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Council looks for options on damaged ED building

by Dolores Hamilton
The Iowa Park City Council is working on the difficult decision of what to do with the city’s Economic Development building. Recent rains have brought to light the extensive structural damage that has been going on since the building was constructed in 1988.
At Monday night’s meeting, the council discussed authorizing the city manager to make the necessary repairs.
Describing the damage, City Manager Jerry Flemming said the west wall and roof were not tied properly to the adjacent building and there is damage to the wall. The slab had been submerged on the north and south sides of the building and there is considerable damage to these walls. The sheetrock, insulation, carpet and ceiling tiles have been taken out to expose the studs, and widespread termite damage was found.
Flemming said they had received three proposals, one from Iowa Park and two from Wichita Falls, for the repairs. “Why weren’t local contractors contacted?,” asked Lori Shierry. “We seem to just get estimates from a couple of people.” Flemming told her that with more rain in the forecast, this was handled as an emergency and not advertised.
To build a new roof, walls, and flooring, the cost was estimated to be $30,000 to $40,000. “So, we could be putting lipstick on a pig,” Tim Sheppard observed. “We would be better off building a new building.” He asked if there were other buildings nearby that could be used for the economic development office.
After hearing descriptions of the damage, the meeting was temporarily adjourned to allow council members to walk across the street and see the damage first hand. When they returned, several council members voiced their opinion that more money should not be put into the building and, as an option, they should look around for a building downtown that would be suitable.
The structure was built as a meeting place for the Chamber of Commerce in exchange for office space the chamber built east of the council chambers at city hall. The Chamber had a service agreement with the city to use the building for its meetings and storage space. The agreement is due to expire in September.
Council voted to not renew the agreement and directed the city manager to contact the chamber board to discuss renegotiation.
Council then tabled action on building repairs and will renew discussion of options at the next meeting.
In other business, Shawn Mahler with Bobby Bounds Excavation requested an exemption of the fireworks ordinance, use of Gordon Lake Dam for a public fireworks display on July 3, and permission to close the sidewalk on the dam from 12-noon until after the show for public safety. He said there would be an improved sound system this year. Council approved the request.
David Parkey was granted an exemption to the Building Regulations Ordinance so he can open a portion of Cheyenne Ave. to serve a 5.51 acre parcel of land he wants to sell as a residential lot.
The city manager was authorized to execute a special warranty deed on behalf of the city for property at 600 W. Bank to Gene James Heating and Air Conditioning.
The City entered into a Texas Capital Fund Contract with the Texas Department of Economic Development and an Economic Development Agreement with the Gene James Air Conditioning and Heating in 1999, and the company is prepared to make the final payment.
After meeting in closed session, the council appointed John Campbell to serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and Gay Bradford to fill a vacancy on the Community Development (4B) Board.
Earlier in the meeting, Jason Owen and Justin Penn were sworn in as Reserve Patrol Officers.