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Signage, illegal turn solutions on council agenda

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in News

Deer Park City Council will discuss signage at the Community Center relating to carrying handguns on the premises as well as possible solutions to illegal turns at the intersection of Railroad Street and Center. The workshop begins at 6:45 p.m., with the council meeting to follow at 7:30 p.m.

damagedsign 2In August, an oversized load truck illegally turning from Railroad Avenue to Center Street clipped and damaged one of the city's gateway monuments. Since the beginning of the year, three more trucks have damaged the intersection and monument while performing illegal turns. Photo by Bobby Vasquez.At Tuesday’s regular council meeting and workshop, council will discuss and later take action on an item regarding handgun signage at the Community Center. The 6:45 workshop and 7:30 regular meeting both take place at City Hall, 710 E. San Augustine St.

According to memos from the City Manager’s office, last year the city placed signs at all entry points of the Community Center restricting guns from the building because the facility houses a preschool program. The signs were affixed in accordance with state law which restricts openly carried or concealed weapons on the premises of a school.

After the signs were placed, a complaint was filed with the State Attorney General’s Office questioning the legality of the signs, leading to a formal investigation by the attorney general’s office. In December of 2016, the AG’s office found the city should remove all signs from the building’s entrance except for the entrance on the southeast portion of the building which services only the pre-school facility.

Should council approve a resolution later in the evening, those signs will be replaced with one that reads: “This building houses The Community Center Pre-School, which conducts classes each weekday from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. During school hours all weapons are prohibited pursuant to Penal Code Section 46.03(a)(1). An offense under that section is a third degree felony.”

Council will also discuss possible solutions to illegal turns at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Center Street. Over the past several weeks, city staff witnessed a rise in eastbound traffic on Railroad Avenue illegally turning northbound onto Center Street.

According to the city manager’s memos, this traffic often includes large tractor-trailers which damage the new Gateway monuments located on North Center Street. Last year the Gateway monument on the west side of North Center Street sustained $50,000 in damage when an errant 18-wheeler turned northbound onto Center Street off of Railroad Avenue. In 2017 alone there have been three additional Gateway damage incidents. In early January, the median was leveled by an unknown diesel. Staff made appropriate repairs to return the median to its original condition, only to have the median struck again less than a week later by another unknown tractor-trailer. The city’s Public Works crews once again made median repairs which remain in place. However, in mid-February yet another unknown errant diesel illegally turned onto Center Street from Railroad Avenue, taking such a wide turn the driver damaged the eastside monument and ruining its ground lighting.

During the workshop, council will also discuss participation in shared legislative monitoring services with other local municipalities.

The evening’s council agenda includes action on revising the city’s employee travel policy; authorizing the city’s participation in the US Communities Government Purchasing Alliance; budget amendments; and the second of three readings of amending the zoning ordinance.