The Ardmore Main Street Authority continues to take steps to move forward with the Westheimer Parking Plaza and Depot Park projects, approving several items during a special meeting Thursday.
The board approved plans for Phase One of the parking plaza and a budget not to exceed $198,000. Phase One will include the resealing and re-striping of the parking lot and a new front entrance complete with signage for motorists.
A rendering of the project showed potential development in Phases Two and Three, as well; however, ex-officio Todd Yeagar said the additional phases are yet to be determined. Yeagar said it is up to the board to decide whether they want to carry out the plans later on down the road.
The parking lot will accommodate for back-in parking only.
“It makes more space and it is considered safer because if you’re pulling out when you’re backed in, you can see what’s coming in front of you,” Yeagar said.
As far as maintaining any landscape at the parking plaza, AMSA General Manager Jeff DeMiceli said they will maintain it and have been maintaining a certain amount of landscaping there now. Yeagar added they can find specific trees that are low maintenance.
The board also approved recommendation to open a checking account specifically for the parking plaza project at American Nation Bank.
The board also discussed plans for Depot Park, modifying previous action of the board that required construction not to begin until all funds, $2.7 million, were secured. Yeagar said the action “tied their hands.”
There were also some concerns raised about timing of moving the Mercy train. With the city of Ardmore preparing new streetscapes right by Depot Park, if the streetscapes were finished before the train were moved, it could cause damage to the roads.
“It’s 100 tons or 200,000 pounds,” Yeagar said of the train. “We should get it done before the city starts doing their stuff because we don’t want to have them down there and have everything nice and neat and then we bring a train in and it just craters everything and crunches the road, or whatever.”
Before moving the train, Yeagar said they must also sandblast it and repaint it because it has lead-based paint on it. While the cost of sandblasting, repainting and relocating it onto a concrete pad with rails would typically exceed $50,000, which is the threshold for having to bid projects out, Yeagar said it won’t come down to that.
There will be donated material and donated labor, which Yeagar said will keep them from having to bid the project out. And it won’t be in violation of anything, he said, adding he discussed the issue with the city attorney to make sure they would stay in compliance.
The goal is to have the Mercy train re-located in its new home by Dec. 1, he said.