I would like to share some feedback from our core team meeting with TCHD and the construction team (lead architects, civil engineer, landscape architect, project manager) last night.
The meeting was well attended and we were very well represented by a North Park Estate board member, NPENA residents, GWNA leadership, Father Rodriguez and our neighborhood’s friend George Gentile, owner of Culvers. (Thank you all for attending and your insightful feedback.)
Situation Summary: There have been revisions to the site map and building proposed early. The revisions are very good for our neighborhood and were spurred by the new Heritage Tree Ordinance, passed in February. This project is the first major project in the City that is being driven by this ordinance. Because of key trees on the site, the position of the building moved slightly to go around existing tree canopies.
The most important change is that the building will now have a two story section. Because the building can not encroach the canopies of the trees, the building’s footprint had to be reduced. The second floor section will replace the lost footage and will not be taller than the trees.
Another important site change will be the retention pond on Parkfield will be eliminated and will now be surface parking instead. The retention pond on the Austin Park side will be expanded to run along the Austin Park frontage and wrap around two clusters of protected trees. This means there will not be an exit onto Austin Park Lane.
Not discussed were the operational issues of the facility. The interior space design which is a function of the services to be provided at this location has not been finalized. There will be another core team meeting in May to discuss the interior space, services and operational issues.
Later in mid June, TCHD will host an open house for the community to show the new building design and field any remaining questions. Construction is expected to start on September 10th and the building will open for health services in August of 2011.
There are other outstanding issues that need to be resolved by the community and TCHD. We will need your feed back and help with these issues.
1.) Fencing along back property line. The current design has a 35 ft un-improved buffer along the north side (Gemini Dr) boundary. The challenges of double fencing were discussed, as well as leaving each neighbor to his own fence solution along this boundary. My concerns are two: aesthetics and public safety. Currently the property line looks like a quilt patchwork of different fencing materials. The safety concern is that we may have situations where private fences fall in disrepair and open gaps form between this public property into private property. My suggestion would be that TCHD build and be responsible for a permanent concrete fence (similar to Wells Branch). This would mean that all properties bordering the TCHD site would have the same back fence style.
Action item: Property owners with bordering land to the TCHD, please let me know if you are agreeable to TCHD replacing your fences with a uniform fence. I also need to know what fence material would be agreeable. Please respond by Monday, April 26th.
2.) Northeast Clinic closure: The Braker clinic will be a “replacement” clinic for the soon to be closed Northeast Clinic. Current NE patients will be moved to other surrounding clinics. The Braker clinic will be more specialty oriented, so it will be receiving patients from all over the county and especially the northern section of the county. The closure of the NE Clinic will leave a gap in health care access in that area of town.
Action item: Please share this information with your friends in the Northeast area of town, with civic, social and religious organizations that serve this area. It is important that the community affected by this closure have a chance to mobilize early to find solutions that work for their health needs. GWNA will assist will information and introductions to decision makers at TCHD to facilitate communication and partnerships.
3.) Transportation issues: Traffic control & Capital Metro: Bus routes, bus stops, traffic signals, and crosswalks were discussed. There were no real solutions offered to these issues. The bus routes serving this area and the bus stops will impact about 15% of the clinic’s patients. The traffic signals and crosswalks are closely tied to the locations of the bus stops.
Action item: Please share this information with anyone you know will be affected by possible changes in bus routes or stops. Please forward any information or concerns you have about bus service and stops to this area to me as soon as possible. (Although we tasked TCHD to explore the impact and possible solutions, we need to be proactive in this issue to protect the interests of our residents who may be impacted if area routes or stops are modified.)
More details will be provided as they become available. Please feel free to share this information with your networks and forward any questions or concerns to me. We are prepare a list of community concerns that will be presented to TCHD and the project manager.
Thank you for your continual support and interest in this project and our community.
Francoise Luca [email protected]
Gracywoods Neighborhood Association