Buda submits next proposal for Garlic Creek trail grant

A proposed $3.5 million project aimed at creating a trail system in the Garlic Creek subdivision in Buda isn’t expected to affect nearby Hays CISD bus routes, said city staff in early August.

But at the same time, Buda is now waiting once again to see if an application aimed at obtaining grant funding that could partially pay for the trail passes muster.

On Aug. 6, Buda City Engineer John Nett said Buda’s application for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding, overseen by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), made it to the next round of the screening process. Nett said the grant does not require a match from the city, which is atypical from other grants Buda has applied for.

Buda had submitted an application for SRTS funding in early February, which then made it through two rounds of vetting. Buda submitted a more detailed view of the Garlic Creek trail to TxDOT Aug. 15, which was approved by city council by a 7-0 vote Aug. 6.

That updated application included renderings of the trail, which is expected to have a 10-foot wide shared use path, along with light fixtures, police call boxes and other items. Buda also submitted a cost estimate to TxDOT, which showed the project costing $3.5 million.

However, Nett said when the city applied for SRTS funding, it was battling 357 total projects from across the state that are all competing for $46 million in grant funding. Buda has $300,000 earmarked for the Garlic Creek Trail from Proposition 5 of the 2014 bond, which dealt with parks projects.

“It’s probably not likely Buda will receive one project worth $3.5 million,” Nett said.

City leaders also questioned some of the costs associated with the proposed trail.

Per city documents, Buda estimates spending more than 900,000 on lighting, $32,000 on call boxes, along with a 25% contingency that amounts to $471,000. Additional costs include more than $200,000 for environmental documentation and approximately $380,000 for construction costs.

“That’s big dollars, call boxes and lights,” said Buda City Council member Lee Urbanovsky.

Buda City Manager Kenneth Williams said staff wanted “to get correspondence from Hays CISD in writing” if the project would impact bus routes in Garlic Creek or Cullen Country.

Hays CISD executive leadership told city staff the trail has redundancies that show similar connectivity and connectivity to Elm Grove as existing sidewalks already in place, Nett said.

Williams cited a bridge built several years ago that caused a handful of homes in Garlic Creek and Cullen Country to lose bus service. Per the Texas Education Code, students who live within two miles of a campus and have access to a safe path to school are not eligible to receive bus service.

“It doesn’t appear to affect Hays CISD based on the decision they are making,” Nett said.

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