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cover5By: Kelly Gooch

Steps are being taken to pave the way for future improvements to the athletic facilities at Texas College.

The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the Tyler City Council approve the closure of two abandoned alley rights of way so that future improvements can be made to the school’s athletic facility. The approval was contingent on the abandoned rights of way being replatted within six months of the closure, or by Jan. 23, 2015.

According to the Planning and Zoning Commission agenda, a 20-foot-wide alley begins south of the southeast corner of North Gaston Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and continues east to North Englewood Avenue, while a 12-foot-wide alley begins at the midpoint of the 20-foot-wide alley and extends to West Nutbush Street.

City Planner Kyle Kingma said the plan is to close the alleys and incorporate multiple lots into one single lot to allow a building permit to be issued for upgrades to the athletic facilities.

Texas College spokeswoman Christie Howard said the one consolidated lot would provide more space to build on in the future.  Athletes make up over one-third of the college’s population, she said, so the school must have the room to accommodate them. “It has become imperative as the college celebrates its 120th anniversary that we expand beyond our 28 acres,” she told the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday. “We are landlocked. We’re having to retrofit some current buildings and resurrect some new buildings to service our population, so … thank you so much from our Texas College family to the city of Tyler family.”