After five years of construction, Leander’s Mel Mathis Avenue is officially open. The one-mile roadway intersects Hero Way between U.S. 183 and 183A tollway and creates a link through the Leander Transit Oriented Development District, known as the “Leander T.”
Mel Mathis Avenue is envisioned as a multi-use, new urbanism development with emphasis on pedestrian travel. City officials hope the new north-south arterial will help attract Leander, Texas; real estate development suited for a transit district, specifically mixed-use, high-density urban projects near Leander's Capital Metro Park & Ride train station.
"This roadway creates a starting point for that kind of development," said Leander Mayor Chris Fielder. He hopes to see progress toward development in the next five to ten years. This development could include additional homes for sale in Leander, TX.
The 4-lane, asphalt roadway, which cost $6 million to build, received more than $4 million in federal funds from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization in 2006. The project was stopped because of issues with the National Environmental Protection Act. The project was reviewed and redesigned to satisfy NEPA requirements, and work began in earnest in November 2010.
The new road is named after the now-deceased, long-time real estate broker and developer Mel Mathis, who had dealings with many Leander luxury homes and also helped organize many of the landowners when Leander first hatched the idea for a transit district.
Several members of the Mathis family attended the late-July dedication ceremony.
“Mel was one of the first people to recognize the benefit of having a plan in place [for the transit-oriented development] and displayed real leadership when it came to smaller, less-experienced landowners,” said Pix Howell, Leander urban design officer. “He had enough experience to know if [transit-oriented development landowners] weren’t being taken care of, it would create a problem down the road. So he was careful to make sure everybody understood and was on board with any of the plan amendments we made before they were adopted.”