from 50th Street to SE Loop 289
  • N. University Avenue from Clovis Road to Regis
  • Frankford Avenue from Loop 289 to US 84
  • Clovis Road from MSF to NW Loop 289

Loop 289, the Marsha Sharp Freeway, and Interstate 27 would not be affected as part of this proposal, and will remain with the State of Texas.

The Council chose to postpone the vote until the next Council meeting to allow the City Council to work with legal staff on the language of the proposal.

The Council also postponed consideration of a power purchase agreement between Texas Tech and Lubbock Power & Light in order to look at other options.

Andy Burcham, Lubbock Power and Light’s Chief Financial Officer, presented the utility’s quarterly report to the Council.

LP&L is right in the middle of an audit, so financial information for the utility will be presented at a later date.

Currently, LP&L is working on redesigning their monthly statements and redesigning their website to make them more user-friendly for their customers. They hope to launch the improved website in April of 2014.

The utility also plans to have infographics on their website to help customers better understand their monthly statements as well.

LP&L is also working on a new outage management system called “PowerON,” which is a voice or touchtone system, which can identify general outage areas. Users can also request a callback or text from the utility as well. No word yet on when the new outage management system will be installed.

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