Early Town Center Project
About This Project
In 2020, the Early Municipal Development District purchased 65 acres of land that runs adjacent to the Pecan Bayou. It did not take long before there was an agreement for the future of the property. It should be used to develop a Town Center.
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.
Town Center News
Below is the latest information pertaining to the Town Center Project from most recent to the oldest.
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.
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.