Spike strip use approved for LPD

LIVINGSTON -- The Livingston City Council approved plans and funding for an existing local arena and equipment for the police department in December's regular meeting Tuesday.

Spike strips were recently purchased for patrol cars and are folded out or slung by officers to slow vehicles that are being pursued. Once the suspect vehicle runs over the strips, tires are punctured and the strip can be recoiled. They are used to put a quick end to pursuits.

This will be the first time the Livingston Police Department has used spike strips.

"Most of our pursuits come from outside the city," Police Chief Dennis Clifton said. "One of our big priorities when that happens is to keep them from coming into the city, especially since most of them will come up (Highway) 59. It gives us a tool that we can use from those access ramps coming off of (Highway) 59 on to Business 59 to try to stop them from going downtown, where they can cause the greatest chaos. They have a huge potential to injure citizens, police officers, or even themselves. We hope to never have to use it. I have read where 68 percent of all pursuits end with deployed spikes."

Representatives from the Barney Wiggins Memorial Arena are looking to repair the arena's roof and fencing on the premises. The Polk County Youth Rodeo Association (PCYRA) and Trinity-Neches Livestock Show (TNLS) have approved to split the cost of expenses in both associations' minutes.

A new gated entrance will also be part of renovations. When there are paid events, the gate on Highway 146 will be closed and traffic will come in from the new entrance located on Fair Street. When the event nears completion, the gate on Highway 146 will be opened for exiting.

There will be a fundraiser show at the arena in mid-January that will also go toward repairs. The amount owed will be less than $20,000 that the TNLS and PCYRA will repay to the city in a maximum of three years.A tax-deductible donation can be made to either organization to help cover the expenses for these costs.

The fountains near highway 59 and Whataburger will be replaced. The old fountains were purchased three years ago and have not worked properly since installation. The city will receive a credit for the old fountains and new displays will take their place.

City manager's report

Major projects currently underway

Sales tax: the December 2014 sales tax, which represents sales in October, will not be received by the city until Thursday, Dec. 11.
Hotel occupancy tax: the third quarter hotel occupancy tax collections (July, August and September) 2014 were in the amount of $82,682. This is the largest amount received by the city for any previous third quarter.

The friends of the library book sale will be Friday, Dec. 19 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the second floor of the new library.

Current development projects
A. Construction pending/permits issued:
1. Murphy's gas station - the project is for a 1,200 square foot convenience store with six gas and diesel pumps to be located on the southeast comer of the Walmart parking lot. The plans have been reviewed by city staff and the building permit has been issued for the project, with construction cost of over $1.8 million. Walmart and Murphy Gas are working out final agreements for the project and expect construction to begin in early February of 2015.
B. Construction work in progress:
1. The El Patron Grille project involves the renovation of the old Peoples State Bank building in Jackson Square as a new Mexican restaurant. A permit has been issued and work is underway. Construction costs are $135,000 and interior construction work is underway.
2. The Bull Shack at 113 Commerce Lane is a new coffee and specialty drink business in Southpoint Center. The project is complete and open for business.
3. Melbo's Gas and Car Wash involves the demolition of the existing convenience store and car wash at the US 190 and Hwy. 146 intersection. A pre-development meeting with the owner and architect to review plans for new convenience store and gas station was held. Plans were submitted and approved by the city with the building permit issued for construction to begin at a cost of $392,657. Demolition of the existing car wash and convenience store will be complete this week.
4. The Polk County Appraisal District had its plans submitted and approved by city staff for the expansion of an existing facility to add 2,320 square feet at the building located on Matthews Street. Construction is underway with interior work nearing completion with construction costs of $400,000.
5. The Livingston ISD gym/lockers at football stadium have a permit issued and construction for sewer lines are ongoing. Construction will cost $2.6 million. The framing and interior block walls are erected.
6. The Polk County Courthouse's historical renovation project will relocate the elevator from outside to inside. The plans are approved, permit issued, and construction is 90 percent complete with exterior brick remaining to be done for an $875,000 total.
7. David Mallory has a permit for a new single-family residential development consisting of 14 individual units in the 1100 block of North Houston, with construction costs of $256,228. Water and sanitary sewer services have been extended to the property and driveways have been poured.
8. Thom Bruning is remodeling first floor of a building on Jackson Street for a retail consignment shop for artisans called Across the Tracks. Renovation is complete and the new shop opened Friday, Nov. 28.

Pending projects in development
1. Church Street Financial's project involves the demolition of the existing facility and construction of a new 6,000 square foot building. Plan revisions are currently underway with the city awaiting re-submittal of plans.
2. CP Homes, a developer of an assisted living facility, has advised of their decision to locate in Livingston on North Washington. Preliminary plans are for an 8,000 square foot building with 24 single rooms. The developer has submitted the utility plans for the city's review and the building design is progressing.
3. Polk County Mission Center at Garner and South Washington and the construction of a new 4,000 square foot building. The organization has acquired just short of an acre to the south of the existing location. The organization is currently working on plans for review by the city.
4. Dickey's Barbecue and convenience store had a pre-development meeting on Oct. 8 with developers for a proposed project to include: Dickey's Barbecue restaurant, a convenience store with gas pumps, and a lease space for another restaurant at Church and Willis Street. The existing sewer line and recorded easement have been located and identified for the site. The developer is currently working on plans to submit to the city for review.
5. Moseley's townhouse project had a pre-development meeting Tuesday, Dec. 2 to consider the construction of additional townhomes behind the Cedar Grove School campus at Willis and Handley. Preliminary plans include 17 new units consisting of nine one-story, two-bedroom units and eight two-story, three-bedroom units.
6. Klubb's apartment project on Clark Street is proposed and was put on hold earlier this year, but the developer has contacted the city about moving forward with the project.