Early Town Center Project
Town Center News
Below is the latest information pertaining to the Town Center Project from most recent to the oldest.
TMCN Sponsor Appreciation Luncheon (10/27/23)
Today was the TMCN team's time to shine! The Visit Early Texas -Early Visitors & Events Center hosted an appreciation luncheon for the sponsors of the sundial project. A big thank you to each of the businesses and families that contributed to this great undertaking! We are so proud to have the Time To Shine Sundial in our great city! It will truly be a legacy in Early's Town Center for generations to come!
Second HAAP Grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife (10/11/23)
Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries Division has awarded the City of Early a second HAAP grant to build kayak launches in the Early Town Center Lake and the Pecan Bayou. HAAP stands for Habitat and Angler Access Program. Projects funded by this grant are intended allow better access to fishing, as well as improve habitats for fish living in these areas. The first HAAP grant award we received was used for fish habitats and docks on the Town Center Lake. These grants have allowed the city to make great improvements to the Town Center that will bring lasting joy for years to come!
See the official Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries Division press release here.
Fishing Dock (08/09/23)
EZ Dock installed the first fishing dock at the Early Town Center Lake! EZ Dock will install the second dock in a couple of weeks. While further construction continues, the lake water level will remain at its current level. After construction is completed, the water level of the lake will be raised 6 to 8 more feet
Walking Bridge (07/31/23)
A breathtaking addition to the new Town Center park. Our new walking bridge was installed this morning. Savage Saint did a fantastic job!
Lake Update (07/19/23)
The Town Center's lake is coming together nicely! Check out our new video to see the updates.
Memorial Benches on the Town Center Walking Trail (07/05/23)
YMCA Announcement (06/13/23)
During the City Council meeting Tony Aaron, City Administrator, introduced the plan to assess the need and interest in building a YMCA in Early's new Town Center. The YMCA Needs Assessment survey will help the city determine what features would be best suited to both Early and Brown County as a whole. Everyone in Early and the surrounding county are encouraged to submit their responses. The City of Early looks forward to fulfilling the needs of the community in such a fun way! Click here to take the YMCA Needs Assessment. For more information about the YMCA project click here.
Developing Islands (06/13/23)
Our Parks & Recreation and Public Works Departments were hard at work this morning, adding grass to the islands located at our Town Center. There's progression being made every day. Teamwork makes dreams become a reality!
Current Progress of the Early Town Center Lake (06/08/23)
The Early Town Center Lake is nearing the completion of its construction. Within the coming weeks, the excavation will be complete and City of Early employees with the assistance of Texas Parks and Wildlife will begin installing shoreline stabilization, building fish habitats, and planting aquatic plants. Two lighted fishing docks will be installed and the lake will be stocked with fish by the end of this summer.
City Administrator Gives Update on Current Progress (04/14/23)
For the 2023 State of The City Presentation, Early Mayor, Robert Mangrum interview City Administrator Tony Aaron to give an update of the current progress and timeline of the Town Center Project. You can watch that full interview below.
TMCN Program to Construct Sun Dial (04/14/23)
Early High School and the City of Early have partnered for many years to bring several features around town to the City through the TMCN Leadership Program. This year, the program is working to construct a sun dial with "Stonehenge" style aesthetics. The pillars that mark the hours will graduate from 6ft at the 6am pillar up to 12 feet at 12 noon and back down to 6ft at 6pm. The gnomon that will cast the shadow to mark the hour will stand at an impressive 24 feet high and will be very recognizable. To hear more about the project, you can watch the full video by clicking here.
Current Progress of the Early Town Center Lake (01/05/23)
Progress is made on the Town Center Lake every day with crews currently dredging and digging out the pond to a depth of 16 feet. Multiple excavators can be found around the area hauling dirt from the lake and placing it on the East side of the property where it waits to be used to build up other areas of the Town Center. So far, the dirt from the lake has been used to build up the pad for the batting cages. The lake still has around 6 feet in depth to be dug out before the crews begin to shape the pond. Once the water body is shaped, Texas Parks and Wildlife will begin building the shorelines and fish habitats around the pond before they stock it with bass, sunfish, and trout in the winter. Below are a few images of the progress so far.
Outdoor Classroom Constructed (12/16/22)
One vision for the Town Center Park was always to have an outdoor classroom that will serve many people of varying uses. The main use of this classroom is to provide students with a place to come and learn about local wildlife, plant life and our own ecosystem. The outdoor classroom is constructed to look like the outline of the old Early School building that is no longer in use but serves as a historical marker for Early citizens and alumni. This outdoor classroom will be a great place for people to picnic, hangout, have an acoustic music set or even host a wedding. Still to come for the classroom is lighting, benches and a lighted walking trail that leads to the classroom.
This project was funded in-part by the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Council Members and MDD Board Tours Town Center (11/17/22)
The Early City Council and Municipal Development District Board Members had a chance to take a tour of the current state of the Town Center in order to formulate a better idea of what to expect in the coming years. It's always fun to hear about the Town Center but when you can go out and visualize it in person, it puts everything into perspective. Our Council Members and MDD Board have both been a huge part in the plans for the Town Center, so taking frequent visits to understand better what is being done, is very helpful and very important in order to ensure that the right decisions for our citizens are being made.
