Midland City Council hears first information on cost of downtown entertainment district

Midland City Council received a first glimpse of what a downtown entertainment district could look like, including $838,000 in capital expenditures and annual operating expenses of $514,977.

The entertainment district is designed to help bring more life to downtown and complement the Bush Convention Center, Centennial Park and other existing businesses.

The concept of the entertainment district is not set in stone. Midland City Council is currently considering information. The concept, presented to them Tuesday before the regular meeting of city officials, shows an area surrounding Centennial Park and the Bush Convention Center. The boundaries are generally Illinois Avenue on the north, Big Spring Street on the west, Baird Street on the east, and Missouri Street on the south.

Included on the Entertainment District overlay map are the Doubletree Hilton Midland Plaza, Basin PBS, Wall Street Bar and Grill, Cancun Grill, Pi Social, the Micromarket along Wall Street, and the Yucca Theater, home of Summer Mummers.

City officials told the council that the area is smaller than some would have liked but was also “more manageable”. The presentation also included a slide on new land uses, including interactive art, al fresco restaurants, pop-up shops and parklets, which are sidewalk extensions that provide more space and amenities for people using the street.

The creation of an entertainment district would allow existing businesses (such as bars, nightclubs, restaurants, distilleries and lounges) and those wishing to bring events downtown (such as festivals) not to apply for special use regulations.

Excerpt from the presentation of the City of Midland Entertainment District.

Excerpt from the presentation of the City of Midland Entertainment District.

City of Mittelland

City leaders heard about important design elements such as alley improvements, better lighting, signage, “welcome street furniture”, landscaping and bollards used to demarcate an area around an area.

They also heard about street transformation opportunities, such as kerb-free streets, clearly striped pedestrian crossings, reduced speed limits, narrow lane widths, wider sidewalks, trees, and lighting that illuminates all walking areas.

Part of the presentation also included the potential redesign of Texas Avenue from Big Spring East to Main Street. One of those options involved reducing lanes. Similar changes were made to Wall Street east of Big Spring years ago.

City officials added that the estimated cost of the entertainment district could be $838,000 initially, including $750,000 for Texas Avenue reconstructions, $70,000 for permanent Wall Street bollards, $20,000 for signage, $20,000 for trash containers and $48,000 for maintenance vehicles.

Annual operating expenses of $514,977 included $100,000 for insurance, $156,000 for security, $86,546 for maintenance personnel, $79,917 for a parking attendant, and $92,514 for a downtown coordinator .

No decisions have been made about revenue streams or whether businesses within the entertainment zone will be evaluated to help fund the improvements.

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