Rod Hale, a volunteer at the Glen Rose Bird Sanctuary, asked the City Council Dec. 8 to help make improvements to the lot.
Hale has volunteered at the sanctuary since 1990, and has watched the lot grow from a muddy mess to a tourist attraction.
“The bird sanctuary is a drainage canal,” Hale said. “We are the only town within a 100-mile circle with a downtown bird sanctuary.”
Current-resistant plants in the streambed also help strain out trash from the water before reaching the Paluxy River. Hale said approximately 38 tons of debris has been removed from the water to date.
Hale said one project the group needs help with is reducing erosion in the streambed. Fast moving waters also wash out a plant bed maintained by volunteer gardeners. He said they would also like to build an observation deck where visitors can sit and relax inside the sanctuary.
A few obstacles stand in the way of the improvements, however. Hale said while they have received generous offers of reduced pricing on materials and labor, he has only been able to raise about $500 over the last 10 years and the projects would cost considerably more than that. In addition, most of the sanctuary volunteers have limited capabilities when it comes to performing hard labor.
Another issue is that Somervell County owns the sanctuary. County Judge Walter Maynard said due to liability issues, someone couldn’t just build a deck on the lot. Plans would have to be drawn and stamped by an engineer.
Maynard and Mayor Pam Miller briefly discussed the possibility of a joint effort between the county and the city. But Maynard declined to commit the county to such a project, stating when they took on the sanctuary, it was with the understanding that volunteers would be responsible for the upkeep. He added that he would bring the matter to the court for discussion.
Council member Chris Bryant suggested that the city take the sanctuary back since it is such an integral part of downtown Glen Rose and it is a tourist attraction.
No action was taken on the item.