FAIRFIELD — North Texas Street will continue to see changes in coming months.
On the northern end near Manuel Campos Parkway, a Chevron station is under construction. Fairfield is marketing the city-owned, former Howard Johnson’s property. Another nearby city-owned property could someday be home to a bank, fast food restaurant and retail.
“That whole quadrant there’s going to see a lot of development,” Fairfield Community Development Director Erin Beavers told a group of about two dozen North Texas Street merchants Thursday.
Other areas of North Texas Street will see changes as well. Walgreens is under construction near Cement Hill Road and a dialysis center is to be built at 1800 N. Texas St.
The North Texas Street Business Association held its Business Resource Fair at the Paradise Valley Golf Course Clubhouse. Beavers, Mayor Harry Price, City Manager Sean Quinn, Assistant City Manager David White, Public Works Director George Hicks, Police Chief Walt Tibbet, Senior Economic Development Project Manager Karl Dumas and Deputy Fire Chief Jorge Merodio took part in a roundtable discussion.
Beavers said the dialysis center should help North Texas Street businesses. People will drop off family members there and could go to local businesses while they are waiting, he said.
Randy Blankenchip of Texas Roadhouse asked whether construction planned for the north end of the street near Manuel Campos Parkway will hamper drivers from entering and leaving nearby Interstate 80. His restaurant is nearby.
Fairfield in recent years made road improvements at and near the I-80 interchange at North Texas Street, Hicks said. There should be few if any lane closures on North Texas Street during the various commercial construction projects, he said.
Another audience member asked if North Texas Street and Fairfield as a whole could see more family entertainment businesses, such as a bowling alley or skating rink. North Texas Street at one point had both such businesses, but they closed years ago.
Businesses such as bowling alleys these days are smaller and are usually not stand-alone businesses, Dumas said. They are part of retail centers, he said.
The former bowling alley site on North Texas Street – now a vacant lot – is irregularly shaped and four acres, Dumas said. That’s too small for a retail center.
“There is some chance a family orientated entertainment (business) could go in there, but it’s unlikely because of the size,” Dumas said. “It can happen (in Fairfield) – it’s just not as likely on North Texas Street.”
More likely at the former bowling alley site is homes in the back of the lot and retail in the front, he said.
Police Chief Tibbet talked about the homeless situation and aggressive panhandling. He said the Police Department can do a lot to make sure businesses that take strong action against trespassers don’t face retaliation. The Police Department is working with social service agencies to address the situation, which can involve such things as mental health and substance abuse issues, he said.
Catherine Grimard, executive director of the North Texas Street Business Association, talked about the association’s crime watch program. Businesses in an area meet with Fairfield Police Department officials and learn tools to handle aggressive panhandling. In one instance, groups of aggressive panhandlers left an area.
“Unfortunately, it is something that is cyclical,” she said. “You may push the problem down the road and it comes back.”
Then businesses have to work together to address the situation again, she said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.