I hope Thanksgiving was kind to you and your family. 2020 has been challenging, and the unique holiday season ahead is no exception. I am grateful for our community and for the many ways Argyle citizens find to support each other. May your home be filled with joy and peace this Christmas season.
As always, please consider small businesses as you shop and celebrate. Together we can preserve the hard work of our family, neighbors and friends through the crisis.
In this, my first column as Mayor Pro Tem, I will provide you with general news, information about some of the accomplishments of your town government in the year that is drawing to a close and some updates on projects of interest that are now underway.
Crawford Road Reconstruction and Traffic Plan
In October, the Argyle Town Council voted to award the Crawford Road project to Jagoe-Public Company, a Denton public works contractor with an extensive road construction resume in North Texas. Engineering design for the reconstruction work was performed by Teague Nall & Perkins, which will also provide inspection services. The Town held a preconstruction meeting for the project on November 20th to coordinate with our engineer, the construction contractor and key parties affected by the work. Construction will begin on December 14, 2020.
The roundabout at the intersection of Crawford and John Paine is the first phase of the project. The contractor will be able to keep two lanes of traffic open on Crawford Road until February 2021.
Beginning in February, only westbound traffic will be allowed from John Paine Road to C Taylor Road. A detour route will be established utilizing C Taylor and Old Justin Road for eastbound drivers. The detour route will be well marked. Once the roundabout is complete, work will begin on the west end of the project, from John Paine to I-35W. Again, traffic will only be allowed westbound during this phase of construction.
The Town anticipates that the I-35W to roundabout phase should be completed by April 2021. The final phase of construction will be from the railway crossing west to John Paine. The Town anticipates that the project will be completed in October 2021.
Municipal Development District
Town of Argyle and Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) citizens on November 3 voted to dissolve the Argyle Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and replace it with a Municipal Development District (MDD). The council is working with staff to develop bylaws and first year objectives for the MDD, beginning with an effort to reach out to towns that have established successful MDDs. The council will hold public workshops to review findings and collect citizen input before drafting the MDD bylaws. The existing 0.25% sales tax will be collected by the MDD rather than the EDC beginning April 1, 2021.
Argyle’s MDD, one of the first to be established in Denton County, is intended to be a forum that Argyle and neighboring jurisdictions can use to develop solutions for shared development issues. I would like to thank Assistant Town Administrator Erika McComis for researching the MDD opportunity and bringing it to the attention of the Council.
Financing of Sewer Line Relocation Required by 377 Expansion
During the November 16 meeting, the Town Council approved issuing $2,000,000 in Certificates of Obligation to pay for the relocation of a sewer line required by the HWY 377 widening project. The 20-year Certificates of Obligation (CO) were issued at an interest rate of 1.6989%, which was significantly lower than forecast by the Town’s financial advisor. Commendable design work by the Town staff and Town engineer brought the estimated cost of the sewer line relocation down from an initial figure of approximately $3,000,000. The sewer line relocation’s creative design includes eliminating the obsolete lift station at Frenchtown Road, saving the Town several hundred thousand dollars in lift station replacement costs and substantially offsetting the cost of the CO.
FM 407 Development Moratorium
The Town Council voted to establish a 90-day development moratorium on the FM 407 corridor east of I-35W and west of HWY 377 on November 16. The moratorium is intended to allow time for a staff review of the drainage and traffic impacts of the high development tempo in the Graham Branch watershed and surrounding area.
Railroad Crossing Quiet Zones Project
Argyle has been working with a consultant to study the feasibility of discontinuing the sounding of train horns at our five rail crossings. The Town Council approved moving forward with a Notice of Intent to Union Pacific, BNSF, and TxDOT for establishing a Quiet Zone throughout the Town of Argyle on November 16. If ultimately approved by the Federal Railroad Administration, the Quiet Zone will eliminate the sounding of train horns at all five rail crossings in Argyle. Improvements necessary to implement a Quiet Zone will be completed in conjunction with the HWY 377 widening project, which TxDOT anticipates will begin in late 2022. The estimated cost to the Town of implementing the Quiet Zone is $50,000.
Argyle Seniors Update
The board members met with the Argyle City Manager Mr. Rich Olson on Nov. 13 to see when the seniors can start having their luncheons and activities again. Mr Olsen was very informative and the board members were pleased with what he had to say.
After much discussion among the board members they decided to cancel the Christmas party. Coronavirus is again on the rise and we want everyone to stay safe and well.
The center will hopefully be available for the monthly luncheons in March according to Mr. Olson but the exercise and games will have to start at a later date.
We hope that you had a great Thanksgiving and will have a Merry Christmas! See you in 2021. Happy New Year!
-Submitted by Stella McDaniel