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City of Waller receives $1.6 Million Dollar Grant

Plan to spur development of Downtown area

The City of Waller, in conjunction with the Waller Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), completed a Livable Center plan in 2009.  This plan, 80% funded by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) with federal transportation funds,  engaged the Waller community through several public meetings, and examined three areas within the City of Waller in determining how to best plan for future quality of life in Waller.

That plan focused on three areas: 1) a revitalization of the downtown area with new state-of-the-art sidewalks along Main Street and the additional of a Civic Pedestrian Plaza made possible by the closing of a dangerous intersection on the west end of Main street, 2) planning for a potential commuter rail stop under study by the Gulf Coast Rail District, and 3) potential future detention, recreational, and residential areas along Fieldstore Road.

The City has recently been successful in receiving an H-GAC grant for implementation of early phases of the downtown revitalization.   The grant was awarded to Waller for construction in 2015/2016.  The $1.6 million grant, matched by $400,000 from the City, is designed to create a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented, destination center that will become a gathering place for both area residents and visitors and will spur local economic growth.

The plan calls for state-of-the-art ten-foot sidewalks on three blocks of Main Street between Key and Saunders streets with trees, street lamps, benches, and signage.  The parallel three blocks of Cherry Street are scheduled to  have eight-foot sidewalks, and the connecting streets of Key, Smith, Farr, and Saunders will have five-foot sidewalks, according to the plan.

The Civic Pedestrian Plaza would be created by closing off the west end of Main Street from the currently dangerous 3-way angled intersection of Main, Key, and Business 290.  The resulting plaza could feature a fountain, sidewalk cafes, and possibly artwork/statues that will help draw visitors to the downtown area.

Mayor Danny Marburger comments that “this project shows what can happen as the city and the EDC partner together for progress for the city of Waller.  We look forward to the improvements that are going to be made and how they will improve the quality of life for our citizens.”

City Council has been supportive of the grant effort and recently retained The Goodman Corporation (TGC) as project managers for grant implementation. TGC has done a large number of similar pedestrian and transit-oriented work with many communities, including recently with Galveston, El Paso, and Conroe.  TGC will also begin to position the City for future infrastructure grants as well as finding optimal ways to minimize the impact of the match necessary for this grant.  TGC’s work for the City will be overseen by WEDC director John Isom, City Secretary Jo Ann London, and Public Works Superintendent Gene Schmidt.

The larger vision of this project is not only to improve the pedestrian environment on these three blocks of downtown, but to leverage this public investment by encouraging new private investment on Main and Cherry streets as well as in the 20-25 blocks that are easily walkable to Main Street.   Isom will be seeking out commercial developers who will add retail/office buildings to our downtown district and other developers who will build new residential locations within these walkable blocks.

The current plan was developed with citizen input, and we want to continue to have both resident and property owner feedback as the plans take shape.   Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming public meetings.  The full Livable Center plan can be viewed at:

View a PDF of the plan

John Isom can be contacted at jisom@WallerEDC.org or 936-931-5151.