Residents voiced their concerns about the prospect of closing off a portion of Lyons Avenue in the name of progress for the Rose Garden Complex.
After 10 months of work, the Tyler City Council on Wednesday approved a long-range master plan for the Rose Garden Complex. It's a 20- to 25-year plan for the area, which includes Harvey Hall, The Rose Garden Center, the historic Mayfair concert hall, the Tyler Civic Theatre, the East Texas State Fair, as well as Tyler ISD and Tyler Junior College sports facilities.
To help traffic, the plan proposes extending Houston Street to Parkdale Drive and closing off a portion of Lyons Avenue, where it connects to Front Street, to allow for the development of Windsor Grove Park.
Two speakers, representing a group of residents in the gallery spoke in position of altering Lyons.
After hearing their concerns, the Council mandated a traffic study be done before the streets are reconfigured. The measure was part of the approval of the master plan, as a directive to future councils. Because of the long-range nature of the plan, it's unlikely any of the current members will be on the Council when that part of the plan is enacted.
"Already Lyons is overused," Councilman Darryl Bowdre said. "Sometime we have to sit through three light cycles to get through traffic. I agree we need to do a traffic study and impact study on what that would look like because it's already dangerous. It will create a quagmire, but I won't use it. I'll be dead by the time this comes about."
City staff said the intention was to close Lyons off to make Windsor Park safe to use. Proposed walking trails would also be a benefit to the neighborhood, staff said.
Within the plan, some of the existing East Texas State Fair buildings would be demolished and replaced with a single multi-use building. The Fair has about nine years left on its lease, and following Wednesday's action, will send the organization a letter that the lease would not be renewed after the terms expire.
The plan includes demolishing Harvey Hall and constructing a new one, set back from Front Street. Between Harvey and the road is a large and open green space, which also faces the Tyler Civic Theatre and the historic Mayfair Building and Concert Hall.
The two entrances off Front Street remain, but the curved road along the Rose Garden would be straightened out.
Parking will be added for the Rose Garden and the theater, and Harvey will be surrounded on three sides by parking. Just under 550 parking spaces would be added from the reconfiguration.
Plans also include space for a proposed Tyler sports museum between Harvey and the Mayfair.
The city's fire training facility and fire administration offices will be moved to other locations and the space turned into parking. There's also an inclusion of the UPS facility as parking, if the facility is ever put on the market. Those spaces would add parking to the ball fields, Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium and Mike Carter Field.
The plan includes adding a tournament quality softball field, which would be wedged between the existing two ball fields.
The space also has a small playground between the sports facilities.