Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker and Austin College President Marjorie Hass helped Downtown Sherman Preservation and Revitalization, Inc. dedicate the Downtown Sherman Streetscape Project on Thursday evening at the steps of the Grayson County Courthouse.
DSP&R completed the project earlier this year with the installation of trees in the downtown area along Houston Street and Lamar Street, west of Crockett Street. The city finished construction on the pedestrian-friendly plazas in the downtown area in November of last year.
DSP&R Executive Director Karen Tooley opened the dedication ceremony with a welcome to the nearly 100 people who turned out for the event, before turning the microphone over to Board member Bob Minshew for introductions of Hass, Wacker and DSP&R Board President David Baca.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to gather and think about all of the things we want to plant together and all of the ways we want to water our community and see it grow,” Hass said. “We know that can’t happen unless we partner together. We all need to come together and when we do that, there’s nothing that we can’t accomplish.”
During her remarks, Wacker introduced the City Council members and city staff on hand for the ceremony, before reflecting on the work that led up to Thursday’s dedication.
“It was 20 years ago that Sherman became a Main Street City, and we began what I would call the serious work of reclaiming downtown Sherman,” Wacker said. “This is a game-changer for our city — to have this done. It gives a whole new face for people traveling through and into our downtown. It cements the fact that we believe that this is the heart of our town, the crossroads for the arts, for culture, for business and government to serve the citizens — not just of this city, but as the county seat to do more for all those who live and work in Grayson County.”
Baca read a list of people and businesses that sponsored trees in the project and encouraged everyone to continue the process in the future.
“We really wanted this to be a public and private partnership,” Baca said. “We believe those are the most successful ways we can contribute to our society. We do hope that this catches on and other private citizens will take it upon themselves to do things that help beautify Sherman.”
The Sherman City Council initially sought out funding for the Streetscape project from the Texas Department of Transportation in 2009, while also setting aside funds for the construction. The city was awarded a federal grant administered through TxDOT in July 2010. The grant, executed in March 2012, was for the amount of $353,978, which was 80 percent of certain aspects of the project.
Vessels Construction was awarded the contract for the roadwork work in May 2012 with a low bid of $610,187. Once work got underway, DSP&R requested the opportunity to install the trees intended for the downtown streets. Removing the trees from the contract saved the city $8,371.