This week county approves two biggies for $10 million

Geo Memorial Library renovation & University Boulevard bond projects

By Elsa Maxey

During the latest commissioners court meeting held Nov. 13 presided by Fort Bend County Commissioner Grady Prestage in Judge Bob Hebert’s absence, there were two agenda items amounting to almost $10 million that were acted on. The expenditures to be made for both items come from bond funds approved by area taxpayers.

In particular, unanimous approval action authorized a design/build agreement between Fort Bend County and Crain Group for $2,885,000. It is for the renovation of the George Memorial Library in Richmond. It will be done in two-phases and will include design and construction of renovations to the exterior and also to the interior of the building, as well as system upgrades.

There was also a request to approve a payment for services on an invoice submitted by the City of Sugar Land for road improvements to University Boulevard. Sugar Land should soon have $6,999,016.50 it has already spent for that joint mobility project which is in Precinct 4. The funds from the county represent reimbursement to the city for the improvements to University Boulevard in addition to those on North Bridge and University South through Brazos Landing. This project is among the ones approved under the 2007 mobility bond package about 5 years ago.

Fort Bend County maintains what is termed a multiyear Capital Projects Plan that includes two elements – facilities construction or remodeling, and mobility projects. Reports indicate that mobility projects include all the ones not constructed by the county’s Road and Bridge Department.

In 2007 Fort Bend County voters approved two bond referendums. In May 2007, a total of $156,000,000 in mobility bonds were approved, and in November voters again approved another bond referendum for $74,500,000 to construct the new Justice Center now operational on 40 acres over on Ransom Road in Richmond. Of the mobility revenue bonds, about 50 to 60 projects are on a list of roads to be impacted. Reportedly, the largest project on that list is the expansion of University Boulevard in Sugar Land, 22 miles, which is well underway. Fort Bend County’s share on that one alone amounts to $11.2 million.

Earlier this year in February, Fort Bend County and the City of Richmond celebrated the completion of a 2007 mobility project. The phase one improvements to Williams Way Boulevard included 1.53 miles of a four-lane roadway with a curb and gutter drainage system to facilitate traffic to and from the new Fort Bend County Justice Center from U.S. 59. That project amounted to $3.4 million and was funded with a portion of funds from the $156 million mobility bond funds.

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