Bid to be awarded on Nederland Avenue project

Published 4:23 pm Saturday, March 10, 2018

NEDERLAND — The major project to repair Nederland Avenue is on the horizon.

City council are set to award the bid for the Nederland Avenue Paving, Drainage and Utility Improvements project during the 4:30 p.m. meeting Monday at city hall, 207 N. 12th St., Nederland.

The project includes the resurfacing Nederland Avenue from U.S. 69 to Twin City Highway, drainage work on 12th Street from the Drainage District 7 ditch to the alley just past Boston Avenue and rerouting some drainage issues from Boston Avenue down to the intersection of 12th Street and Nederland Avenue.

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“Hopefully this will address some issues we have in that area’s storm water line,” Nederland City Manager Chris Duque said.

There is no set time schedule at this time; that will be determined after a preconstruction meeting between the city and the contractor.

“We will go over the project in a lot more detail as far as some of the things council prioritizes to make sure there is some sort of liaison and if there is a problem, who to contact,” he said.

There is also an option for the work to be done under the cloak of darkness; meaning work could be done at night so as not to negatively impact traffic and business during the daytime.

Duque said he expects there to be monthly updates on the project to council.

In other business, council will consider a resolution to create Neighborhood Empowerment Zone II.

“This is a way for the city to provide incentives for residential and commercial redevelopment,” he said. “The EDC (Nederland Economic Development Corporation) has asked us for this second (empowerment) zone. After a public hearing on Monday, council can take action on approving the zone.”

The area to be considered is the Industrial Safety Training Council’s former location in Nederland along U.S. 69. The site has two multi-story buildings and a large parking area.

Per state law municipalities can create zones that would promote an increase in economic development in the zone as well as the creation of affordable housing, including manufactured housing, increase in the quality of social services, education or public safety provided in the zone or the rehabilitation of affordable housing in the zone.

Using empowerment zones to aid in economic development isn’t new. Beaumont used this tool, which comes with tax incentives, to help attract H.E.B. that is located at College Street and 11th Street.

Duque said the Neighborhood Empowerment Zone II would be a win-win situation.

“When ISTC was located there it was not being taxed because it’s a school. This way it will be coming on to the tax rolls if something were to develop there,” he said.

The city’s first Neighborhood Empowerment Zone, which was approved in late 2016, is the area north of Nederland Avenue, east of Twin City Highway and bounded by the city limits.

With the NEZ comes rules and benefits as well. Nederland’s first such zone was created to allow the city to provide tax breaks for property owners in the specified area of the city and act as an economic development incentive for the airport.

It also allows a break for homeowners who want or need to do certain types of rehab on their homes or demolish an old home and build a new home. Interested persons must fill out an application, which in turn goes to city council for approval.

Duque said that two years ago a builder went in and bought two lots where a home was lost to a fire. The builder ended up constructing a $300,000 home and began another one nearby.