Mayor's Mythbusters

Cracker Barrel
In 2005, the representatives of Cracker Barrel approached the City of Corsicana to plan the construction of a restaurant. All the necessary information was provided along with notice of the requirement that all buildings fronting on major highways must have a masonry front. The decision was made to ask the council to consider waiving that requirement for the restaurant. The item was placed on the City Council agenda for consideration during the June 7, 2005, meeting. On the day of the council meeting, the representative called from the Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) Airport in route to the meeting. He stated that he had been contacted by his home office and directed to return and ask the City Council to table the item. The item was tabled. Ultimately, the council considered and approved the variance on June 6, 2006.

The process also required a plat be prepared and the plat was approved on July 20, 2006, by the Planning and Zoning Commission. These two actions completed the process for Cracker Barrel to build. The company then decided not to build. The representative stated that the home office had failed to consider one very important item in their decision and had changed their mind on locating a store here. The question was specifically asked whether or not the request had anything to do with the variance request. They were adamant that the decision had nothing to do with the City of Corsicana staff or ordinances.

Cinergy Cinema
Many citizens have observed that the Cinergy Cinema parking lot required replacement very soon after opening. The problem was the method and materials of construction, asphalt versus concrete, and the soil conditions at the site. The cinema chose to construct an asphalt and flexible base parking lot. This combined with the soil conditions proved to be a bad decision. The asphalt failed very soon after completion. The owners then made the decision to reconstruct the lot with a concrete surface. The City of Corsicana has no regulations that requires a business owner to construct parking lots using specific materials or methods. Since the business owner maintains the lot, it is their decision on how to build it.

Seventh Avenue
Seventh Avenue is also State Highway 31. This means that the City of Corsicana and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) share responsibility for the traveling public that uses the road. TxDOT maintains the road, sets the speed limits, and has final approval over any construction. The city was approached in 2000 about the possibility of adding a turn lane to Seventh. The city was advised that if a project were to proceed, the city would be required to purchase any additional right of way needed to widen the road. In addition, the city would be required to relocate all of the utilities not conforming to TxDOT utility policy. This cost was estimated to be $2 million. (The actual cost will be closer to $2.6 million.) The estimate for the right of way cost was $4 million. It was a consensus that $6 million would go a long way toward a Highway 31 relief route around the southern edge of town. The project was put on hold in order to pursue this.

In 2009, TxDOT earmarked funding for the reconstruction of pavement and drainage along Seventh Avenue. The funding was from a specific allocation and could not be used to add capacity according to TxDOT rules. In addition, the city was told that if a turn lane was added, the funded project would be halted. Also, if a turn lane was added, it would most likely be a median barrier with control turn locations. The city was told if the project changed to allow for the widening of Seventh, the funded reconstruction would not go forward and funding was not available for a widening project. Most of the utilities will be relocated to accommodate future widening. The city chose to have a new road in place and plan for future widening.

Who’s Working on the Streets
The council had a work session Tuesday night to discuss a budget amendment. Additional money was approved to work on the streets around town. As part of the discussion the question was asked about the ongoing sidewalk work along the major thoroughfares. The handicapped ramps being installed along Business 45, 15th Street, and East MLK are part of a TxDOT project. The work being done on Seventh Avenue is also a TxDOT project. Both projects were designed, bid, and inspected by TxDOT personnel. Darwin Myers is the area engineer and is in charge of both projects. He can be contacted at 903-874-4351.