County Commissioner Column
Denton County OPEN grants total $35.1 million
Denton County Commissioners Court announced that 1,215 businesses across Denton County would receive grants totaling $32 million for a grand total of $35.1 million in federal funds earmarked in two phases to support the local economy.
In Phase II of Denton County OPEN, for-profit businesses headquartered and located in Denton County with 100 or fewer employees were eligible to apply. The amount each business received was based on the documented negative financial impact of COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and June 20, 2020.
Of the 1,215 recipients in Phase II, 47 percent employ between 1 to 4 people while 21 percent employ 5 to 9 people. A total of 12 grants were awarded for companies with 50 to 99 employees. In Denton County, around 95.6 percent of all businesses employ fewer than 50 employees.
The Phase II grants reached across Denton County with 22.62 percent in Precinct 1, 17.05 percent in Precinct 2, 30.72 percent in Precinct 3 and 29.62 percent in Precinct 4.
In Phase I, Denton County awarded $3.09 million to 451 businesses, averaging an estimated $6,872. Around 23.5 percent of the first phase of grants were awarded to businesses in Precinct 1, 16.85 percent in Precinct 2, 29.27 percent in Precinct 3 and 30.38 percent in Precinct 4.
The total of $35.1 million for both Phase I and Phase II of the Denton County OPEN business grants is a portion of the stimulus money Denton County received from the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act also known as the “CARES Act.”
Through the two phases, Denton County will have re-invested an average of $25,357 into 1,385 businesses. An estimated 10,401 jobs are expected to be supported through the grants.
In comparison, Tarrant County earmarked $30 million for business grants and Dallas County earmarked $5 million. Travis County set aside $9 million for business grants while Bexar County awarded $11.75 million for businesses.
Work to begin soon to elevate Shady Shores Road
Denton County Commissioners Court approved a professional services agreement with Halff Associates for engineering services for the Shady Shores Road project from Swisher Road to West Shady Shores Road.
The $698,330 contract will include preliminary engineering services for schematic design, environmental studies, surveying and coordination with stakeholders and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the two-mile stretch that runs north and south on the western edge of Lake Lewisville.
The road will be designed as a two-lane roadway with conceptual designs configured to raise Shady Shores Road at three low points. The road is owned in portions by three entities including Denton County, the Town of Shady Shores and the City of Lake Dallas.
Last year, Shady Shores and Lake Dallas officials agreed to cover $1.4 million of the cost for engineering the project in Denton County Precincts 1 and 3. Denton County will fund $4 million with $10 million anticipated through the North Central Texas Council of Governments to pay for approximately $14.4 million in construction costs. A kickoff meeting between the entities and the engineer will be scheduled soon.
This project is necessary to ensure that flooding of the road does not continue each time we have heavy rains. The Commissioners Court believes that raising the road to a higher level will reduce the potential for flooding on that section of Shady Shores Road.
County launches project to feed local residents with produce from local, regional growers
Denton County food pantries are receiving fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a new project launched by the Denton County Commissioners Court.
The project, “Feeding Denton County,” involves a local grower working with other farms in the area to provide a variety of produce carefully packed in 25-lb. boxes and delivered directly to local food pantries each week.
The Commissioners Court approved an agreement with Denton Creek Farm Inc. to provide up to 3,000 boxes per week at a cost of $37 per box now through Dec. 30, 2020. The Court had earlier earmarked $10 million of the $147 million received by Denton County from the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to ensure all food needs across Denton County were covered.
Keith and Kassandra Copp, owners of Denton Creek Farm, purchase produce from local and regional growers when it is available as well as from farms around the U.S. as needed to create a box with between 10 to 13 different varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Local non-profit food pantries and pantries at churches are welcome to contact Denton County at 940-349-4672 to learn more about the program and sign up to receive boxes of fresh produce to serve Denton County residents in need.
Denton County Public Health employee Jennifer Romaszewski has been selected as one of nine individuals across the country to participate in the 2020 Population Health Training in Place Program (PH-TIPP) sponsored by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During this 1-year, on-the-job professional development opportunity, participants engage in a training experience using projects from their day-to-day work. Participants receive formal mentoring and training from experts, both internal and external to CDC, while staying in their current positions.
Participants are responsible for coordinating and carrying out work projects established by their organizations, thus adding value to the organization as they learn to design, launch, and assess health improvement programs to positively impact health outcomes.
