By Brian Bearden, TSB Contributor
McKinney Mayor Pro-Tem Travis Ussery addressed questions on the airport, Gateway, DART, city hall improvements and more at this week’s Rotary Club of McKinney luncheon on the downtown square at Rick’s Chophouse.
Will the airport be adding JetBlue Airways or Southwest Airlines flights?
“There is nothing before us now,” Ussery said, adding the city plans to surround the Collin County Regional Airport at McKinney with more industrial projects. “There are no residential plans for the area around the airport.”
What is the status of a DART bus from McKinney to the light-rail track in Plano?
“DART discussions are still in a holding pattern,” Ussery said. “We are discussing a bus that will start in Sherman and come through here.”
Are there plans for a new municipal building?
“Not at this time,” he said, adding that “We want to keep the municipal facility in downtown.”
Is MPAC making money?
The Mayor Pro-Tem said major steps have been made on the McKinney Performing Arts Center to turn around MPAC’s finances. Ussery said about 10 tickets remain for the show by Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham (pictured in photo gallery) on Aug. 23 at MPAC.
How does the budget look for the city?
“As you know this is what is near and dear to my heart,” Ussery, the CPA, said. “We are going to keep a balanced budget at the city, and we will continue to reduce debt.”
What’s happening on Gateway?
“We will be breaking ground on Emerson, and it is good to see that we are about to get something positive going on at that site.”
What will happen to the skeleton of a building along U.S. 75 at Gateway?
“The plan is to use the structure,” Ussery said, adding the plan could change. He said the Sheraton hotel will be privately owned. The city will own the conference center at Gateway.
The funding for the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center project with Champ Hospitality and Beck Development was approved recently by the McKinney Community Development Corporation board of directors and the city council.
Tennis Center: Mayor Pro-Tem Travis Ussery announced to the Rotary that the Gabe Nesbitt tennis center has been awarded United States Tennis Association facility of the year. The award will be presented at Flushing Meadow, N.Y., where the U.S. Open is held.
Heard: The MCDC approved a funding request submitted by the Heard Natural Science Museum and Sanctuary for up to $18,335 for the purchase and installation of five video cameras throughout the sanctuary. The cameras will be distributed throughout the three different ecosystems within the sanctuary, with viewing around the clock on the Internet.
Grants: Seven organizations turned in applications for a promotional Community Event Grant, with $56,400 requested in total. Each organization will have an opportunity to present to the MCDC board during the meeting scheduled on July 26.
Rotary news: The Rotary Club of McKinney will be serving meals at the Samaritan Inn on the Fourth Monday of the month. The clubs in McKinney are offering memberships to new members. Contact a Rotary club member. The downtown club has a new fund-raiser in the planning stages. … The Sunrise Rotary club meets at Eldorado Country Club on Wednesday mornings. Gone but not forgotten: Rotarian Julie Vargo has moved to upstate New York.