Your City leaders are hard at work on the initiatives and improvements our residents have asked for as part of the strategic planning process. We created a Capital Improvement Plan which includes many new facilities across Baytown, some of which I have addressed in previous columns, as part of the One City, One Baytown series.
Today I want to highlight three more new buildings in various stages of construction which, when completed, will allow residents and employees to conduct business more efficiently.
First, the new Animal Services and Adoption Shelter will be open to the public in the coming months. This state-of-the-art facility will offer a variety of new features and amenities that will enhance the adoption process, and improve the health and wellbeing of shelter animals.
The new shelter will be capable of housing 63 dog kennels and 78 cat suites, and will have indoor and outdoor adoption “get to know you” areas and a training room for volunteer events.
The health and wellbeing of the animals was the top priority when designing the kennel areas of the new facility, creating a low-stress environment and mitigating the spread of disease. Additionally, the expanded veterinary services wing will improve the shelter’s lifesaving work for sick and injured pets, and will allow for spay and neuter services.
The City looks forward to working toward the goal of becoming a no-kill shelter and adding services that benefit our community. This new facility will be a giant stepping-stone to reaching those goals.
Second, residents who pay their utility bill in person at the customer service office on Market Street will soon have their experience upgraded at a new office on Texas Avenue. The former Citizens Bank, which has been vacant for a number of years and has suffered from neglect and decay, will soon be the new home for utility customer service.
While the drive-thru option on Market Street may be convenient, our staff has simply outgrown a space with cramped working conditions. The existing Citizen’s Bank building will be renovated, and a portion rebuilt to house the City's Utility Billing division.
We will save the exterior facade and add a new roof, and add to the structural integrity of the building. The interior build-out will include a lobby area, expanded area for customer service stations and offices, public and employee restrooms, an employee break room, and spaces for meter testing and operations.
Keep in mind that residents can always pay their bill online and by phone, but if you desire a face-to-face experience, remember that your drive-thru location will close and new office on Texas will open in the summer of 2023.
Finally, you may have seen the recent news that we broke ground on a new Public Safety Complex on Main Street in November. This project is the end point of a four-year journey that took the city from exploring a move into an existing 12-story building to constructing a new facility, and every option in between.
The new complex will house the entire police force and fire administration in a 112,000 square foot new three-story facility on a campus that includes the current courts, jail, and Emergency Operations Center buildings. The project also includes a 31,000 square foot vehicle maintenance facility and two 10,000 square foot police vehicle storage buildings.
The new building will have a shared lobby and community room for both police and fire, and we believe it’s important to include staff amenities, like lockers and a full kitchen in order to support our employees during hurricanes and other emergencies.
As part of this project, we will be making improvements to the current courthouse, which will gain a new entry, lobby, and restrooms.
Our police and fire departments are scheduled to move into the new complex in November of 2023.
As you can see, 2022 will be a year of tremendous progress and growth, and I’m excited about all the great work being accomplished to enhance your quality of life in Baytown. We’ve been afforded the responsibility to provide the highest level of service possible, and we will do so keeping in mind the trust you’ve given us.
I wish you good health, prosperity, and a very happy new year.