Through a vote from the Wharton City Council, a couple of streets that were once maintained by the city will no longer be opened as a thoroughfare as elected officials chose to abandon two street sections in the city that are associated with the Wharton Independent School District.
Old Boling Road from Alabama Road to John Knox Street and a section of North Abell Street from East Ahldag Street to East Belle Avenue were “abandoned” to make room for improvements for the Wharton Sports Complex, which will continue to house the Wharton Tigers baseball team and the Wharton Lady Tigers softball team.
The council approved the abandonment of both streets at is July 22 regular meeting, which was attended by WISD Superintendent Tina Herrington.
The action by the council at its Monday, Aug. 26 meeting was to draft ordinances for the abandonment to be recorded by City Secretary’s Office.
The City of Wharton has been in discussions with Herrington since Nov. 26, 2018 for the WISD bond improvements.
Wharton ISD Board of Trustees were told months ago that the WISD Athletic Field House and practice field are separated from the main campus by North Abell Street. And with the proposal of a new agriculture education project center and development of the Koehl property, it was prudent to close the entire length from East Belle Avenue to East Ahldag Avenue.
WISD told trustees that since there are numerous building entrances on the east side of Abell Street, portions of street would remain paved for access to the buildings as well as use by emergency response vehicles and/or fire apparatus vehicles and student and staff vehicular access to the ag center.
In February, Herrington explained, through a letter to Wharton City Manager Andres Garza, that WISD, which considers the streets to be “non-collector streets and minor” would assume surface rights to the property and grant easement to the city for any known existing utilities which are currently found.
She also said the development of these closures would be green space for detention of storm water, and provide safe pedestrian access at both street closures.
“We also feel that it will be advantageous for the City of Wharton specific to the maintenance of existing paved minor streets a reduction of traffic at C.G. Sivells Elementary School,” Herrington said in the Feb. 18 letter.
Deborah Cenko, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, said “the Church had no objection to the closure of such portion of Old Boling Highway.”
Once Wharton Community Development Director Gwyneth Teves read a memorandum to council from her to Garza, only District 4 Councilman Don Mueller uttered some words.
He still didn’t fully understand why Wharton ISD opted to close Old Boling Road and have a lone entry.