• Aubrey 380 Area Chamber of Commerce – networking luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 at Prairie House Restaurant in Cross Roads. Admission is $13. Send an email to Donna Sims at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Sanger Area Chamber of Commerce – business and networking luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. on Sept. 23 at the Sanger Area Chamber of Commerce, 300 Bolivar St. Admission is $10. RSVP to https://business.sangertexas.com/events, 940-458-7702 or send an email to email@example.com.
Regional road and bridge updates
FM 2181 North-South – A $37.6 million project to widen FM 2181 from two lanes to a six-lane divided roadway from the Denton/Corinth city limits to Lillian Miller Parkway is expected to be complete in November 2021. Activities expected include City of Denton water lines, storm water drainage lines and culverts; lime treatment subgrade; concrete removal; SW3P activities; barricades; general clean up and concrete paving.
U.S. 380/U.S. 377 – (Loop 288 to U.S. 377) –Frontier is splicing; awaiting wreck-out. Construction: Awaiting project award and work authorization. Project will be awarded upon execution of AFA between TxDOT and City of Denton and wiring of funds for local contribution for 10-foot sidewalk component.
U.S. 380 East ¬– (U.S. 377 to Collin County line) – Utility coordination meeting held virtually on July 29, 2020.
U.S. 377 North –This $142,315,815 project will reconstruct and widen a two-lane undivided rural roadway to a six-lane divided urban arterial with raised median. The ready to let date is projected for March 2024. Technical reports are in progress with six of them approved and three in process. TNP submitted the final schematic to TxDOT on July 31, 2020.
U.S. 380 Feasibility Study –NCTCOG and TxDOT met on June 2, 2020, to discuss. NCTCOG is updating model to run different alignments for integrated corridor. HDR, TxDOT and ITS held virtual meeting on Aug. 18, 2020, to discuss project.
FM 428 – Project is from Loop 288 to West Sherman Drive/proposed outer loop. TxDOT has completed negotiations with HDR to initiate efforts on the FM 428 feasibility study. Awaiting execution of supplemental work authorization.
FM 1385 – Let date for $132 million project has been scheduled for June 2024. The 30% schematic review has been completed and comments returned to the consultant. The 60% schematic is due on Oct. 12, 2020. Project stakeholder meeting was held on July 30, 2020. Denton County, City of Aubrey, City of Celina, City of Pilot Point and Town of Prosper were in attendance. Virtual public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 15, 2020. Public meeting materials will be posted on http://www.keepitmovingdallas.com/FM1385.
FM 2931 – Let date for $70 million project has been scheduled for June 2024. The 30% schematic review was completed and comments returned to consultant. The 60% schematic submittal is expected on Aug. 20, 2020. Virtual public meeting was held on July 7, 2020. Meeting materials are posted on http://www.keepitmovingdallas.com/FM2931 and remained available online through the comment period deadline of July 22, 2020. There were 135 visitors to the website.
FM 455 – From west of FM 2450 to east of Marion Road; the project is slated to have 100% plans ready in December 2020 with an August 2022 let date. Consultant is working on revisions requested at Traffic Control Plan meeting with TXDOT. Consultant met with TxDOT District on Aug. 13, 2020, to discuss final comments on traffic control plan. Consultant is finalizing cross sections for corridor to account for driveway changes, designing temporary signals, and coordinating with TxDOT for utility relocations. Consultant is working toward submittal of 95% plan set in September 2020. BNSF approved Exhibit A on July 24, 2020. A utility coordination meeting was held on June 23:
o Atmos: has preliminary plans. Plans for the east side of the project approved.
o Bolivar Water: Has approved plans and is awaiting agreement.
o CenturyLink: Anticipate completion of plans in August 2020.
o CoServ Electric: Plans for the east side of the project have been completed. Anticipate completion of plans for the west side before end of August 2020.
o Nortex: Awaiting plans.
o Sanger Electric: Currently designing plans.
o Sanger Water/Wastewater: City council to approve bonds for relocations. Plans are being designed.
o Suddenlink: Awaiting plans.
I-35 at FM 455 – Estimated cost of reconstruction of approximately 4,500 feet of I-35 over FM 455 is projected at $27,231,547 with a let date of August 2022. Consultant is working on revisions requested at Traffic Control Plan meeting with TxDOT. Consultant met with TxDOT District on Aug. 13, 2020, to discuss final comments on traffic control plan. Consultant is updating profile and retaining wall location to match ultimate design location. Consultant coordinating with LTRA for SUE on overall I-35 corridor and with Stantec on plan and profile. Consultant is working toward submittal of the 95% plan set in September 2020.
I-35 North (Segments 1 and 2) – The project from U.S. 377 to FM 3002 is projected to cost $573,740,000 with a ready to let date of October 2022 and a let date of December 2022. Consultant is addressing 30% plan comments and working toward completion of 60% plan set. The 60% plan set is expected for review at the end of November 2020.
