Funding next step for improvements on Old Fitzhugh Road

Plans for improving and remodeling Old Fitzhugh Road in Dripping Springs is starting to move forward.

On Aug. 21, the Dripping Springs City Council unanimously approved the concept plans for Old Fitzhugh, which will connect the historic Mercer Street with the road.

The project, seven years in the making, aims to continue the aesthetic downtown on Mercer Street through Old Fitzhugh Road by adding shared-use trails, pedestrian amenities and street improvements.

“We’ve already been through the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) board, transportation committee and planning and zoning commission,” said Keenan Smith, TIRZ project manager. “Your approval tonight will put us in good shape to start looking at funding opportunities for the project.”

According to preliminary estimates, the project will cost an estimated $4,822,652.97. The next step for the TIRZ board will be to seek and identify funding sources for the project.

Funds may come from a wide variety of options including a combination of county, state and federal transportation and roadway improvement funds, including possible CAMPO grants.

Additionally, TIRZ has requested $20,000 from the city in the 2019 fiscal year budget.

If approved in the budget, $10,000 would be allocated to the “Right of Way Dedication Surveying,” $5,000 to “Implementation Funding Support” and $5,000 to “Drainage Easement Consulting.”

Currently, Old Fitzhugh Road does not have walkable sidewalks for residents nor does it have adequate lighting. The city is also looking to enhance the two-lane road.

Based on stakeholder input, highly sought-after items in the project include a paved sidewalk, along with the preservation of existing trees, Mercer Street lighting fixtures and structured rain gardens near sewage lines.

The project, an initiative spurred by the city and Hays County, will continue the downtown aesthetic outlined in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

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