After extensive discussion, the Blanco City Council took a major step forward last week with regard to the Blanco Streetscape Plan. At the recommendation of the Streetscape Committee, chaired by Ms. Retta Martin, the Council voted to hire a project administrator for 3-4 months whose primary responsibilities would be to gather necessary data to successfully pursue funding opportunities to execute, or accomplish, the Streetscape Plan.
As has been reported in the past, the Streetscape Plan calls for major improvements within Blanco’s Historical Square to include improved parking, wider sidewalks, safer crosswalks, landscaping and improved lighting. The objectives of the plan are to provide a pedestrian-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and safer environment around the Square. It also includes bringing sidewalks and entry ways up to ADA (American’s With Disabilities Act) standards. Based on similar projects in other cities, a significant result of streetscape improvements is to increase the economic vitality and viability of those businesses around the Square.
The Council selected a local company, the Mike Barnes Group, to lead the effort and begin gathering the data, such as surveys, cost estimates, timelines, etc., which are essential requirements for any streetscape grant application request. The Barnes Group specializes in efforts to stimulate and spur economic development.
All and all, a very positive first step forward was taken by the City Council.