By George Slaughter
Katy officials broke ground Wednesday morning for the renovation of the Katy Square across the street from City Hall.
When finished, the square will have a new visitors center, public restroom, and open space. The project is expected to be complete by the Katy Rice Festival in October.
The iconic water tower standing on the square will remain, but only for decorative and historical purposes. It will no longer be used for city water purposes as it is now, and it will be surrounded by a small, fenced-in public area that will feature photos and plaques of Katy’s history.
“It’s going to be a great benefit to the citizens of Katy,” Mayor Chuck Brawner said.
To build these structures, much of the old City Hall building was razed. It had sustained significant damage last year from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the city has received insurance money that was used towards razing.
Katy voters in 2000 approved the project, but discussions about how best to redevelop the area have been going on for years. The council approved the final plan last April.
Ward A Council Member Frank Carroll said the project demonstrates Katy’s unwavering fidelity to the preservation of its heritage, and that it affirms its commitment to its local business community. He said the project “creates a place where all Katy residents can experience firsthand the unbroken thread of legacy that has been woven through our community for over 100 years.”
Nash Construction of Katy will do the work. The company and its executives have longstanding Katy ties.
Melvin Nash, senior project manager, said his son, Christopher, owns the company. He said that both Christopher Nash and Kris Pittman, the company’s chief operating officer, grew up in Katy and are Katy High School graduates.
“They grew up on the square,” Nash said. “They grew up coming to the Katy Rice Festival.”
Now they, and their company, will get to redevelop the square.
“This project is special to us,” Nash said. “We take this project very personally. We want it to be successful.”
Nash was a long-time Katy Independent School District principal before who retired from education and joined his son’s company.
“We know the people who love this place, and we love it too,” Nash said. “The city made a great decision to develop this block. This is a facility that the whole community is going to enjoy for generations. This is the designated town square for the city. This beautiful water tower is the landmark for the city. How much more special can this be?”