Concerns raised about day care on Woodlawn

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

Several local residents asked the Alice City Council on Monday to deny a zoning request that would bring a new day care center to Woodlawn Drive, complaining that dangerous traffic in that area would present a hazard to children.

Rosemary Mason, Carmen Mendoza, Alma Hernandez, Raul Rodriguez and Ken Adams all addressed the council Monday, and said several accidents that have occurred on Woodlawn Street in recent years indicate drivers could harm children attending a day care in the area.

Mason informed the council of several accidents that involved cars that left the roadway and ran through fences and into homes on Woodlawn Street, and Mendoza mentioned an accident that occurred this past Saturday in which a car struck her husband's parked truck.

Elva Short, a representative of A&A Enterprises, L.L.C., the company hoping to bring the day care to a building in the 500 block of Woodlawn Drive, said her company was taking steps to ensure safety, such as installing a fence around the property.

City Manager Albert Uresti told the residents the city would increase police presence in the area while a traffic study is conducted, and that more permanent measures would be taken at the conclusion of the study.

The council approved the zoning request, allowing the day care center to move to the area, in a 3-1 vote. Council member Leo Escobar was the only member to vote against the item.

The council voted to approve the expenditure of $6,700 from the depreciation fund to pay the remaining balance on a new communications dispatch console for the police and fire departments. The bulk of the cost of the new equipment was paid through a $79,000 Homeland Security Grant.

The council also approved the acceptance of a $4,300 grant to the Alice Fire Department from Weems Geophysical Inc., an engineering company that conducted surveys in the area last month. The money will be used to repair a thermal imaging scanner for the department, officials said.

The council also authorized the city manager to spend up to $35,000 on a truck that will allow the city to remove runoff waste from the city landfill. The city currently contracts for the service at a cost of $4,000 per week, officials said.

The council also approved procedural items related to the city's Civil Service Commission. The policies implemented by the council are expected to go into effect on Oct. 30.

The council then voted to accept the donation of an iron sculpture to be installed in the downtown area.

The sculpture, which depicts a traditional South Texas scene with a man and woman dancing, is being donated by John Farias, Servando Hinojosa and Ana Alvarado.

In voting to accept the gift, the council agreed to install a concrete base, at an estimated cost of $10,000 to $15,000 for the sculpture.

In non-action items, the council heard a presentation from Jim Carrillo, vice-president of Halff Associates, Inc. on the progress of the City of Alice Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan.