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Public Services Paul Urso, Superintendent Streets, Drainage & Traffic Freddie Caballero, Residential Sanitation TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION 1 PAGE Introduction 4 The First Milestone 4 SECTION 2 Programs 5 Projects 8 Regulation 10 Incentives 11 SECTION 3 Exhibit A 12 Exhibit B 13 SECTION 4 The Future 14 Conclusion 16 3 SECTION 1 Introduction The College Station City Council has adopted as Strategic Issue #5 for FY 94-95: Community Appearance. This issue has two goals. The staff is to identify all activities that are related to community appearance and then to consolidate those into a plan. The City has numerous activities that relate to appearance which involve many different departments within the organization. In order to lend clarity and organization to the myriad of activities, staff has made a distinction between items that are strictly related to appearance (how something looks) and things that are related to function (how something works). This is important to remember because so many of the activities a city carries out have aspects of appearance and functionality. For example, College Station has a residential street rehab program. Newly rehabed streets certainly look better but the emphasis or goal is to improve function and usefulness as opposed to making streets pretty. For this reason, the residential street rehab program and any others like it, where function is the overriding concern, are not included. Another example is the City's emphasis on sidewalks and bikeways. Certainly these items enhance a community's Inability but the emphasis is on transportation, mobility and recreation not purely appearance or aesthetics. Thus individual sidewalk or bikeway projects are not included. However, where sidewalks are part of a large project (i.e.: park improvements) their costs have been included. The bottom line is that there is great room for interpretation, discussion and disagreement as to what should be included in a review of activities that enhance a community's appearance. Staff has tried to narrow this clown to those activities where the primary purpose is appearance even though there may be secondary benefits related to health, safety and welfare. The First Milestone: One of the first milestones for this issue is to prepare an inventory of activities that are related to community appearance and present this in a report to Council. To create an inventory related to appearance activities called for an interdepartmental team. This team was charged with identifying activities from each department and determining resource allocation. Once this task was accomplished, staff attempted to identify results (where tangible) for each activity. Some results are tangible and quantifiable while others are intangible. The appearance related activities can be grouped into four areas: programs, projects, regulations and incentives. Programs are on -going and carry budget allocations from year to year whereas projects have a specific beginning and end, and an associated project cost. It is important to note that over time many projects turn into programs or become a part of operating budgets due to the requirement for on -going maintenance. Regulations are 4 simply the codes and ordinances the City has that require certain items in order to enhance appearance. Incentives are where the City offers something in return for meeting a higher or more aesthetically pleasing standard. Each activity will be described in Section 2 of this report with tangible results described. Section 3 includes two spreadsheets. One indicates resources that have been allocated to each activity within FY 94-95. The other spreadsheet examines resources that have been allocated over the past three years. It is interesting to note that the total resource allocation, when all activities are considered, is over 12 million dollars. Roughly half of this dollar amount is allocated to electrical conversion and regulation via utility revenues. The remainder of these dollars are derived from the general fund with sources ranging from general revenues from property taxes as well as revenues from state and federal grants. Resource allocation for all four areas of activity were derived from actual budget amounts. Efforts were made to include not only the budgeted amount but other resources such as salary and benefits for associated staff where applicable. SECTION 2 Programs The Photometric Index Survey: This is an annual survey to determine how well litter education programs are working. This survey is performed by the City for Brazos Beautiful as a part of the Clean Community System program and enables Brazos Beautiful to continue to receive certain funding. It involves surveys of random sites in a study area to gauge the amount of litter on the ground. There are five categories of sites photographed: dumpster locations, loading docks, vacant lots, parking lots and streets. The City has been performing this survey for 12 years. The first 10 years the survey was performed in the Economic & Development Services Department. The last two years it has been overseen by the Public Services Department using student workers. Since the program's inception, there has been a 95% overall improvement in littering. There was 28% improvement between 1994 and 1995. Municipal Grounds Maintenance and Tree Planting: The budgets of both Parks Operation and Forestry are targeted at community appearance. All major job functions of both divisions impact community appearance through regular maintenance of landscaping, turf management and tree maintenance. Through various grants there have been trees added to the City's inventory. Some tree planting grants have included maintenance contracts. When these contracts expire the maintenance becomes part of the Parks Department's operating budget. The City has received 2 grants through the Small Business Administration Grants Program. The participation was approximately 50/50. This program has been canceled at the Federal level after this year. 5 In 1992 the first grant allowed the installation and 3 years maintenance for 148 trees installed in Bee Creek, Southwood and Central Parks. The maintenance contract expires November 1995 and maintenance will have to be taken over by the City. In 1994 The City installed 76 trees in Anderson and Gabbard Parks. Maintenance expires for these trees in 1997. Brazos Beautiful has also been awarded grants through this program and has utilized the City's match for several projects. In 1993 there were 40 trees installed in Jack & Dorothy Miller Park with maintenance expiring in 1994. In 1994 Brazos Beautiful used the matching local dollars to install 42 trees along Southwest Parkway from Texas Ave. to the East By -Pass. This plating includes a 3 year maintenance contract. The City has received the Tree City USA award every year since 1987 for the promotion of tree planting within the community. Adopt-A-Spot/Adopt-A-Street: The program is overseen by the Community Appearance Committee which is supported by the Economic and Development Services staff. It allows individuals or groups to take care of a specific public location by providing landscaping and maintenance. To date the City currently has 19 streets and 10 spots that are maintained by others. Community Appearance Award: This program is overseen by the Community Appearance Committee. Twice annually the Committee selects commercial and/or multi -family sites for recognition. Anyone may submit a site for nomination and award as well. Awards are presented by the Mayor during a City Council meeting and a sign is placed on the property of the business selected. Selections are based on quality of landscaping, architectural design, and overall appearance and maintenance. There were three awards presented in spring of 1995. Recycling: The curbside recycling collection program is operated out of Public Services and has been in operation since 1990. The City collects newspapers, aluminum cans, glass and auto batteries weekly. This program produces S 100,000 annually in revenues. Approximately 80 tons per month are recycled. ROW Mowing: The City's Public Services Dept. mows certain road rights -of -way such as state highways, areas of high visibility to maintain a uniform appearance, intersections where sight - distance can be a problem and drainage easements as part of a city-wide drainage system. The City has a list of roadways that it maintains. In most cases the crews try to mow the complete right of way especially if there are ditches incorporated in that area. There are some situations where vegetation (large trees, etc.) will not allow the City to do so. 6 However, if there are any obstructions blocking the flow of water, they will be removed. The current schedule consists of mowing the entire city in 24 working days. CDBG: The City's Community Development Block Grant Program involves many activities that are appearance related. Totals from 1994 show that 25 properties were cleared of dilapidated structures, 9 single family houses and 30 rental units were rehabilitated, and 27 sites/houses were cleaned up and/or painted through the Big Event. A portion of the City's code enforcement activities are funded through CDBG. There were also monies put into three public improvement projects: Eleanor Street, Wayne Smith Park and the College Main project. Fleet Maintenance The City's fleet looks new due to some of the things that have been done to maintain it. All of the G.M. vehicles with peeling paint have been repainted due to a factory recall of vehicles five years or older. Many departments assign operators to vehicles. At Public Utilities awards are given out to the best kept vehicle. Fleet issues $1970 worth of Wolf Pen car washes for city vehicles. The end result is the public commenting on the appearance and the monetary return at the auction which is approximately 30%. Street Sweeping The City's street sweeping program has increased the level of service from covering the entire city in three months to two months. Herbicide: All city owned drainage ways and curbs and gutters (between the asphalt and concrete) are