The 4-B Tax Advisory Board agreed Monday night to fund part of the repairs to help stabilize Barnard’s Mill and called a special meeting to hear about plans for Oakdale Park.
One board member, Mitchell George, went so far to say that he was “extremely frustrated” with the lack of information and coherent planning he sees going on at the park.
Board chairman Connally Miller began the regular meeting by pointing out that the 4-Bs sales tax totals this year are “fairly far below what they were projected to be a year ago.”
As of April 5, the 4-B had about $280,640 in the bank.
“It’s not a hard thing to figure out,” Miller added. “People don’t have the disposable income” to spend at travel destinations such as Glen Rose, which draws much of its sales tax revenues from tourism.
“Glen Rose always has had seasonal tax revenue,” Miller said. “It goes up quite a bit in the summer.”
The Somervell History Foundation sought $130,000 from the 4-B to help in its restoration plans for Barnard’s Mill. The foundation has been awarded a $30,000 grant by the Texas Historical Foundation Trust, but the local history foundation has to come up with matching funds by July. It plans to continue its own fundraising efforts as well.
Miller said he thought that funding the entire amount right now “would wipe out our revenue.” But he added that he didn’t want the foundation to lose the grant money.
“Barnard’s Mill is too much of a jewel to the community” not to help, 4-B member Darrell Best said. “They’re going to have to secure that building.”
Somervell History Foundation head Pat Barrow said that it’s critical to secure the outside walls and the building’s foundation.
“It’s in such a dangerous state of repair,” she said.
George said that “this is too big of an opportunity to really shine for Glen Rose. I want to make sure you’re getting what you need now.”
The board voted to approve the $30,000 in matching funds. The foundation then can come back to the board with an update and request more outlays.
Members also granted a request to make a bridge loan of $80,000 for RV spaces so the Somervell County Expo can host the American Junior Rodeo Association finals in late July through early August. The show, which is projected to bring three-quarters of $1 million to the community, agreed to hold the even in Glen Rose if it could get more RV spaces for attendees with horse trailers and RVs.
Mike Dooley, the Expo’s facilities manager, said interim funding was needed because expenses for the show weren’t budgeted. The Expo had bid on the show for 2011 and 2012, but organizers decided to move it from San Angelo this year.
Some 4-B members were concerned that private RV park owners needed to be included in the project and that the request ought to be taken to the county.
The bridge loan passed with Miller and board member Chris Bryant voting against it.
On Oakdale Park, Miller said he wanted to have a meeting with all the entities working on renovations there to find out what’s going on.
“I’m extremely frustrated with this thing,” George added.
“We haven’t seen a business plan, an operating plan, what someone’s vision is” for the park long-term, Best said.
Bryant noted that he had seen a master plan in the office at Oakdale Park.
“I’m concerned things are happening and plans are being put together and I don’t see it happening,” Best said. “Did that go through Planning and Zoning? Who’s approving this stuff?”
“We’ve got to have accountability here,” George said. “If there is another plan and our committee chair doesn’t know about it, there’s something wrong here.”
Bryant added that he would like to see an accounting of what’s been spent on renovations at Oakdale Park so far.
The board decided to meet next Monday at 7:30 p.m. after the Glen Rose City Council meeting to get an update on the park’s progress and expenditures.