TYLER MORNING TELGRAPH (KYTX) - Parking zones, personnel and a proposed dog park were among the issues that East Texas cities tackled this week.
In Jacksonville, city council members approved an ordinance that places no parking zones on Henderson Street from Mason Drive to 50 feet west of Avalon Street. The zones will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday but not on holidays and weekends.
Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel said parking on Henderson Street, which sits near Jacksonville High School, has been a perennial problem.
Residents have had a hard time getting in and out of their homes because of traffic headed toward the school, he said, and when he surveyed residents, they indicated that they wanted the same zoning that Mason Drive had.
Daniel said police will give warnings for about a week or so, but will then start enforcing the ordinance.
In Troup, the city rehired Gene Cottle as city administrator.
Cottle, 58, was hired in March, but resigned just weeks after city council members voted to approve his employment.
He said at the time that he thought he sold his family business, but the man who was set to purchase Cottle Funeral Home in Troup and Cottle-Pearson Funeral Home in Overton backed out at the last minute.
Mayor John Whitsell said Cottle's business has subsequently sold, so the city went through with this week's hiring.
It was a choice between Cottle and Troup Police Chief Pat Hendrix, who has served as interim city administrator, and the city felt like Cottle was the best candidate, he said.
Cottle currently serves as chairman of the Smith County 911 Communications District.
He also served as Troup mayor and on the Troup Community Development Corporation board. His first day as city administrator is Feb.1.
In the meantime, Cottle said he is excited and looks forward to starting.
He said there is still work to do on some financial issues, and his main goal is to ensure that is under control so the city can move forward with other things.
He said he would also like the city to do some revitalization downtown.
"We just look forward for him to get started and keep us moving in the right direction," Whitsell said. "We all felt that Pat had done an excellent job as an interim. We look forward to them working together (to) keep us moving."
The Henderson City Council tabled a request to build a dog park on Tuesday.
City Manager Mike Barrow said he believes the council is now looking for supporters to raise some money for park construction and for him to find a location for it. He estimated that such a park would cost somewhere between $7,000 and $8,000.
"I told council it would probably come up at the next meeting," he said.
Residents James and Denise Nix brought the idea to the city about a month ago.
The Nixes, who have a mixed-breed terrier and a cane corso, have asked the city to put a dog park in, complete with a fenced-in area for large dogs and a separate fenced-in area for smaller dogs. They would also like to see access to water for the canines, Mrs. Nix said earlier this month.
She has said the main goal is for dogs to have a place to socialize and exercise without having to go at the owner's pace.
In other news, the Henderson City Council did a first reading on an ordinance to create a reinvestment zone downtown, Barrow said.
He said the ordinance would essentially help save and preserve the historical First National Bank building and pave the way for the building owner to make improvements. According to the city website, two floors were built in the early 1900s, and two more floors were later added because of increased business from the oil boom.
Once the ordinance passes, the city can enter into a tax abatement agreement with the owner before construction starts. An abatement is a "reduction of or exemption from taxes…for a specified period," according to the business dictionary.
"The city wants to help out any way they can…," Barrow said. "It's already a historic building, but (the owner's) trying to save it. He plans on rehabilitating as it is… to make sure it doesn't lose its historical integrity."
He said Henderson's Main Street Program has worked with the property owner and supports any efforts to save the historic building.
A final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for later this month.