‘It Will Rebound’: City Manager Optimistic About Snider Plaza

University Park City Manager Robbie Corder is hopeful about the future of Snider Plaza.

“Because of the situation with the virus…we know folks are hurting–we know Snider Plaza is hurting, we know the merchants are hurting, but I’m optimistic, quite frankly, about the future of Snider Plaza and how it will rebound,” Corder said in a recent work session. “I choose to feed that optimism with something to look forward to in the plaza–a plan to move forward.”

The first order of business includes utility and paving work, per city staff’s proposal as of early August.

City Engineer Katie Barron said there are about 4,750 feet of sewer lines and about 7,500 feet of water line the city will need to replace, as well as other improvements.

“The goal in this is to improve some of the way that the utilities operate on the wastewater side as well as the water side,” Barron said.

Further project details will be discussed at future city council meetings.

In early August, the city council also approved a resolution for the exchange of property and a reimbursement of expenses between the city and RCV Snider Plaza II, LLC.  The exchange involves property at 3420 Rankin and city-owned property in the 3400 block of Haynie. 

In the coming months, as work begins on the installation of new infrastructure in Snider Plaza, the Rankin site could be used for staging purposes or to offset the temporary loss of parking in the Plaza. Longer term, the site could become a surface parking lot.

Corder envisions the city, owners, and tenants in Snider Plaza partnering to coordinate the supervision of maintenance issues and address future needs and amenities using a public improvement district (PID).

“For this to be successful, I think the city needs a project that is coordinated with the owners and merchants of Snider Plaza. It’s absolutely essential, and the idea behind this is a public improvement district. I know that is a scary term right now, a lot of people think, well, they hear public improvement district, and they hear taxes, they hear bad things, but, in reality, I think what we’ve seen in some of the areas in other parts of Dallas-Fort Worth, and even across the state, is that PIDs can be successful,” he said.

Corder added that a PID can’t be created without the willingness of the property owners to participate.

Whether or not there is a commitment by property owners for a PID impacts what be done in Snider Plaza, he said.

“We already are in Snider Plaza…we approximately spend about $170,000 a year in the parks department going out there changing out the seasonal color, going out there picking up the trash, going out there changing the lights, fixing the fountain..,we do that today, that’s part of our annual budget. We go out there and we spend dollars on parking enforcement every year. We spend $10,000 on street sweeping and collection of trash today. The idea is that we do that, but this PID picks up the added cost, whatever that is…it just adds on to the enhancements that could be possible in Snider Plaza,” Corder added.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

4 thoughts on “‘It Will Rebound’: City Manager Optimistic About Snider Plaza

  • September 3, 2020 at 12:15 pm
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    A PID is an additional property tax that will be passed on to Plaza merchants and shop keepers who can barely pay their rent right now. It is astounding that our City Manager and City Council are lobbying for this additional tax burden on small business owners at a time like this. They should be doing everything they can to help small business owners recover from the devastation of Covid 19. Actions speak louder than words Mr. Corder and your sympathetic platitudes do not make up for the fact that you intend to extort more taxes from small community businesses during their time of great need. Shame on you and the City Council for even considering it.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2020 at 1:38 pm
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    We appreciate the optimism and the support of the community. However, please understand that any additional taxation to the Snider Plaza merchants (such as the PID) would be an insurmountable burden at this time. Many merchants have closed permanently, and many others are barely hanging on, hoping to continue to serve the community. And any taxes charged the property owners would simply be shifted to the merchants. We hope any construction would be somewhere off in the distant future. With the rebuilding of the office building on Daniel, then not having a sidewalk for January and February of this year, and now covid, our sales have been negatively impacted for more than 2 years. We would appreciate a chance to catch up before more work blocks The Plaza.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2020 at 2:21 pm
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    Dear Editor,
    I am a resident of UP and merchant here in Snider Plaza.
    The most important enhancement Snider Plaza needs is parking for employees and customers. The REAP plan does not address this issue. If the council wants to beautify Snider Plaza, use the current sales taxes and property taxes that the businesses in Snider Plaza generate to pay for any improvements.
    As a merchant , I do not want the burden of extra taxes that a PID would bring to pay for landscaping, advertising and valet parking. It should only be used to solve the parking issue. If the city allows 80% restaurants in Snider Plaza there will be no place for employees or customers to park. As a resident, I do not want to valet park when I come to eat in Snider Plaza. Providing parking for employees will free up parking for customers.
    I also believe that the city should not replace the infrastructure in Snider Plaza for two years. It will drive more customers away. The infrastructure issue has been going on for many years and can wait until businesses stabilize after Covid.
    Sincerely,
    Julie Broad, resident of UP
    Owner, JD’s Chippery

    Reply
  • September 3, 2020 at 8:26 pm
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    While we understand the need for improvements, we suffered a tremendous loss in foot traffic when the sidewalks were replaced in front of our store from January into March of this year, followed by COVID. Storefront retailers are being pressured with higher rents, property taxes, price of goods, shipping and operating costs and any losses in sales leave us vulnerable.

    Thankfully we reached another milestone, with 72 years in the plaza. We have been blessed by the support of our customers during these recent struggles, yet we know how difficult it is to maneuver in and around Snider Plaza without construction projects. We enjoy the relations and history we continue to build and we feel the sorrow when yet another tenant in the plaza closes its doors. Retail is shifting, now more than ever, to the convenience and safety of online shopping. I hope our city leaders will be mindful of maintaining our community atmosphere, a consistent and pleasant shopping experience and will diligently plan for a swift and comfortable change process when times are less volatile.

    Reply

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