Kelcy Way and Buena Vista 95% Complete (11/15/22)
Kelcy Way is 95% complete and is only awaiting the installation of a few streetlights and installation of landscaping. Here are photos that show the current status of the two roads and the parking lot.
Updated Photos of Kelcy Way & Buena Vista (10/06/22)
Concrete work for Kelcy Way and Buena Vista has been completed and now it awaits the laying of hot mix. The road should be completed by the end of October and open to the public.
Lake Reconstruction Bid Awarded to Mobley Construction LLC (08/15/22)
On July 17, 2022, the City of Early solicited for bids on the construction of the Town Center Lake. Five bids came in with the highest being $1.8 million and the lowest being $384 thousand. On August 15, after having reviewed these bids in private with other administrative employees, City Administrator Tony Aaron made a suggestion to the City Council to award the bid to Mobley Construction LLC in the amount of $396,363. Mobley Construction is expected to begin construction by the beginning of October and be completed by the end of March. Once Mobley Construction is done with their portion of the work, the City along with Texas Parks and Wildlife will begin working on shoreline stabilization, habitat construction and erosion control. Then the piers will be constructed, the lake will be filled and the fish will be added. The lake is expected to be opened to the public in August of 2023.
High Resolution Renderings of the Boardwalk Released (06-23-22)
Schwarz-Hanson Architects created renderings of what our vision is for the boardwalk. As you can see in the photos, the boardwalk is designed to be a social area that welcomes many people to come and spend time outdoors shopping, eating, sight-seeing or just hanging out. There will be lights strung across the boardwalk to allow for soft lighting in the evenings. There are fire pits in specific areas for colder evenings and areas of the boardwalk that jut out which could act as a stage area for a performance. We anticipate the boardwalk to be a highly popular space that people from near and far will enjoy. Shaping of the pond continues as of June 23rd and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2023. The boardwalk is currently in the engineering phase.
LCRA Awards $50,000 Grant (06-06-22)
The City of Early will be able to construct a trail with educational signs and an outdoor classroom thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $54,000 in matching contributions, will construct a trailhead with lighting, a walkway, educational signage and an outdoor classroom in the new Early Town Center Park and Pond recreation area.
Plan for Batting Cages Discussed at Council Meeting (04-12-22)
The batting cages are a component of the Town Center Park that was very well received by the public and had the majority of votes when we had residents vote on several different amenity options. On April 12, the City Council met at city Hall and on the agenda was the discussion of the batting cages. The batting cages will contain 5 stalls and will be coin-operated and lit for use after dark. Currently, the design of the sub-base (soil under the batting cages) is in engineering and once that is completed, we will go out for bids on the construction of the batting cages and construction can be expected to begin by the end of the summer in 2022. Below are some drawings of what the batting cages will look like with an additional example photo.
Kelcy Way and Buena Vista Construction Begins (02-28-22)
The shaping of Kelcy Way and the parking lot behind Humphrey Pete's began in February and acts as the opening of the entire Town Center Project. Once Kelcy Way and Buena Vista are completed, citizens and those traveling through will begin to see the rest of the recreational and mixed-use sides of the project begin to take shape. Below is the timeline of those roads and a a few pictures to show that progress.
KTAB News Story about Town Center (1-13-22)
Commercial Master Plan is Accepted by City Council (10-26-21)
On October 26, 2021, the Early City Council met at City Hall to listen to a presentation given by Tod Hanson of Schwartz and Hanson regarding the design of the master plan that had been in production for a few weeks. Months prior, the Council voted to hire Schwartz and Hanson out of Fort Worth to design a concept for our Town Center's Commercial side. Below you can watch Mr. Hanson's presentation as he shares the Masterplan's ideas for streets with roundabouts, parking situations, a boardwalk, several business, green spaces and more.
Town Center Pond Fish Relocation (10-13-21)
On October 13th, 2021, Clearwater Consulting put a boat on the pond that was used for the relocation of fish within the pond. Once the Early MDD purchased the land that was to become the Early Town Center, the pond then became public waters which meant that the fish within the pond also became public waters. So in order to remain within compliance of the Texas Parks and Wildlife's stipulations for their grant, the fish were relocated via a boat with electric probes. The probes would shock the water which temporarily stunned the fish (2-3 seconds). The fish were then scooped up, put into a live well and then transferred to the Pecan Bayou. Below is a video of the process.
Recreation Master Plan Accepted (8-10-21)
TPWD Presentation (6-8-21)
On Tuesday June 8th of 2021, a representative from Texas Parks and Wildlife came and spoke to the City Council Members and the public that attended about the possibilities that lie with the pond and future creation of a public fishing pond. TPWD Fishing Pond Presentation
Public Hearing (5-27-2021)
A public hearing was held in May to give citizens the opportunity to learn more in depth about the recreational side of the development. Citizens were also given the opportunity to ask questions, raise concerns or just give general input. In addition, there were 18 boards with an amenity on each board and a description of that amenity. Citizens were then given 18 stars to act as "votes." Citizens were allowed to place how ever many stars they wished on those boards.