herbicided three time annually to ensure maximum drainage and aesthetics. Front End Loader Conversion: The City has completed the conversion from rear end Toad containers (REL) to front end load containers (FEL) (for a total of 475 containers). This replaced and eliminated all of the old, unsightly REL containers that were in use. This system allows Public Services to provide a varied collection to customers based on their needs, and to maintain each container in a safe aesthetically pleasing condition. Brush/Rubbish Collection: The City provides weekly collection of brush and rubbish which prevents this material from littering the community. Public Services has implemented the "Clean Green" brush collection program and will continue to provide customers with weekly collection of move-in/move-out boxes and other debris. Approximately 220 tons per month is picked up and removed. Replace 400 gallon Automated Containers: With FEL (front end load containers) implementation, there has been the elimination of approximately 100 of the 400 gallon containers. There will continue to be coordination 7 and evaluation of the system, with the Development Services Department to relocate or screen these containers to improve the appearance at the locations that are still utilizing the older containers. Proiects Street Signs on Signal Arms ($5,000): Public Services has been installing streetscape street name signs on all signal light mast arms throughout the city. This project is 95% complete. Tarrow Street Streetscape Elements ($45,000): The Tarrow Signalization and One -Way Conversion Project began in the Summer of 1994 and was completed in the Spring of 1995. It involved the installation of three new traffic signals, the conversion of Tarrow and E. Tarrow streets to one-way, and the installation of a new pavement overlay and striping plan to accommodate the new traffic scheme. The Tarrow project was the first major capital project to incorporate streetscape. The primary streetscape element was the improvement made to the large median island located in front of the Texas A&M State I-Ieadquarters Building (John B. Connally Bldg.). This once grassy median was streetscaped with an irrigated landscape plan along with a brown stamped concrete sidewalk around its perimeter. The other streetscape element of the project was the use of a dark bronze finish on all tragic signals poles and sign poles in the project (instead of the standard galvanized silver finish). College Main Streetscape Elements ($125,000): This project is part of the College Main Rehabilitation Project. Through firnding via Community Development Block dollars, the College Main Rehab is considered to be the "pilot project" for Northgate revitalization and redevelopment. This project has incorporated decorative sidewalks, crosswalks, and street lighting as a mechanism for potential redevelopment in the Northgate "core area." Texas Avenue Streetscape Elements ($457,295): The City has committed to approximately one half million dollars for streetscape improvements as part of the State's planned widening of Texas Avenue. The biggest share of this money will go towards streetscaping medians with brick pavers and planter boxes. Another highly visible improvement will be the -installation of the Eastgate Streetscape at the intersection of Walton Drive/New Main. Other City funded streetscape improvements in the project include lighted street signs, widened and banded sidewalks, and "streetscaped" signal poles and street light poles using a dark bronze finish. Central Park Pond Improvements ($40,000): This project includes the cleaning of both ponds and the installation of an aerator and pump system to enhance water quality. The pump system and associated "fountains" have improved the appearance of the ponds. 8 Lincoln/Wayne Smith Improvements ($183,250) : This project includes the development of area lights, sidewalks, and bridges in the park area. In addition, a drainage canal was converted to underground format, and the area was graded and seeded. Oak Park ($89,000) : This project included the development of bridges, sidewalks, and a sign bed for the park area. Thomas Park ($29,100) : This project included improvements to the jogging trail and walking paths within the park area. WPC ($25,800) : Projects relative to Wolf Pen Creek which are underway or have been completed in FY 94 - 95 include the addition of a sidewalk from the seating area to the lake, sidewalks for new handicapped spaces and driveway concrete additions, dumpster screening, and new restroom construction. Community Enhancement Project ($89,300) : This project, under the direction of Dr. Charles Graham, TAMU Department of Construction Sciences, involves the investigation of appearance and its relationship to property value. This project is not scheduled for completion until May 1996. Gateways (no budget) : This is a project of the Community Appearance Committee using recommendations in the City's adopted Streetscape Plan. The purpose of this project is to utilize Streetscape recommendations for the implementation of