By Beth O’Brien, reporting for Bluebonnet News of Montgomery County
Conroe City Council Thursday morning deferred the item on voting on architecture and engineering services for the proposed new Oscar Johnson Jr. Community Center, according to Rob Hamilton, City of Conroe’s Recreation Manager for the Parks and Recreation Department. Hamilton said Council deferred to determine funding sources for construction on the project.
Council discussed the request for these services during Wednesday’s workshop.
Conroe Parks and Recreation Director Mike Riggens said a feasibility study, at a cost of around $60,000, was performed last year.
“The results of that showed that the demand for the center is increasing, and a new center is recommended to meet current and future demand,” Riggens said. “The agenda item today (Wednesday) was to discuss future architecture and design fees to actually get the first phase of the project going, not construction, but just to get some design fees set up that we know in the future what a facility might cost.”
The cost for architecture and engineering services is around $1.8 million, according to Riggens.
The Oscar Johnson Jr. Community Center is located at 100 Park Place Road.
The Center was started in 1984, where the old Sadler Clinic Building was located, and served 14 children. The move to the current facility was in 2001, and at that time over 100 children were served, according to Scott Perry, Center Supervisor.
Perry said the center currently serves over 1,200 children.
Mike Riggens said the proposed location for the new facility is off of Foster Drive and Ed Kharbat Drive, is 25 acres and would be about 50,000 square feet.
“With that, we would look at that location and do some surveying over there to put the future site, if council decides to move forward with construction in the future,” Riggens said.
The fees for architecture and engineering were based on a $32 million dollar facility, and that will change based on needs and things like that once they get into the study, according to Riggens.
Riggens says the funding for the architecture and engineering will come from the CIP or Capital Improvement Program.
“At the summer council retreat budget workshop, this item was put on the Capital Improvement Program for the architecture and design fees for this fiscal year.”
Council discussed a request for signal upgrades, that is called the City Wide Flashing Yellow Arrows Project.
They approved the request at Thursday morning’s regular council meeting.
Tommy Woolley, City of Conroe’s Director of Capital Projects and Transportation, said there is currently a dedicated left turn lane with a green arrow that lets a driver turn with everyone else stopped.
“With this flashing arrow you yield, and if there’s no one coming, you can make a left-hand turn as you yield to oncoming traffic,” Woolley said. “The new standards have changed, where this is allowed.” “Some of the other cities have done it.”
Woolley said The Woodlands has this program in place, and it’s going really well.
“We have done some here in Conroe now with just a testing period; on Highway 75 at Highway 105 and I-45 and Wilson, and it’s worked out really good.” “You don’t have to wait when there’s no one coming and can make your left turn safely.”
Woolley said this project involves an upgrade of 26 traffic signals.
Here is the list of traffic signals:
- FM 3083 at Teas Nursery
- League Line at Grand Theatre
- Loop 336 at Longmire
- Loop 336 at Montgomery Plaza
- Loop 336 at North Thompson
- Loop 336 at Plantation
- Loop 336 at Timber Lane
- Loop 336 at Westview Boulevard
- South Loop 336 at FM 2854 East
- South Loop 336 West at FM 2854 West
- Highway 105 at Sixth
- Highway 105 at Center Site
- Highway 105 at Dallas
- Highway 105/Davis at First
- Highway 105 at FM 3083
- Highway 105 at Longmire/Sgt. Ed Holcomb
- Highway 105 at Fountains
- Highway 105 at Tenth
- Highway 105 at Phillips
- Highway 75 at Dallas
- Highway 75 at FM 2854
- Highway 75 at Hillcrest
- Highway 75 at Loop 336 North
- Highway 75 at Mill
- FM 1488 AT Grace Crossing
Woolley said there are four locations under TxDOT construction, and involve FM 2854 and FM 3083.
“It’s not only the flashing yellow arrows, but includes radar updates with the radar detection, which helps with the flow,” Woolley said. “We are also installing nine battery backup units on the signals that don’t have it, so when the power goes out, they can still function.”
Woolley said the cost of the project is around $800,000 and will take close to 90 days to complete.