Expansion has been constant for Temple in the past few years, with new construction or renovations going on constantly throughout the city.

This is now even truer after last week’s City Council meeting where members voted unanimously to move forward on commissioning two plans for projects in the northern and southern side of the city. These projects will include improvements to the city’s North Art District and the building of new infrastructure in a portion of newly annexed land.

Designs of both projects will be created by local engineering firm KPA Engineers, one of the city’s main planning partners.

North Art District

Temple’s North Art District, which mainly centers around the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center and the Cultural Activities Center, is a key portion of the city and the community. The district also serves as part of a northern entrance to the city, connecting Interstate 35 to other parts of the city.

Temple spokeswoman Laurie Simmons said the city hopes to look at what can be done to further integrate the area with other portions of the city.

“The city is in the process of looking at several areas to develop concept plans as an integrated system,” Simmons said. “This area is a part of Temple’s northern gateway, and with the completion of the I-35 corridor by (the Texas Department of Transportation), it was an appropriate time to release this project within the integrated plan.”

While the city will not have an estimate on the cost to improve the district until the plan by KPA is completed, the creation of the plan itself was set at $142,850 with 10 months given to create the plan.

Many of the elements inside the plan focus around improvements to the convention center and CAC, with the city wanting to look at what can be done inside and outside the two buildings.

Another element that will be looked at in the plan is the possibility of a hotel and conference center near the site of the two buildings. Simmons said this was something the city has been looking into for years, and something that is perceived as needed for the area.

“We have not received any inquiries of interest as of yet, but it has been an item that has been reviewed and discussed in past years, Simmons said. “With the growth that the city of Temple has already experienced, along with future projected growth, it is prudent to explore options and possibilities for a potential hotel or hotel-conference center for Temple.”

Simmons said the city currently does not have a timeline on when they would be beginning the project, and will need to wait until the plan is complete to move on to the next step of construction.

Annexed land

After coming to an agreement with the land’s owners, a newly annexed portion of land in Southeast Temple is now on its way to being ready for development.

The land, located near the intersection of Barnhardt Road and Old State Highway 95, was annexed into the city earlier this year in July. This land will mainly be used for single family homes and the future construction of a new elementary and middle school by the Temple Independent School District.

Designs for the project will include the extension of Blackland Road, from Old Highway 95 to Highway 95, a new water main along the new road and the construction of wastewater improvements in the area.

The city set aside $678,485 for the design of the multiple elements that comprise the project. Creation of the plans are estimated to take around six months, with the city needing to acquire the right-of-way before construction can start.

“The design portion will take 270 days from the notice to proceed being issued to the consultant,” Simmons said. “We do not have a timeline on the right of way acquisitions, dry utility relocations or actual construction as of yet, it is too early in the process to determine those dates.”

Current estimates for the cost of the project is around $4.7 million for the construction of the road and waterline improvements, $1.48 million for wastewater improvements and $635,000 for the Knob Creek trunk sewer improvements.

Temple City Councilwoman Susan Long, who represents the area, previously said she was excited for the new development in the southern part of the city. Long said while she was excited, making sure needed infrastructure was in place was important for her.

“People are generally pleased to see more people coming because that means more tax base for the city,” Long said. “People are concerned about more houses, more houses and more drainage issues and that sort of thing. The most important thing you can do is make sure you have the infrastructure in place so you have a seamless transition.”