A rendering of the K Avenue Lofts development which will be adjacent to the Art Park. (Courtesy of the City of Plano)
A public art park funded by the City of Plano will be constructed at the corner of Avenue K and East Park Boulevard.
The city has agreed to use $1.6 million in public infrastructure improvement funds to build the park on a parcel of land adjacent to the K Avenue Lofts development, an affordable apartment complex being built just in south of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit station on Parker Road.
A better path to the Red Line station will also be built as part of the project, according to city documents.
The city council sold the land to the Plano Housing Authority in December. The Housing Authority is a non-profit organization that seeks to fund or acquire public facilities to fund affordable housing projects, according to its website.
The city council agreed to fund the park project in partnership with the housing authority at the January 24 meeting.
The money will be taken from the city’s tax increase reinvestment zones, also known as TIRZs. Zones collect the growth in property tax value of a certain zone. Money generated in a TIRZ funds public improvements in the area without creating new taxes.
The council voted 6-2 in favor of the project, with council members Shelby Williams and Anthony Ricciardelli voting against, citing the high cost associated with it.
Peter Braster, Plano’s director of special projects, said construction on the park isn’t expected to begin for a few years.
“It’s still a bit of a sketch; it hasn’t been fleshed out altogether,” Braster said at the Jan. 24 meeting. “It will be a kind of interactive green space. Something to visit.
Council member Maria Tu said she was in favor of funding the project as it will benefit the public.
“It’s not something that’s just going to benefit the [housing authority]”, Tu said. “On the contrary, it will benefit the city as well as the people of Plano in the long run.”
Ricciardelli said he supported the affordable housing project, but felt the cost of the park was higher than he thought appropriate for this type of development.
“I would encourage us to consider a development deal at a more moderate price,” he said. “I support affordable housing…but that’s not the discussion we’re having here tonight.”
The K Avenue Lofts project, which has been in the planning process for more than a year, will be a five-story apartment complex with 226 units, Braster said. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023, according to planning documents.
Most units in the complex will have income-tested rental prices and will only be available to those earning less than $60,000 a year, according to a city presentation.
Development documents show the property will include an open pavilion, fitness rooms, swimming pool, dog park and more.
More information about the project can be found here.