The LULAC Oak Hill Apartments on Anderson Street in College Station are on track to being renovated.
It will cost about $2.2 million to cover the construction at the 40-year-old complex for low-income elderly residents. There will also be additional costs, including temporarily moving the current residents out of the 49-unit property while the work is done.
Several options for funding were considered, and the city council ultimately voted Thursday to approve a request for support for the city and complex management to pursue a Section 108 Loan. It is run through the Community Development Block Grant Program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The loan essentially means that LULAC, League of United Latin American Citizens, will be responsible for covering the loan repayment to HUD, but if LULAC does not pay, College Station agrees that the costs can come out of the city’s already allotted CDBG funding, complex Managing Agent William Elsbree explained to the council. Additionally, the city has an option to change the property management from LULAC to another organization if LULAC cannot handle the responsibility.
Multiple council members expressed strong support of the project.
“This is a great asset for our community,” Councilman Dennis Maloney said at the meeting. “We keep talking about affordable housing for the elderly and this is one of them, so I fully support it.”
Debbie Eller, College Station director of community services, said the loan process will take five to seven months minimum. She said the rehabilitation will likely take about one year, with one unit a week completed plus the exterior work.
On Thursday, the council also approved of a resolution granting consent to Rock Prairie Management District No. 2 for the sale and issuance of unlimited tax road bonds not to exceed $2.5 million.
The Management District is a Municipal Utility District, Director of Fiscal Services Mary Ellen Leonard explained via email Thursday.
Once received, the money will go directly to the Management District.
The funds will be used to pay for a portion of the construction and paving of Bird Pond Road within the district.
The debt will be paid off by September 2050, Leonard said.
Soon there will be a new 13-space parking lot and Lick Creek Hike and Bike trailhead near Midtown Drive following council’s approval of the $329,427 construction contract with Aggieland Construction. Assistant Director of Public Works Emily Fisher told council members that the work will include an access road to Midtown Drive that will also serve as a driveway to the College Station Utility substation, which is west of the proposed parking lot.
Fisher said work will begin in March.
Council members debated whether or not the city should begin holding elections in November of odd-numbered years. The city is currently transitioning from three-year council terms to four-year terms held in even-numbered years instead of annually.
Shifting to odd-numbered years would require a special charter amendment election, but the council members voted 4-3 against bringing the item back for future action at a later meeting. Councilmen John Crompton, Bob Brick and Dennis Maloney voted in favor of bringing the item back.
Arguments in favor of having elections in odd-numbered years included a concern that local elections get overshadowed when they fall at the same time as higher-level governmental races, while arguments in favor of keeping even-numbered years included a preference for times when there will be higher voter turnout.
The College Station City Council unanimously voted on Thursday to contribute up to $100,000 to the COVID-19 vaccination hub at the Brazos Center as part of an interlocal funding agreement with Brazos County and the city of Bryan. The county and Bryan have each also agreed to contribute $100,000 to the hub.
Brazos County Vaccine Task Force Chief Jim Stewart said county officials will be the purchasing agents.
Stewart said this week that the funding agreement for up to $300,000 will be used to support several local vaccination initiatives, including the forthcoming vaccine call center, which Stewart said should begin operations next week, supported by the United Way and 2-1-1 Texas.
For more information on Thursday’s meeting, go to blog.cstx.gov.