Lubbock residents share their vision for Broadway at public meeting

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:21 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Once again, the City of Lubbock is considering what to do with one of its most historic roadways.

The city hosted a public meeting about the Broadway Revitalization Project on Thursday night, hoping to hear from citizens about what they want for the street’s future.

Before the city council can adopt a design for Broadway, it must seek input from four different entities, thanks to an ordinance passed in 2020. Those include the Urban Design and Historic Preservation Commission, the Central Business District Tax Increment Financing Reinvestment Zone Board, the citizens of Lubbock, and the city manager.

Assistant City Manager Erik Rejino says all of that input will be summarized and taken to the council for future meetings, so it can narrow down a design, begin cost estimates, and start to plan phasing.

But for now, Rejino says the city is still in the beginning of the process, gathering input.

“I’ve been asked a lot, well what does the phasing look like...we’re not quite there yet. We’re really in the initial, beginning stages. Really trying to give council a starting point of where to start with Broadway and really starting with the design focus of it,” Rejino said.

Rejino says the council has already received input from the Urban Design and Historic Preservation Commission, after a series of meetings. Chair Mary Crites shared some of the input from the commission with the public at Thursday’s meeting.

“First, we said don’t use historic Thurber brick where it was not originally located. So, don’t use east of Avenue E. That does not mean we don’t support doing work east of Avenue E, just don’t use historic brick where it wasn’t ever placed,” Crites said.

Several citizens wanted to make it known where they believe preserving the historic brick is most important, including former councilman Randy Christian.

“In my opinion, and many others, [Avenue] Q to [Avenue] E is without a question the heart and the spine of downtown LBK,” Christian said.

Texas Tech student Rodney Moore says he’s been getting input from his classmates about what they want for Broadway.

“I think we all can agree that from University to Avenue Q, we should maintain historic brick. Because even them, they cannot picture that area in front of Broadway and Texas Tech without that historic brick,” Moore said.

Board Member Jim Bertram represented the Lubbock Heritage Society at the meeting. He says it would like to see Broadway’s historic brick from curb to curb, but it knows it’s probably not practical. He shared some of the other options the group has explored.

“Provide two moving lanes and center turn lanes using historic brick, and also include automobile parking lanes and bike lanes using new red brick or red concrete,” Bertram said.

The City provided some possible examples, like keeping the historic brick curb to curb, only in the driving lanes or only in the intersections.

While many at the meeting were for preserving as much historic brick at possible, one former bus driver noted the bricks can become dangerous if they get loose.

Don Bundock, a longtime contractor who was born on Broadway in Memorial Hospital, says Lubbock needs to reuse the bricks to lower its carbon footprint.

“This is an opportunity here for Lubbock, Texas, to make a statement along those lines that we are forward-looking, we are a forward-looking community. A chance to really show a fine example of how to use a very good resource. I’m very much in favor of saving and reusing these Thurber bricks,” said.

Several questions came up about the cost of the project, but the city says it wants to probe the public for the design it wants before crunching the numbers. A Broadway business owner expressed his plea for city council to consider those businesses and their busy seasons before making decisions about phasing.

Councilwoman Christy Martinez Garcia encouraged people to keep sending their questions and opinions to the council about the future of Broadway.

“Submit your copies, write your letters, submit what you have, what you feel will help council make a better decision,” Martinez Garcia said.

Citizens are encouraged to give their input in an online survey. The deadline to take the survey is June 4 at 5 p.m.