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City Officials Propose Plan To Help Fund New Senior Citizens Center, Pacific Park Improvements

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Sulphur Springs City Council is expected to be asked during their July meeting to call for an election which would help fund improvements at Pacific Park and construction of a new Senior Citizens Center.

City Manager Marc Maxwell during the June council meeting said the election would simply allow the city to utilize funds designated for business development to be spent for other purposes.

Maxwell said the city in 1999 took the same option to the voters, to provide $150,000 in 4A EDC funding coming to the city to be used for 4B purposes, specifically construction of Coleman Park. The city took out a bonds, paid using the annual EDC funding; this is the last year of payment on that note.

City officials are proposing taking the same motion to the taxpayers, asking to be able to utilize about $200,000 a year for 20 years to pay a new note, which would be used for Pacific Park improvements identified during a charrette and to build a new Senior Citizens Center, Maxwell said Wednesday morning.

The measure will be presented to the City Council at the next meeting, asking them to call a November election to allow voters to determine whether or not to continue using the EDC funding for parks and recreational purposes.

“Let’s do it again, only this time let’s ask voters if they want to approve $200,000 a year. It’s a greater amount, but it’s a lesser percentage of EDC revenues, because the EDC revenues have double in those 20 years. Let’s use that to sell $3 million worth of bonds,” Maxwell said.

Plan for improvements at Pacific Park, drawn based on community input during the charrette held in October at the H.W. Grays Building in Pacific Park.

The city manager proposed half go toward Pacific Park improvements and the other toward a new senior center. The city also plans to apply this fall for a $500,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant, which if granted would also help fund improvements at Pacific Park. While the two funding sources are not dependent on the other, both would go a long way toward funding the improvements the community asked for at the charrette.

Proposed by the city manager as a site for the new Senior Citizens Center is utilizing a piece of property on Oak Avenue that previously served as a nursing facility as well as the property to the south of it. The property is now owned by the taxing entities — the city, county, school and hospital districts. Maxwell said the other taxing entities would be asked to deed over their portion for the project. The property has been vacant for years, and the building in addition to requiring significant repairs before it is utilized also has an asbestos problem that must be abated.

Proposed site for a new Senior Citizens Center. Staff anticipate proposing demolition of an old rest home on Oak Avenue, then building a new Senior Citizens Center on the south end of the property, with the north end to become a parking lot.

Maxwell proposes razing the old rest home building on Oak Avenue. The property to the south of it could then be raised, and the new Senior Citizens Center placed on it. Where the old rest home building sat could then also be raised up a bit and used as the parking lot for the Senior Citizens Center to better accommodate the heavy use and activities for the facility.

If that does not occur, an alternate plan and location would have to be considered.

The tax funding and grant would allow a new Grays Building to be constructed in Pacific Park. One the other end of the park would be a sports pavilion that would include a basketball court and volleyball court, or provide space where chairs could be set up. There improvements, funding providing, would also mean a new playground, multipurpose area with backstop where baseball or other activities could be played and carried out.

A pavilion like this one is planned for Pacific Park.

Author: Faith Huffman

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