The Glen Rose City Council meeting drew some heated discussions as dialogue between council members and Somervell County Judge Walter Maynard referenced a Commissioner’s Court meeting in March.
Craig Dodson spoke out during public comments that he was glad to see city personnel at the commissioner’s meeting Monday morning, but he was disappointed they didn’t stay.
Margaret Drake, eHT engineer Michael Buckeley, City Superintendent Ronald Bruce and Councilwoman Barbara Mitchell attended the meeting to update commissioners on the Riverwalk.
Drake and Buckeley pointed out a few changes that had been made to the plans since the last commissioner’s court.
“We have made one change since the last meeting when I talked to you folks,” Drake said.
The 175-foot pathway connecting Heritage Park to the Riverwalk was deleted from Phase I and a second walkway connecting 24 new parking spaces east of the park was added.
During court, Maynard said he felt like the park does need a walkway, but it just cannot be the main entrance to the Riverwalk.
The boat launch and fishing spot were also slightly altered.
Commissioner’s voted and approved the Riverwalk plans and the pathway into Heritage park and Buckeley said he would send an addendum to bid packets already out.
The deadline for bids was May 23, but he felt that date would have to be pushed back a couple weeks to allow contractors time to review the changes.
Drake told council members she was glad she attended the March Commissioner’s meeting.
“I think it’s going to open a new era of consciousness and communication,” Drake said.
Councilman Chris Bryant opened the city’s agenda discussion about the Tailor Building, also known as the Deason Building, that was moved from downtown Glen Rose to county-owned Heritage Park last year. He said he was disappointed that the county had not taken initiative to work on the historical building and he hoped to get the project going again.
Karen Richardson reminded the council that they authorized the Historic Preservation Board’s application for a $2,000 matching fund grant through Leon-Bosque RC&D at the last meeting in March to help fund the reconstruction project.
“We’re trying to secure the funds,” Richardson said, adding that they were one of two applicants for the grant. “It can’t last like it is; it must be restored - or renovated.”
The building cannot be restored due to its deterioration, but pieces of the building will be salvaged and used to rebuild the structure. The entire project will cost an estimated $19,000.
Bryant questioned why the county would not be interested in helping to restore the building, since it is a piece of the area’s heritage.
Maynard said that Commissioner James Barnard has been in touch with Richardson and is looking to see if county funds are available. But he added that the county is not backing out of an agreement.
He said that when the county agreed to the move, they agreed to provide a spot for the building but specifically said they would not be able to help monetarily.
At the time of the move, the city donated $5,000 to help move the building so that it would not be torn down.
Councilwoman Barbara Mitchell spoke up stating that city residents pay city and county taxes; therefore the county is a stakeholder in the building and should have an interest in working with the city to restore a piece of county history.
“I’m new,” Mitchell said. “Why does the city and county not work together?”
“I don’t know,” Maynard replied, but added that the two entities have a long history of not communicating.
In a separate agenda item, Richardson presented a map showing the proposed expansion of the Preservation District.
The new district would extend from the courthouse to Mustang Street and encompass Heritage Park. The boundary would run down the Paluxy River to include Barnard’s Mill and the Gibbs House, then jog back to Cedar and Vine streets.
The original district made a one-block square around the courthouse on Pecan, Grace, Cedar and Vine streets.
Councilman Bob Stricklin voiced concern over including the park, in light of recent conflict. He wasn’t sure if a city board could regulate county property.
Maynard said he didn’t think it would be a problem because the county already has to adhere to building codes.
There was also some discussion about what the new district would mean to existing homeowners.
Richardson said the zoning would remain the same. The only difference is the board must approve any external renovations; the majority of the regulations only specify what building materials and colors can be used.
She did say all houses in the district must apply to the board before work can be done, regardless of the age of the house. The idea behind it is to make sure buildings keep a sense of visual cohesion. But Richardson said regulations could be relaxed to make room for “greener” improvements, such as new windows.
Also, if a homeowner can demonstrate that their home is 50 years old or more and is historically significant, they can apply to be designated as a landmark, which would then allow them to file for certain tax exemptions.
Sticklin motioned to table the council’s vote so that property owners in the new district can be notified and he asked the Commissioners to agree to allow Heritage Park and Somervell County Citizen’s Center into the district.