Mayor Steve Losner addressed a joint meeting of the Rotary Club,
Kiwanis and Soroptomists clubs on Wednesday March 11.
The Mayor, a fourth-generation Rotarian, gave his views on Homestead policy issues and took questions from the crowd at the Capri restaurant.
“I want to interact and hear from you,” Losner said.
Homestead Station was up first as the most recent downtown development to come online. “Their results so far, far exceed any of their wildest projections and exceed their first quarter opening on the outskirts of Houston that has far better economic demographics,” the Mayor said.
The Station expects greater attendance as it goes forward because it’s something to do close to home for families - bowling, movies, restaurants.
The Mayor was asked: What about the retail side? He replied that the property is under the control of Axion who’s managing it and the tenant mix is not within their control.
The company doesn’t want to disclose the tenants until leases are signed. However, the Mayor said two probable tenants are an AT&T retail store and a Tiki Taco restaurant with three other retailers in negotiation for space.
The Cybrarium is still under construction as a four story building but only the first two floors will be built out as a traditional library with some high-tech amenities.
Council authorized an initial buy of $800,000 worth of books to be owned by the City. There will be Disney-esque stage decoration with a virtual reality cube and a signature sculpture in the entrance. When there’s money, the upper two floors will be built out.
A suggestion was made at Council to host an artist gallery and workshop on the upper Cybrarium floors to showcase local artists. Another idea was to
consolidate the City’s historic archives from the local museums in a
secure and safe environment to increase foot traffic downtown for a full use facility.
Losner Park is going through permitting and construction should begin in a few months to be completed by the summer of 2021. The Park will be expanded with a performance stage, a water feature and monuments all funded by developers’ impact fees over the years.
The MetroRail versus BRT system has been analyzed by the Feds who committed $100 million to the BRT project as it received very high grades for support. BRT is a hybrid with the look and feel of a train but the functionality of a bus. The County now has $200 million in hand and can start bidding on
construction of the new stations and can begin shopping for the vehicles, the Mayor said.
Losner mentioned the many road projects slated for the area - “The Campbell Drive truck by-pass is totally a state highway project. I’m really pleased with the progress they’re making. The four lanes of Krome Avenue will end at Avocado Drive. On-street parking south along Krome will be eliminated making a continuous highway that’s more efficient.”
The Mayor said Homestead joined a coalition of local mayors through the League of Cities to petition the County on several projects. County Commissioners will be unable to avoid issues that don’t concern their districts when this broad coalition lobbies them.
Mayor Losner and the coalition met with the County Mayor who encouraged suggestions for future road projects the County would fund. Losner pushed local street problems such as synchronizing traffic lights, finishing local road segments, and accommodating increased traffic.
The City continues to consider a moratorium on residential development on any project of more than six units per acre. The idea is to slow growth to catch up City services, fix roadways and traffic while combatting development density.
“With what’s left to build, we’re going to have 100,000 people here very quickly,” Losner said. “We can’t ignore the traffic any longer.
I despise cookie-cutter developments. We’re tweaking design standards so we don’t appear to be part of the County sprawl.”
“This will help us retain our unique character,” the Mayor said.
Council is talking about renewing the Community Redevelopment Agency that
expires in 2024.
“This produces revenue every year for the southwest neighborhood and the downtown corridor. It’s a way to promote ‘clean, safe and attractive’ streets so people will come downtown and we can succeed as a City.”