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"Fixer-Upper" projects to transform Waco in 2020

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Posted at 1:06 AM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-05 02:06:04-05

WACO, TX — By the end of this year, some folks may not recognize Waco.

Spending by McLennan County and it's cities on Capital Improvements, things like streets and amenities, will total more than 140 million dollars.

City leaders hope, that money will do for the area, what its most famous residents do for happy homeowners.

As she took portraits of her daughters Thursday evening, Kristie Mason noted how far Waco has come from her childhood years.

"Waco when I was growing up, it was definately a lot more old-fashioned, compared to what it is right now." she said.

She may not recognize it by the end of 2020.

Just like the town's favorite couple, Waco leaders decided to do a little "Fixer Upper" project of their own.

Waco will spend a whopping 76 Million dollars on things like road repairs, even taking from the general fund to speed the work.

Waco will also tackle replacement of water and sewer lines and extend them to high-growth areas.

"Pipes that are in the ground, that are aging, will be replaced so we don't have continued maintenance and more costly repairs," explained Larry Holze with the City of Waco.

For the first time, Downtown Waco will extend across the Brazos River, as big renovation projects transform Elm Avenue, and make bridge street into an entertainment district.

Already, new apartments and hotels have begun sprouting in East Waco.

And speaking of the River, Waco's iconic suspension bridge will get it's first total makeover... ever.

"Structurally it needs to be addressed, because we don't want it to float down the river," said Holze.

Other changes for 2020 Include the ongoing I-35 project and the Metropolitan Planning Organization's plans to finish the north leg of loop 340, past highway 84, taking us from South Waco, to Lacy-Lakeview without ever getting on the interstate.

But not all transportation issues involve cars.

One of the most important transportation projects, involves as stretch of I-35 in Bellmead. Plans call for a pedestrian bridge to span the interstate allowing people to walk across to get to the Walmart on the other side.

All this work aims to make Waco more livable, while it also serves an exploding tourism business.

Just one problem:

"It's making it a little difficult for us to find contractors, because contractors are so busy right now,” said Holze.

A good problem to have...even if it does take longer to get this fixer upper project done.

"Yes, anything to improve the view, the look, and the ability of what it can give you," said Mason.

Because, she says, a little "curb appeal" helps all the neighbors.

The latest edition of Greater Waco Business reports: McLennan County's Capitol Improvement Budget for the new year, totals more than 38 Million Dollars.

Lacy-Lakeview will shell out 70 Grand...

Lorena will spend almost 350 Thousand dollars...

McGregor will spend more than one million...

Hewitt, 5 Million...Robinson 7 Million..

Robinson, more than 7 Million...

Woodway...more than 11 Million...

Bellmead, 12 Million.

On the matter of the Metropolitan Planning Organization's transportation plan, The last public meeting to explain it, will take place Monday at the Waco Transit System offices.

An early session gets underwayu at noon... followed by an evening session at 6. Public comment on the plan, closes January 7th.