The new year is well underway and the City is getting back on regular schedule and moving forward with several projects and working to address some issues that we knew were coming up. The construction out at the waste water treatment plant is seriously underway now with some of the piping and specific equipment and manholes installed and the big equipment coming in to move significant amounts of dirt and dig out the planned ponds. Throughout this construction the City will continue to deal with regular maintenance and daily monitoring, and soon we will have some more of the new equipment, such as highly improved sand filters, delivered and installed in the old system with plans to shift over to the new arrangement when ready. As I have said before, this project is not really visible to the public but is very important in our work to improve our City services and will be a significant project and mean a good bit of City employee involvement this spring.
Another regular project that affects our residents most years is the annual trimming of trees to protect the electrical power lines throughout town. Since it is better to trim trees in the winter when they are dormant, we will have a crew of professionals in town taking care of this during the next couple of weeks. They will only be trimming those limbs that need to be cut back away from the electrical lines, and that means that they will be working on the very highest wires on the utility poles and not necessarily the lower wires that are the responsibility of telephone, cable TV or fiber optic internet companies. Be aware of these workers as you drive through our neighborhoods in the next few days and please slow down if you see some of them so that everyone can be safer. Also our residents need to know that Hill Country Telephone has begun their project to extend their fiber optic network into the residential areas of town, so if you see workers at the edges of streets during the next several months please drive safely in those areas and know that we are cooperating with another significant improvement to the residential services in town.
The City has several more projects that are in the planning stages, and an important one is the proposal for a new bridge crossing Comanche Creek on the north side of town. The plans are for the bridge to link Balsam Street (just west of Pontotoc St) from the old VFW property which the City purchased across the creek to Spring Street. We have been talking, planning and working on this for a number of years and it seems that it is finally moving towards possible construction beginning in the next several months. Several years ago we held a couple of Public Hearings on this bridge issue and a number of questions and concerns were brought up, but through all of the discussion there has never been a better or more practical solution suggested to provide for access and connectivity between neighborhoods or from the north side of town directly to Hwy 87. Now TxDOT has developed actual plans to build this bridge and is planning to move forward to bid the construction this summer and they are planning an “open house” style gathering later this month to get citizen input and answer questions regarding the location, design and impacts of this bridge. The City Commissioners are also planning to be present to discuss this with residents, and all affected citizens who live in close proximity to the planned location will get a special invitation. However, everyone is invited and encouraged to join us at the Eckert Civic Center on Thursday evening, January 30 at 5:30 for an informal meeting to share ideas and opinions on this possible addition to the transportation network of Mason.
Another aspect of the overall bridge project that TxDOT is planning is a rehabilitation of the old Broad Street Bridge adjacent to Comanche Creek Park and just north of the Seaquist House. This project will also be available for discussion at the Open House on January 30, and the work will provide for some much needed historically appropriate repairs to what is the oldest concrete truss bridge structure in Texas and one of the oldest in America. This project would not begin until the other bridge is built, and there are several other aspects to this project that I will discuss in next week’s paper. There are several significant projects under consideration that I feel will improve our community and I am anxious to discuss them with our residents and hear your ideas and suggestions. If you would like to share your thoughts please feel free to discuss it with me or your City Commissioners, or drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can see how best to provide the best improvements for our town. Working together we will continue to make Mason the very best hometown in Texas and keep our community as a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent