“The progress hasn’t changed,” Mayor Pro Tem Travis Ussery said with a smile to the group of 50 or so residents who attended a town hall meeting on Thursday night. The “progress” that the Mayor Pro Tem was referring to is mass transit, or the lack thereof, coming to McKinney.
McKinney’s historic homeowner’s association, displaying a sign reading “It’s All Good in the Hood,” invited Mayor Brian Loughmiller and the Mayor Pro Tem to preside at a town hall meeting. The two answered questions from residents regarding the state of the city.
Ussery further explained that the cost to bring DART to McKinney would be approximately $70 to $80 million per mile. He said he can’t justify that kind of expense.
Loughmiller said that citizens would have to vote to reallocate the one cent of our sales tax into the DART system. That one cent of sales tax is now decided evenly between the McKinney Economic Development Corp. and the McKinney Community Development Corp. The Mayor said the city takes in about $19 million a year as a result of the tax and would have to collect $800 million on average to become part of the DART system. Both men said that it would take 30 to 40 years to accumulate the required revenue to bring DART to McKinney.
Loughmiller said, “Although rail is a redevelopment tool, it’s cost prohibitive.”
The Aquatic Center
McKinney Community Dev. Corp. (MCDC) is currently set to start discussions with an architect. Construction on the aquatic center, which will be located in Gabe Nesbit Park off Eldorado Parkway, should begin next year with the goal of opening the center in mid 2016.
The Town Center Project
The Town Center Project is an initiative to revitalize the downtown area. Loughmiller said there is no exact timeline for the development, which includes the nine acres where the former courthouse previously stood, to begin. The city is continuing to look at plans, however, both Loughmiller and Ussery said there is “no intention” to bring a Walmart to any of the city owned locations. Previously, council was entertaining plans from InTown Homes and Zenstar, but Zenstar is no longer under consideration Mayor Loughmiller said.
“The nine acres where the courthouse sat was never intended to be a park. That land is too valuable,” Loughmiller said.
The city is also strongly considering the option of building Chestnut St. which runs north and south and currently ends at Chestnut Square, through to Davis St.
Construction on U.S. 75
Loughmiller said the construction project on the U.S. 75 corridor is a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) project. TxDOT has contracted with multiple companies to complete the project. Talks with TxDot to address a variety of concerns with the project have been successful the Mayor said.
The Gateway hotel and conference center project, located at the northeast corner of U.S. 75 and the Sam Rayburn Tollway, has begun remediation. The developer is in the process of tearing up part of the slab as the new project is smaller than the initial project. The hotel will encompass only 12 acres of the 90 available acres in the area.
Loughmiller said that council will be hearing from two developers who will present plans for the entire acreage during council work session on Jan. 27. He did say that council is looking for something other than automotive to be located within the area ad that council is looking at mixed use plans.
Council will be holding a strategic planning meeting on Jan. 30.