The Cedar Park community had an opportunity to receive updates and give their feedback on plans for redeveloping a portion of Bell Boulevard, as the City hosted a public workshop on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Cedar Park Recreation Center located at 1435 Main Street. The workshop had a come-and-go format with a brief presentation provided at three times throughout the evening.
“Attendees will help define ‘the Heart of Bell Boulevard’ at this workshop through a variety of interactive activities and feedback-sharing exercises in which they can share their preferences for the overall look and feel of the Bell Boulevard District,” said Assistant City Manager Katherine Caffrey prior to the event. “We will be providing updates on the road project aspects, the development efforts and the park that will be located within the Bell Boulevard District.”
In addition to each brief presentation, attendees learned about project updates, shared interactive feedback and got answers to their questions. There was a character poll which allowed attendees to share their opinions of what the overall look and feel of the Bell Boulevard District should be, along with a dot exercise in which they demonstrated their preferences for the development’s look and feel. There was a photo booth in which community members can take “Bell Boulevard selfies”. The event was free and open to everyone.
This latest workshop came after a series of meetings held last fall with Bell Boulevard business and property owners and three public workshops held in 2015. The meetings and workshops drew hundreds of people who gave valuable input and ideas that helped the City move forward with the first phase of the project. The November 14 meeting was yet another milestone in which community members had the opportunity to provide even more feedback to help the City move forward with the next phase of project implementation.
“For the past year we have been working diligently behind the scenes on the engineering and design for the road realignment portion of the project,” Caffrey said. “There has been a lot of progress made that is not yet visible to the public. This upcoming workshop will provide an opportunity for the public to see exactly where we are in the process of opening a new space for placemaking, and help us with move forward in realizing our community’s vision of transforming Bell Boulevard into a true destination.”
Phase One Bell Boulevard transportation-related projects are part of the 2015 voter-approved Streets and Roads Bonds. It includes moving a portion of the highway east and reconfiguring the six way intersection near Buttercup Boulevard. In 2016 the City began the engineering and design process and coordinating with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in developing the final design scope for the project. The design, permitting and right-of-way acquisition process is expected to last until the end of 2018 with construction beginning in 2019, barring any unforeseen circumstances. The City will continue its stakeholder and community involvement throughout this process.
More about Bell Boulevard
Bell Boulevard, also known as US Highway 183, has long been hailed the “backbone” of Cedar Park. As the community has grown and evolved through the decades, Bell Boulevard has remained the primary north-south corridor for the city. Bell Boulevard was once a vital community hub, but the commercial area has experienced a steady decline over the last several decades. Following community members’ expressed desires during the 2014 comprehensive planning process to see Bell Boulevard revitalized as a thriving commercial corridor with its own unique identity and special charm, the City of Cedar Park embarked on the process of creating the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan.
The redevelopment master plan consists of two phases. Phase One focuses on road realignment and other transportation improvements, as well as the development of Buttercup Creek Natural Area. Phase Two focuses on the remaining western portions of the shopping streets, walkable blocks and a parkway road and bridge connecting to the Buttercup Creek Natural Area. Updates and future community engagement opportunities will be shared on www.DestinationBellBlvd.com.