I-35E/Mayhill – This $62.2 million project to reconstruct the interchange at Mayhill and I-35E is projected to begin in June 2022. The 95% plans were completed and submitted to TxDOT for review on July 20, 2020. Additional Level A SUE north of Mayhill and south of Loop 288 was submitted to TxDOT on July 31, 2020. Utility coordination meeting to be held on July 21, 2020.
o Atmos: anticipate completion of relocation plans before end of August 2020.
o AT&T: coordinating with TxDOT on relocation plans.
o Charter: awaiting DME relocations.
o City of Denton water and sewer: TxDOT has received 60% plans from city.
o DME: acquiring easements; anticipate completion of relocation plans in August 2020.
o Frontier: coordinating with TxDOT on relocation plans.
o Grande: anticipate completion of relocation plans by October 2020.
o NGG: abandoning in place.
I-35/35E/35W Merge – The let date for this $335,695,558 project is set for January 2023. Review comments were provided to AECOM on Aug. 7, 2020. Pavement design report was submitted for District approval on July 22, 2020. TxDOT and City of Denton discussed parallel Bonnie Brae project and drainage impact on July 29, 2020.
I-35E/US 77/Dallas Drive Interim Improvements – The estimated $50 million project will involve interim improvements to northbound I-35E exit to Dallas Drive, I-35E service road and southbound lanes of Dallas Drive. TxDOT is reviewing possibility of design and construction to address safety concerns at I-35E exit to Dallas Drive, the northbound I-35E service road where it crosses the northbound exit ramp, and the southbound lanes of Dallas Drive.
I-35E/Dobbs/Lake Sharon – This $30 million project involves reconstruction of the interchange and existing frontage roads. TxDOT is negotiating with consultant for the PS&E phase; anticipate execution of work authorization by end of August or early September 2020.
County road and bridge updates
Arvin Hill Road Project US 377 to Red Mesa – Realigned Arvin Hill at US 377 is open. New Hope to US 377 scheduled completion by September 2020.
U.S. 377/Stewart/Arvin Hill Intersection Improvements – Paving under construction with scheduled completion by November 2020.
Rockhill Road/Arvin Hill Road Project Red Mesa to UP RR – Revisions to 100% plans for USACE comments underway. Utility relocation coordination ongoing.
Sam Bass Road Project - FM 455 North of Nance Road – Asphalt paving has started, drainage structures completed. Estimated completion by November 2020.
Pecan Valley Road Culvert Replacement – Project delayed. Scheduled completion by August 2020.
Hackberry Creek Park Road Project – Construction request and mitigation plan submitted to USACE.
Lois Road West Culvert Replacement – Survey and Engineering study ongoing.
Indian Trail Improvements – Engineering underway. Estimate 100% plans and bid package in October 2020.
Mayhill Road – Construction completed in July 2020. Field inspection completed on June 30, 2020. Walk-throughs have been completed. On July 9, 2020, contractor completed work. Bridge design is underway.
Dallas North Tollway, Extension 4B – This $25 million project will extend the tollway north by construction of a 6-lane tollway with 3 northbound lanes and 3 southbound lanes; construction of six lanes of non-tolled frontage roads including three lanes in each direction. The let date is projected for November 2022. PS&E plans were completed in July. NTTA advertised the project on July 17, 2020. Bid opening is expected on Aug. 20, 2020, and approval of construction contract is anticipated in September.
Lake Sharon Extension – Current activities include finishing grading activities in anticipation of paving preparation, to begin in the next few weeks. Water tie-in to Lake Sharon development has been completed and finishes out remainder of water installation activities. Lighting and irrigation subcontractors have installed crossings in anticipation of paving operations. All underground storm drain has been completed and installed. Inlet tops will be placed after paving operations. Water is 100% complete; wastewater is 100% complete; drainage is 95% complete; grading is 75% complete.
Shady Shores Road –An estimated $10 million in STBG funds have been allocated for this project along with $1.4 million local funds and $4 million from Denton County. Commissioners Court approved a professional services agreement with Halff Associates on Aug. 11, 2020. Kick-off meeting to be scheduled.
Denton County Precinct One Commissioner Hugh Coleman can be reached at (940) 349-2810. The main office is located at 1175 Union Hill Road in Sanger. He is also available by appointment only at the Steven E. Copeland Government Center at 1400 FM 424, Suite 139 in Cross Roads or the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square at 110 W. Hickory St., Suite 323 in Denton.