At night

This artist’s rendering shows the monolith at the roadside park on SH 35 N. at night under LED lighting. The words “Aransas County” would be placed on the narrow side, and pictures (insert) on the broader sides.

Keep Aransas County Beautiful (KACB) has been named one of 10 top-performing Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) affiliates in the state. It earned the Governor’s Community Achievement Award (GCAA) in its category (based on population).

The GCAA grant is $210,000. KTB, in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) provide the annual awards. The funds are used for landscaping projects along TxDOT rights-of-way in the form of goods and services provided by TxDOT.

Aransas County commissioners, at their regular meeting Monday, Nov. 9, heard a report from KACB President D’Ann Williams about the organization earning the GCAA.

Williams said discussions with TxDOT led to the determination of what the local project would be.

“Our discussions with TxDOT centered on showcasing our unique coastal area,” she said.

Williams said TxDOT officials were also told about budget issues in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and the need for low maintenance of any landscape installations.

TxDOT’s landscape architects, using the $210,000 budget, came up with “meaningful” monoliths located at visitor entrances to the county.

The five locations for the 13-foot-tall monoliths are:

• SH 35 N. near the TxDOT picnic area

• The intersection of SH 188 and FM 1069

• Both sides of the SH 35 Bypass at 12th Street

• SH 35 Business near Cove Harbor

Who is doing what?

TxDOT plans to install the monoliths in June 2021, and enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Aransas County. TxDOT will provide upkeep for nine months. They usually only perform that duty for three months. TxDOT will also be responsible for mowing around the monoliths. They mow all their rights-of-way.

KACB will provide maintenance twice per year for plant beds surrounding the monoliths, as well as the monoliths.

Aransas County’s responsibility will be paying the energy cost for LED landscape lighting at each of the five sites, if they choose to do so. The estimated cost is $65 per site per year, or $325 per year.

Previous GCAA awards

The Aransas County Clean Team, an early predecessor of the KACB, was awarded similar prizes in 1995 ($75,000) and 1998 ($70,000). Those beautification awards were used for the “Parade of Palms” - palm trees in the Business Highway 35 median across from the ski basin - and the beautification project at the intersection of Austin Street and Business Highway 35, respectively.

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