The Glen Rose City Council on Monday voted down a proposal that would have given away a short dead-end segment of Elm Street to a proposed business downtown.
Somervell County residents Stephen and Dana LeMure, owners of Dominus Commercial in the Dallas area, purchased the former Hollywood & Vine building last December, along with an old historic house across the street. They said they planned to renovate and restore those buildings, which face Vernon Street, just two blocks from the courthouse.
The dead-end street in question, which would technically be the 300 block of Elm Street, is between the two buildings purchased by the LeMures.
The LeMures requested that the city of Glen Rose turn over the abbreviated dead-end segment of Elm so they could use it as a permanent part of their plans for two restaurants.
The motion failed, with City Council members Johnny Martin, Rhonda Hawthorne and Jack Johnson voting no. Chris Bryant and Julia Douglas voted yes.
After Monday’s meeting, some criticized the vote via social media, including comments by Alvarado resident Scott Gipson, who was one of the organizers of the recent Glen Rose Wine & Art Festival.
On Facebook, Gipson wrote that the denial was “a travesty” and he stated that the City Council had “the opportunity to move the city forward, bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in business, new jobs (and an) entertainment venue and most of all tax revenue to a city that needs it.”
Glen Rose Mayor Pam Miller told the Glen Rose Reporter that the agenda item would have given away the dead-end street segment to the LeMures, and that the Council was not against the development of the two restaurants.
“The vote was not to give that piece of property (the street) to the LeMures. That’s setting a bad precedent. If you do that for one, you do it for all. We did provide an opportunity for them to use the street. We try to work with everybody.”
Miller said the vote indicated that the City Council members “weren’t willing to go that far. The council members expressed that they were willing to let them use the property (the dead-end street), but the city would still retain the easement for the street. The city hasn’t said they don’t want the restaurant.”
Miller added that any structure that would be placed on that street segment could not be permanent, but instead something that could be moved.
The Glen Rose Reporter reached Stephen LeMure by phone Tuesday afternoon. LeMure said that he didn’t want to comment directly about the City Council’s vote, or how it may or may not affect their restaurant plans.
He did say, “We absolutely love living in Glen Rose and we support the downtown businesses and we hope for the best for the town.”
OAKDALE TOWN HALL
It was standing room only Tuesday night in the City Council chamber for a town hall meeting to discuss the future of city-owned Oakdale Park, which currently features a popular public swimming pool, a stage used for music concerts, a community center and multiple RV park hookups.
Approximately 50 people showed up for the meeting. A dozen residents signed up to speak before the City Council, but only seven came to the podium to speak.
Because of the cost involved in keeping the swimming pool in working order and other factors, the city is considering selling Oakdale Park.
A handout sheet for those who attended the meeting states what Glen Rose City Administrator Michael Leamons had said previously in a column he wrote that was published in the Glen Rose Reporter.
“Recently, an investment group expressed interest in buying Oakdale Park, putting the City Council in a position to make some big decisions about the Park’s future. The Council was assured that the investment group’s intentions are to continue operating the park in much the same manner as it is now operated, with the exception that additional investments in infrastructure would likely be made.”
The handout also states, “There had been fears that in the wrong hands, the land on which the park is located might have been converted to another purpose. Oakdale’s being listed in the National Register of Historic Places provides a measure of protection concerning its appearance. And, it is possible that deed restrictions or zoning may be used to prevent major changes to the Oakdale traditions that generations of residents and guests have come to enjoy.”
Leamons also pointed out the key financial element — that the city’s annual payments of about $206,000 “consume the majoring of the EDC (Economic Development Corporation’s) revenues, and the debt won’t be paid off until 2034.
The first speaker from the audience Tuesday was Glen Rose native Dennis Moore, a former mayor and former City Council member. He said that he grew up using the swimming pool at Oakdale Park, and even learned how to swim there. Moore indicated that he hopes the pool stays open to the public if the park is sold.
Jim Bob Hawthorne came to the podium and said that if the Oakdale debt is paid off as a result of selling it, the tax money for that debt note should go back to the residents.
“It it doesn’t, you’re doing us wrong,” Hawthorne said.
Nina Smart, another speaker, said after the meeting that she is up in the air about the issue because it’s complicated, but stated, “Right now, I’m more in favor of them selling it unless they can change how they run it and where the money goes.”
Bob Miller stated that he opposes selling Oakdale, explaining, “I don’t want the citizens to lose the right to go in and use the park and the swimming pool. I don’t know if they would consider leasing it.”
No vote on the Oakdale Park issue was scheduled for Tuesday night, and the Council will continue to consider its options.
Mayor Pam Miller told those in attendance that if the council decides that selling Oakdale might be in the best interest of the city, it would be determined by vote of the citizens of Glen Rose in an election.