Staff reports

Continued growth and development is on the horizon in the new year - and this decade - for the city of Melissa.

According to a news release, the reconfiguration and construction of transportation corridors are “key factors that officials agree will contribute to and accelerate the city’s forward progress on several levels, including supporting the critical retail sector.”

Given the completion of US 75 through Melissa, as well as current construction on State Highway 121, the widening and modernization of State Highway 5 took on a greater focus in 2019.

“The Melissa City Council has labeled that as a major priority, and City Manager Jason Little has worked tirelessly to establish and nurture the conditions, monetary and otherwise, required for the critical project to proceed,” it was explained in the release.

Little “developed a convincing case to set aside funding that would move the project forward, presenting a decisive argument to the Regional Transportation Council of the North Central Texas Council of Governments.”

As a result, support was secured for $35 million earmarked for all phases of construction of SH 5, a major north-south thoroughfare, within Melissa’s boundaries. Also, right-of-way for the city’s portion of the expansion was acquired.

During the spring of 2019, the City of Melissa was granted Member City status by the North Texas Municipal Water District following several years of advocating for the change from Customer City status. This designation brings privileges that include the elimination of a 20 percent surcharge on wastewater services.

The demolition of the structure at the former SteelFab site commenced in 2019.

During discussions about clearing the city-owned property, cost estimates in the range of $250,000 were considered, as well as plans to send the resulting demolition waste and other materials to a landfill.

However, following additional discussions and with the assistance of SteelFab Inc., city staff instead partnered with a demolition company that dismantled and removed the steel structure, as well as other materials onsite. The city of Melissa was paid $6,000 for the rights to remove the majority of the material, which will be reassembled at a site elsewhere in the state versus ending up in a landfill.

The city received a Texas Department of Transportation Green Ribbon grant last year, the funds from which will be employed to restore landscaped areas around the intersection of US 75 and SH 121.

The project, led by an engineering and design firm, includes erosion control structures, a silo for storing stormwater and native plants, shrubs and trees that are hospitable to migrating birds and insects, which also work to stabilize soils. Permanent signage featuring the city of Melissa’s logo is also included.

Five outdoor warning sirens were added to the city’s emergency preparedness program in late 2019. These were placed in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Besides providing weather-related warnings the sirens, which can transmit vocal messages, will also be used to alert those nearby about other emergencies.

Discussions began last year with the Dallas Area Transit Authority, which owns the rail line on the eastside of Melissa, as the city looks to secure an accord to locate the permanent rail line crossing along Harrison Street versus Cooper Street.

As the result of such an agreement, the proposed Melissa downtown sector would likely be able to proceed without significant alterations that would otherwise be necessary with a crossing on Cooper Street.

It would also allow the city’s plan to extend Melissa Road from SH 5 to SH 121 to proceed unaltered. Infrastructure requirements for the expected downtown businesses and residences would also be able to proceed unchanged.

A pair of technology projects were also completed in 2019 that offered some insight into Melissa’s future.

An animation demonstrated the commercial and industrial development potential that exists at the intersection of US 75 and SH 121.

Meanwhile, the Community Profile Dashboard is an interactive file that may prove valuable for developers, homebuilders, commercial and residential real estate brokers as well as others by providing critical details about a variety of factors and metrics within the city. The dashboard is set to be released this month.

“The successes of Melissa have all been done with a lower ratio of personnel in relation to its growing population,” the release explains, despite the fact that the city’s “substantial residential growth” in recent years has necessitated an increase in the number of services required of city staff.

City Manager Little “has opted to find innovative ways to maintain a highly regarded service level while keeping employee hiring below the standard for similar-sized cities.”

This allows for funding to be concentrated on parks as well as infrastructure projects that provide the water, wastewater and utility lines needed “for continued development of residential and commercial expansion.” The city average is less than three employees per 1,000 population, which is below the median of comparable cities.

Finally, in 2019, the city established 24-hour fire coverage with three crews of full-time, trained firefighters. It also added a modernized fire truck to its inventory.

“The new year’s start of the next decade will prove to be a busy time for Melissa,” the release explained, “a community primed to successfully confront what’s ahead.”