attractive "gateways" into our community. A sub -committee is working with Brazos Beautiful and TXDOT on the development of a gateway for the Deacon and Highway 6 intersection as this was a location identified in the Steetscape plan. Banners (SLA $12,200) : This is another project of the Community Appearance Committee. It is intended to enhance community image through the display of banners along major roadways and in Northgate and Wolf Pelt Creek. Aii initial pilot project which was given the "go-ahead" by Council in July is for 35 banners along University Dr. at a cost of $12,200. Staff is currently working with the Arts Council on assisting in funding this "pilot project" and developing a "call for entries" for banner designs. Business Park Landscaping ($700,000) : This project is related to the overall development of the College Station Business Park. The purpose of this project is to stimulate economic development in a centralized location by providing quality infrastructure, quality of life, and an attractive environment in which 9 to conduct business. The seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) cited above refers only to the landscaping (appearance) portion of this project. Northgate ($85,000) : This study, under the direction of the consulting firm of Helhnuth, Obata, and Kassabaum, Inc., involves the development of a comprehensive "masterplan" for the Northgate area. Items within the scope of service for this study include the development of design standards for the area, the creation of an action plan, and formalization of an implementation strategy. Underground Electrical Projects ($5,466,200) : Monies are budgeted for major conversion projects and conversions of existing development. Two major projects underway are the Texas Avenue widening project and the underground conversion along University Dr. East. Existing properties that have been converted include Taco Cabana, Treehouse and Sara Streets, Nations Bank, Ponderosa Motel, Raymart, California Pizza, Briarwood Apts., Ramada Inn, Millif St., Victoria Dr. extension, an overhead crossing on Southwest Parkway and a conversion and line relocation on Holleman and at Eastgate. Public Utilities has also started using concrete and steel poles where possible. According to a study done in San Antonio, these steel poles were found to be preferred over wooden poles due to looks. Regulation Landscaping, Parking, Signs, Screening ($100,000) : The City has codes and ordinances that require certain aesthetic additions to projects such as landscaping and streetscaping. There are also ordinances that regulate certain items which have appearance implications such as signs and parking. Screening of items that are visually unappealing such as dumpsters and meter locations is also required. Resource allocation associated with these regulations include staff salary and benefits of those members responsible for administering these ordinances. Underground Electrical ($800,000) : Two years ago Council passed an ordinance requiring that all new construction provide underground electrical service. Public Utilities budgets monies each year for City participation in this. Code Enforcement ($82,228) : Other ordinances that are appearance related as well as health and safety related include weeds/grass/, junk vehicles and parking in the yard. The City's Code Enforcement Coordinator is responsible for enforcement of these ordinances. A portion of that position's salary comes from the CDBG program. Costs associated with Code Enforcement through the Economic and Development Services Dept. is approximately $46,728 for this fiscal year. The Sanitation Inspector in Public Services is also very active 10 in customer education and enforcement of the sanitation ordinances such as litter, overflowing containers, illegal dumping and residential containers being left curbside after collection. All of these code violations effect the appearance of our community. Costs associated with sanitation code enforcement are approximately $35,500 for this fiscal year. Incentives This is where the City provides something that hopefully incites others to some desired action. City Screening of Existing Dumpster Sites (S15,000) : Public Services has assisted several locations with container screening such as City Hall, G.T.E. and Wolf fen Creek Park. This program will continue in the high visibility locations. Parking Regulations : There is some incentive relative to lot size through the Zoning Ordinance for parking areas to be situated in the rear and thus be somewhat hidden from view. There is no actual cost to the City other than staff costs associated with administration of the Zoning Ordinance which has been previously included. Facade Improvement - CDI3G (S50,000) : There are monies allocated in this year's CDBG budget for a facade improvement program for the Northgate "core area". There has been no Council approval of program specifications as of yet. SECTION 3 This section is intended to identify what the City of College Station has budgeted for community appearance related activities over the past three years. Exhibit A identifies Programs and Regulations that relate to community appearance and indicates budgeted amounts for these years. Exhibit B identifies programs, projects, regulations, and incentives that were budgeted in FY 94-95 and shows total budgeted dollar amounts for College Station community appearance efforts. Cited below are these spreadsheets. 