Aaron updates progress within City of Early

Pictured is one of the fishing piers that lights up at the Early Town Center. {Photo courtesy of City of Early Facebook page}

Early City Administrator Tony Aaron Friday morning on KOXE provided on an updates on the happenings within the City of Early.

Aaron stated the process of bringing a YMCA to Brown County, to be located at the Early Town Center, continues to move forward.

We have just about finished the process with the architect to give us a rendering and floor plan outlining all the amenities that would be in the YCMA,” Aaron said. “He’s getting the renderings together and the next step would be getting that to the decision makers to call for a bond election for the voters to decide if a YMCA is something they want to fund or not. We’re getting to the point that we can reveal the concept and floor plans and let people see what this would look like.”

Regarding the need for a YMCA locally, Aaron said, “There’s been a call for this for years – what do we do for our families, what do we do for our kids after school, where is a place for kids to go and families to go be involved in recreational activities that are positive. We’ve done our part that we feel needed to be done, which is get all the information together, what it would look like, what it would cost, and then we’ll put it in front of the voters and we’ll see how important it is to them.”

Along with the athletic and physical fitness activities that are traditional associated with the YMCA, Aaron said, “We’ve received requests for things like arts and crafts, homemaking, wildlife education, a lot of things for the population that isn’t necessarily into sports or working out. But getting together for those other type things was important to them, and we were really surprised to see that representation.”

As for when a bond election on the YMCA might be held, Aaron said. “In a perfect world, the March or May election, If not then, in the November cycle. We want to get it up as quick as we can, let the people know what’s going and make a decision.”

The YMCA will exist on the east side of the Town Center, while the park side, “is really coming together,” Aaron said. “We’re getting ready to put up the interpretive signs, so they’ll be signs about wildlife, about some of the history of Brown County, the Pecan Bayou, the railroad that runs through Brown County.”

Regarding other Town Center updates, Aaron said. “The pond is pretty well done. We’re holding it at a lower level than full until we build the boardwalk, and bids for the boardwalk package will be going on soon. Hopefully they’ll be starting construction pretty quickly after the first of the year. I don’t like to give construction projections, but get should have it finished in 2024, and if we’re lucky it will be in the first half. But we have to keep the pond down so we can drill the piers for the boardwalk. We weren’t planning on stocking any trout this winter because of that, but there might be a possibility for a February trout stocking. Weather permitting, we’d like to do that with some other events and make that a little bit of a grand opening. We’ll keep everybody in the loop on that and hope we can put a family fish day together for Brown County.”

In terms of road projects, Aaron said, “We’re close to wrapping up construction on Autumn Drive, closer to the paving portion of that. We’ve received bids back for the sidewalk project in and around neighborhoods around McDonald Park and the connectivity to Early Blvd., along with the Parkway and Orchard area. It will be a $1.5 million project that will use zero local tax dollars. After the first of the year year, the next street project is Mangrum Drive in the Town Center, which will be running north and south along the boardwalk, along with parking associated with boardwalk.”

The Early MDD is also working on projects as well, including one behind Petco and Taco Casa.

The MDD is buying up land that won’t be developed or needs to be redeveloped,” Aaron said. “That particular lot was a lot that was part of the Petco deal that their developers were going to hang on to and not really do anything with. The MDD purchased that lot, we’re bringing the pad up and are in negotiations for the sale of that lot for a development that will come along with that.

The MDD has also bought the former Brownwood Muffler and Automotive building right in front of the mall. We’re working to get a bid package together for that. That building will be torn down and we’ll get the pad site ready for reconstruction.”