Caught up in various stages of delay for nine-plus years, a major capital improvement project would replace nearly all city-owned infrastructure — streets, sidewalks, water, wastewater and drainage systems — in the northern portion of the Victory Gardens neighborhood.
 During the first phase (shown in orange) aging asphalt and utilities that serve about 2⅔ miles of streets will be reconstructed.
 To improve drainage in the flood-prone Victory Gardens neighborhood, the city of San Marcos plans to widen about 3,500 feet of Willow Creek, between Ellis Street and McKie Street. Most of that stretch of the creek is already a concrete flood control channel.
by BRAD ROLLINS
City engineers and consultants will update residents this week on major reconstruction of streets and utilities in the Victory Gardens neighborhood, a project delayed year-after-year for nearly a decade.
The meeting will be 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30 at the Southside Community Center, 518 S. Guadalupe St.
In 2005, San Marcos voters overwhelmingly approved general obligation bond debt to rebuild streets and other basic infrastructure in the Victory Gardens neighborhood, a project estimated at the time to cost about $820,000. In the nine years since, the straightforward streets-and-services project has been expanded to include a sweeping reconstruction of water, wastewater and drainage facilities for a significantly larger area.
The first phase alone — the portion of the neighborhood north of Knox Street plus two streets in the adjacent East Guadalupe neighborhood — is budgeted to cost $11,854,760, according to the city’s 10-year Capital Improvements Program.
As far back as June 2009, the San Marcos City Council borrowed more than $5.3 million for the Victory Garden improvements as part of a larger bond sale. Five years after the certificates of obligation were issued as security on the debt, the city’s rehabilitation of the 71-year-old neighborhood has yet to begin.
In addition to the street and utility work, a coordinated capital project will widen a concrete channel that runs about a half-mile along the footprint of what used to be Willow Creek, one of four primary tributaries that feed the Upper San Marcos River watershed.
Last year, the Texas Department of Transportation replaced the nearby Guadalupe Street bridge over Willow Creek, a low-lying four-lane structure built about 1935.
COVER: A mound of asphalt in the middle of Ellis Street marks a manhole cover in the Victory Gardens neighborhood. Built out during the years following World War II, residents of the Victory Gardens neighborhood have waited for at least nine years for a promised capital improvement program to rebuild its streets and other physical infrastructure. MERCURY PHOTO by BRAD ROLLINSEmail | Print