The event was a success and the City of Early learned a lot about the desires of the public. A link to the survey was posted on this website and on Facebook for a few weeks following the meeting to ensure that many others could vote on their favorite amenities for the park. This public hearing opened up much discussion with the public and answered several concerns, you can see and hear all of that by watching the video below!
Three Recreational Concepts (5-20-21)
On May 20, 2021, the City of Early released three renderings of potential use for the future recreational side of the property. The public had tons of input and discussion pertaining to these renderings. Below are the three initial plans which were later altered to fit the people's input. The Early MDD hired Brian Ross with Ross Golf Design to study and develop several recreational concepts for the project and here is what he created:
The Trip for Inspiration (4-20-21)
On April 20, 2021, the Early Municipal Development District board and city staff took a day trip to several towns around the Fort Worth area. These towns included, Granbury, Benbrook, Grapevine, Southlake, Fort Worth and Roanoke. The board traveled to these towns to see examples of some of the elements that could become a part of this development. A report of this research trip was shared with the Early City Council and will be made part of public hearings in the near future.
Below are photographs from this trip that show a few of those elements and some of the inspiration for the project:
This pier in Granbury, TX is a terrific example of what you might see in the commercial development side of the property overlooking the water feature.
Another look at the pier in Granbury, TX.
These stop signs in Roanoke, TX caught the eyes of the MDD board. This is a style that you might find in the commercial side of the development.
Here are some apartments in Roanoke, TX that have shopping on the first floor. This is an element within the commercial development that has been discussed in MDD meetings.
The streets of Roanoke, TX
The Early Municipal Development District Board in Roanoke, TX as they wrapped up their trip across the state. This photo shows the aesthetics of the roads in Roanoke which has the closest look to what the City of Early is going for in regards to the commercial side of the property.
These are the batting cages in Benbrook, TX. The City of Early has proposed the possibility of adding batting cages to the recreation portion of the Town Center project and this is a great example of what they may look like.
An element that the MDD board really enjoyed was this park area in Southlake, TX. The aesthetics of the landscaping along with the benches, lighting, trashcans, etc., are all elements that you may find in the Town Center Development.
A gazebo such as this one in Southlake, TX could be found in the recreational side of the property and serve as an amphitheater as well as a great location for events.
Another small gazebo that may be found along the water line in the recreational portion of the property. This one was found in Grapevine, TX.
Steps to making the Town Center Vision a reality
"Kelcy Way" design and Construction
Access to the property and future Town Center will exist in the near future. The City of Early has employed Volkert Engineering to design a street being called "Kelcy Way" Named after a family of long term residence to the City of Early and long term owners of the property, Kelcy Way will begin off of the Old May road behind the Cefco gas station. It will continue along the back of several business on Early Blvd. and provide those businesses with another route for the customers to access them. The road will end behind Humphry Pete's with a large public 100+ parking lot. The lot will provide overflow parking for area businesses and will also be the parking of the recreational area of the property. Additionally, another new road will be built between O Riley's and La Botana that will connect Early Blvd. and the newly constructed Kelcy Way. Construction plans are expected to be completed this summer with construction of the roads to begin as soon as late summer or early fall. The estimated cost of construction is yet to be determined, but It should be noted that it will be paid for with sales tax generated from the growing and outstanding local economy of Early, Texas.
Below is an early rendering of what these roads and parking lots could look like.
Timeline for the Project
As you can imagine, putting a timeline in place for a project of this magnitude and diversity is no easy task. While there are many things happening all at the same time we are setting our goal of completion by individual projects within the overall vision. The completion of Kelcy Way is necessary to access the recreational areas, and to provide access and utilities up to the mixed-use development area. By the time that the construction component of that project kicks off, we can begin to think about the next phase of road and utility design. At this time, we will also be working on selling the property to commercial developers for them to begin their planning. Overall we anticipate Kelcy Way to be completed in the first part of 2022; The recreational components to begin construction in 2022; and By the beginning of 2023 you should see the construction of some of the first commercial and multi-family projects.
With a project of this size 5 to 10 years is not a long time for it to take to build it out. However, if the right development company identifies and sees the value of our project this timeline could be greatly accelerated. We strongly believe that public private partnerships is the key to having a successful project and completing it at the lowest possible cost to the citizens of Early, Texas
Watch this video of Larry McConn speaking about the project!
There's plenty of commercial and residential growth here and this is just another opportunity to see that growth continue. The city's hope is that these plans for a town center will show developers that are interested in investing in Early that we are receptive to growth and that there is a vision and a distinct image of the future of the City of Early.
Recreational Side - The West side of the property is within the flood plain and will act as the recreational side of this Town Center, click this link to see more information about that side.
Commercial Side - The East side of the property will be commercial. Click the link to find out more about that side.