Highway 99 key to boosting Live Oak economy
The City Council meets at 7 p.m. today in the council chambers, 9955 Live Oak Blvd.
Highway 99 is how many people know Live Oak, says a city councilman who sees improving the corridor as a key to boosting the local economy.
"If it's tattered, that reflects the wrong image," Gary Baland said.
The highway is among matters the City Council will consider tonight when it takes up the community and economic development action plan for Live Oak.
Last year's economic plan also put work along the highway as a high priority. That plan called for completing improvements to Highway 99 and attracting new investment along the corridor to establish it as the Main Street of Live Oak.
City Manager Jim Goodwin said Tuesday that the city will apply again for state Safe Routes to Schools funding to pay for improvements to Kola Street off Highway 99. Several grant appl cations have been submitted but not approved.
A Thanksgiving Day accident led the owner of Betty's Mexican Restaurant near Kola to decry frequent collisions along the highway and to call for improving the route.
The city's master plan calls for improvements and a traffic light at Elm Street and Highway 99 — about a half-mile south of Kola — is expected to be completed this spring. The Elm Street work costs more than $1 million and includes a sidewalk to Pennington Road.
The 2011 renovation of the Live Oak train depot — which had been a dilapidated, vacant structure since the early 1990s and is now home to a pizza restaurant has helped the highway corridor — the city manager said.
"It's a huge change," Goodwin said.
A progress report last month on the 2012 economic plan noted that Geo Corp., owners of the former Leo Chesney Center correctional facility, told the city it is very unlikely the corporation will use the property again for corrections.
Other matters in the community and economic development plan include considering televising Live Oak City Council and Planning Commission meetings.