1I EXHIBIT A: FY 93, 94, & 95 Community Appearance Budget PROGRAMS (ONGOING) FY 92 - 93 FY 93 - 94 FY 94 - 95 TOTAL Photometric Index (PI/PS) $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $3,000 Adopt-A-Spot/Street (CM/EDS) $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $10,500 Community App. Award (EDS) N/A N/A $500 $500 Recycling (PS) $105,250 $184,200 $205,000 $494,450 Municipal Maintenance/Tree Planting (P) -- SBA Grant, Brazos Beautiful, Tree City USA, Grounds Maintenance $1,205,140 $1,340,462 $1,551,507 $4,097,109 ROW Mowing (PS) $126,350 $133,000 $140,000 $399,350 CDBG - Demolition (EDS) $ 37,353 $130,733 $141,221 $309,307 CDBG - Big Event (EDS) $5,034 $12,104 $8,534 $25,672 CDBG/Housing Assist. (EDS) $466,379 $490,002 $366,709 $1,323,090 CDBG - Public Imp. (EDS) $562,958 $688,669 $658,638 $1,910,265 Fleet (PS) $906 $1,980 $2,000 $4,886 Street Sweeping (PS) $51,984 $54,720 $57,600 ' $164,304 Herbicide (PS) $5,040 $5,600 $6,000 $16,640 Street Signs/signal arms (PS) N/A N/A $5,000 $5,000 FEL (PS) N/A N/A $240,000 $240,000 Brush/Rubbish Collection (PS) $268,000 $301,500 $335,000 $904,500 400 Gallon Replacement (PS) N/A N/A $25,000 $25,000 Sub -Total $2,838,894 $3,347,470 $3,747,209 $9,933,573 REGULATION FY 92 - 93 FY 93 - 94 FY 94 - 95 TOTAL Landscape Ordinance, Sign Ord., Parking, Screening (EDS) $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $300,000 Underground Electrical (PU) $600,000 $2,000,000 $800,000 $3,400,000 Code Enforcement (EDS/PS) N/A N/A $82,228 $82,228 Sub -Total $700,000 $2,100,000 $882,228 $3,682,228 TOTALS 53,5 38,894 $5,447,470 $4,629,437 $13,615,801 12 EXHIBIT B: FY 94 -95 Community Appearance Budget PROGRAMS (ONGOING) FY 94 - 95 Photometric Index (PI/PS) $1,000 Adopt-A-Spot/Street (CM/EDS) $3,500 Community App. Award (EDS) $500 Recycling (PS) $205,000 Municipal Maintenance/Tree Planting (P) $1,551,507 ROW Mowing (PS) $140,000 CDBG - Demolition (EDS) $141,221 CDBG - Big Event (EDS) $8,534 CDBG/Housing Assist. - (EDS) $366,709 CDBG - Public Imp. (EDS) $658,638 Fleet (PS) $2,000 Street Sweeping (PS) $57,600 Herbicide (PS) $6,000 Street Signs/signal arms (PS) $5,000 FEL (PS) $240,000 Brush/Rubbish Collection (PS) $335,000 400 Gallon Replacement (PS) $25,000 Sub -Total $3,747,209 PROJECTS FY 94 - 95 Business Park (EDS) $700,000 Tarrow St. (EDS) $45,000 College Main (EDS) $125,000 Texas Ave. (EDS) $457,295 Central Park Pond (P) $40,000 Oak Park (P) $89,000 Thomas Park (P) $29,100 WPC (P) $25,800 CEP (EDS) $89,300 Gateways (EDS) N/A Banners(EDS/Arts Council) $12,200 Underground Electrical (PU) $1,200,000 Northgate (EDS) $85,000 Sub -Total $2,897,695 13 REGULATION FY 94 - 95 Ordinances (EDS) $100,000 Underground Electrical (PU) $800,000 Code Enforcement (EDS/PS) $82,228 Sub -Total $982,228 INCENTIVES FY 94 -95 CDBG - Facade Impr. (EDS) $50,000 Parking Improvements N/A Dumpster Screening (PS) $15,000 Sub -Total $6.5,000 GRAND TOTAL $7,592,132 SECTION 4 The Future The City of College Station will have to make decisions in the future relative to appearance issues, programs, projects and regulations. The future of such activities will be largely dictated by the resources available for implementation. City staff, through Council's direction, is dedicated to the overall improvement of the community's appearance. In the future, the City will have to become more proactive and more innovative in doing more with Tess. City staff will be charged with forging public/private partnerships for appearance activities, utilizing incentive programs to spur activity in the private sector, and cooperating with other "public agencies" to make funding more viable and programs/projects more doable. Ultimately, programs/projects such as a Landscape Incentive Program, a Northgate Facade Improvement Program, and stronger relationships between public agencies such as Brazos Beautiful and the Arts Council, will be necessary to advance the City's needs on the appearance front. City staff believes the future of appearance activities in College Station to be a bright one, regardless of the funding challenges that lie ahead. At the heart of this issue is the College Station citizens' "quality of life", and the future impact appearance could have on the economic vitality of this community. These two factors make future appearance activities necessary. As Gianni Longo states in his work, The Cost of Ugliness: "In our cities we ignore beauty. We do so in our professional practices and in our universities. We ignore beauty because we believe that what we do has nothing to do with it or because we have been educated to dismiss any discourse on beauty as old fashioned. The banker, the elected official, the traffic engineer, the planner and anyone involved in creating places, do not see themselves in the "beauty" business. 14 The result of this way of thinking is that cities do not inspire or touch us any longer. They no longer give us pleasure. The repression of beauty in our cities results in their pervasive ugliness." The City of College Station has made great strides over the past several years to beautify and thus enhance community image. There is much more that can be accomplished. The following are some areas staff has identified where allocation of future resources could be considered. There are certainly many more to discover. Landscape Incentive Program: There is a need to develop a program that would call for City participation in efforts to encourage existing non -conforming commercial sites to improve their properties thereby bringing then to a higher standard of landscaping. (SLA $10,000) Public Art: \With public art, a community has a chance to display its memory of significant events or people, to celebrate historically significant values, and to reiterate traditions and customs. Public art should stimulate curiosity and promote a sense of community. The City should seek out opportunities and ways to encourage (and even participate) in the creation of art for public places. Northgate: With the completion of the HOK Northgate Revitalization and Redevelopment Study, an "Action Plan" and "Implementation Strategy" will be adopted. The "Action Plan" will outline projects relating to Northgate revitalization and redevelopment. Staff foresees a number of these projects potentially impacting the appearance of the Northgate area. Furthermore, HOK, as a part of the "Implementation Strategy", will outline various funding sources to be utilized in Northgate revitalization projects. Adaptive reuse of retired landfills: The City must begin to look for ways to utilize retired landfills not only to avoid waste of land, but for opportunities of community enhancement through reuse. Possibilities for the redevelopment of retired landfills could include recreational uses such as golf courses, ski areas, and nature reserves. Apaetxnent liilut eecycliitg: Public Services is currently evaluating a pilot recycling program for multi -family developments. Dumpster Chart: The intent of this chart is to prevent the inappropriate number of dumpsters being placed on a new development (i.e. commercial, multi -family). The chart will outline the number of dumpsters the Public Services .Department considers necessary to service the types of development cited above. Currently, some developments have too many dumpsters while 15 others do not have enough. Ultimately, this chart will aid developers in better determining the size and number of dumpsters needed. Streetscape signs and guardrails: Public Services is looking for ways to replace a portion of the inventory of galvanized poles to streetscape poles and install as needed when existing poles are damaged, or vandalized. They are also looking for ways to purchase materials to paint the backs of street signs and to update the current standard of pipe guardrails and install streetscape guardrails as needed. • Subdivision Entrance identity: Some subdivisions in town have enhanced their entrances using streetscape elements. Emerald Forest is an example. The Raintree I-lomeowners have requested participation by the City for improvement to their entrance. There is money allocated in the CIP for this and other subdivision entrance improvement projects. Conclusion The purpose of the development of this document has always been to aid decision makers in better understanding what the City of College Station does and spends in the way of community appearance. With this in mind, the inventory has accomplished its purpose. Staff is aware that approximately 26% of dollars allocated for community appearance related activities are in underground utility conversions and regulation. Staff also acknowledges that the City of College Station has made a monumental effort to maintain its municipal facilities at a level second to none. Staff is also aware that streetscape projects such as Texas Avenue, College Main, and Tarrow will have a significant impact on the appearance of this community. Beyond these basic findings, the inventory should be viewed as a starting point. The next milestone will be to develop a statement expressing the Council's community appearance values. This will be done as part of the comprehensive planning process currently underway. Ultimately, the goal of this issue is to coordinate all community appearance activities, thus avoiding duplication and conflict. Over the past few years the City of College Station has accomplished a great deal in the way of this community's appearance. The City Council understands the value of community image and the price we all pay when we ignore the importance of appearance. As .Mr. Longo goes on to state, "the price we pay for... ugliness is alienation and isolation. By turning away from our cities we lose the sense of diversity, of scale, of civic responsibility and interdependence which are at the basis of urban living." 16