DAYTON – Residents and local officials across the county filled the Dayton Community Center to hear details on the Liberty County Strategic Plan on Monday night.
The plan results from continued work that began in 2015 when County Judge Jay Knight sought help from Texas A&M University and the Texas Target Communities Program to develop goals and study demographics locally and give the county a plan of operation going forward.
“The meeting was an opportunity to go there and learn,” said Knight.
The plan first adopted in 2017 has been a valuable tool for the county and other local governing bodies. Knight believes that the data makes pursuing financing through grants and other avenues easier, as it outfits them with vital statistics and information. The plan is again being updated, allowing the county to operate with updated information.
“This new updated version of the plan will come out sometime in Fall,” he said.
The plan has six facets: • Development • Transportation • Housing • Economy • Community Facilities • Health Each area focuses on area demographics and needs and outlines potential solutions that leaders can utilize in future decision-making. Data was collected and students at Texas A&M developed a plan after meeting with the community and stakeholders.
Transportation issues are clearly one of the most important areas to residents. TxDOT joined in and made a presentation to those in attendance, focusing on the procurement process.
Lisa Collins, with the Beaumont District, which serves Liberty, Chambers, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Newton, Orange, and Tyler counties, spoke on that issue and detailed what goes into developing a plan. She described the project selection for Tx-DOT work.
• Identify Need • Assess Need • Advanced Planning • Environmental and Design Studies • Design, Right- of-Way, Utilities, etc.
According to Collins, the average time from planning to the beginning of construction can run anywhere from 2- 7 years, varying by need. Paying for any project must come from specific funds and TxDOT is able to seek those monies from 12 different areas of funding, but Collins said that not all are available to the Beaumont District.
TxDOT then laid out several projects that are underway, in planning, or being studied for the future.
PROJECTS UNDERWAY • I- 69/ US 59 Project Nearing Completion • US 90 @ FM 1413 Overpass Underway • Highway 105 Project
• Highway 146 Mill Overlay Underway
• FM 770 Bridge Replacements (3) Underway
• US 90 @ Union Pacific Railroad (DAYTON OVERPASS)
• US 90 Widening (HIGHWAY 146 to HIGHWAY 61)
• Plum Grove Road Study (FM 1010 extension) • River Ranch Parkway Study (FM 1413 Extension) The strategic plan also takes a deep dive into transportation. It details a plan for long-range roadways to accommodate the growth in the area, with proposed widening projects on Highway 321 and Highway 99, as well as bicycle and pedestrian paths, and safety in mind.
Knight encourages the public to take time and review the entire plan and voice their opinion. You can visit tinyurl.com/ libertycountytx to see the project in its entirety.