ANNA - On Tuesday, the Anna City Council once again met with COVID-19-related social distancing measures in place.
Instead of in their usual seats, council members and city staff were spread out across the modestly sized room. With speakers and invited guests taking up much of the remaining space, the general public was not allowed to attend the meeting.
Instead, they were directed to submit comments via email and watch the proceedings online.
During an early break in the meeting, several council members expressed their frustration with the setup and hope to return to normal meeting conditions soon.
Mayor proposes diversity council
Saying that he was inspired by a community rally June 7, Mayor Nate Pike called for the creation of a diversity council consisting of community members as well as the city council, staff and police department.
Pike said it is important to continue the dialogue that has been started and to make sure they continue to come together and discuss issues regarding race and diversity.
“Let’s put changes in place for the future so that an event like what happened in Minneapolis never happens in Anna,” he said.
City staff has been directed to draft a recommendation that Pike hopes will be on the council’s next agenda.
Public Works Director Greg Peters updated the council on options for the western extension of Rosamond Parkway between U.S. 75 and State Highway 5, as well as the eastern segment from Highway 5 to Houston Street.
That eastward extension has now become a higher priority since Anna ISD plans to open a new school next year near the intersection of Houston Street and FM 425.
Without the road, city leaders are concerned that school traffic will overwhelm residential streets in Sweetwater Crossing.
Original long-term plans called for a freeway-style bridge over Highway 5. City staff and council members agreed that option was no longer preferable or financially feasible.
Instead, Peters, who has an extensive engineering background, proposed designing the road himself. It would initially be a two-lane street that could later be expanded to a divided four-lane road.
In addition to cost savings, the move would allow the city to better control the tight timeline. The new elementary school is slated to open in 2021.
Pike and members of the council seemed satisfied with Peters’ concept. The sticking point may be who picks up the tab.
Councilman John Beazley said he would not support the plan if Anna ISD doesn’t agree to pay its share.
Pike agreed, saying the city would soon meet with school district officials to explore ways to shares costs on the project.