By JUDY SHERIDAN
The Aledo City Council Thursday reluctantly approved continuing the demolition of an old white frame house on FM Road 1187 in the city’s historic downtown district.
There was not much else they could do. The owners of the house — Church at the Crossing — had already begun the demolition without asking for a permit, giving the city no opportunity to review a request.
The misstep resulted in a $500 fine, with more to be paid once a citation makes its way through municipal court.
Mayor Kit Marshall told an apologetic Jay Gramer, chairman of the property committee for Church at the Crossing, that the city had “a black eye” and she, personally, had taken a “beating” from the public for the irreparable damage a contractor inflicted on the house about two weeks ago.
“We care deeply about the city’s history,” she said, explaining that the council had made it a priority since 2006. “History is very important to us because it’s important to those we serve.”
Gramer said he didn’t know how old the house was, but City Administrator Ken Pfeifer said a family member with a connection to the house had contacted the city, asking to retrieve log cabin wood inside it.
“When you were considering this, did it not cross anybody’s mind to come to the city?” Mayor Pro Tem Bill McLeRoy asked. “Did you or the contractor have any idea of the historic boundaries of the city?”
“No, we did not,” Gramer said. “We’re not trying to run from the fact that we made a mistake. It’s one that’s very visible, and it’s unpleasant.”
Gramer explained that the church thought the demolition contractor, Marshall Landers, had obtained the required permit from the city, while Landers thought the church had done so.
“I didn’t get a third of the way into [the demolition],” he said later. “I got the add-ons and a little way into the historic part when the city stopped us.”
Marshall asked why the house had not been moved and repurposed, as another house owned by the church had been.
Several different companies were consulted as to moving it, Gramer said, but all declined for liability reasons, fearing it would fall apart.
“It’s been remodeled many times, with the walls knocked down, and there’s not a whole lot of what was originally there,” he said, adding that the house was infested with termites.
While not every old house is historic, it’s important to have an evaluation process, said Councilmember Jean Bailey, who described the structure as “a good little house opening into the historic area.”
“This is why we have this system, so each house will be looked at, and so we don’t all wind up being smacked by everybody when they see something like this happening,” she said.
“My big issue is we have all these things in place to protect what little heritage we have … I wish we had looked at our penalties a little more, because, frankly … I would like to slap you with something really big … partly as a precedent ... $500 is nothing.”
Pfeifer said the city has a good ordinance in place related to preserving and moving historic structures, but not everyone is aware of it.
“I’d encourage staff to talk to people who live in the business district,” council member Kerby Smith said. “It’s uncomfortable to be retroactive. Certainly we can prevent these things through communication.”
Discussion Thursday night indicated the barricaded partially-destroyed house would be demolished soon to allieviate safety concerns.
In response to Bailey’s question as to the future of the vacant lot, Gramer said a green space was planned, perhaps with a small sign.
Church at the Crossing cited for lack of permit
By JUDY SHERIDAN
- Aledo ExtrA
Plans move forward for new judge
The new judge for Parker County Court at Law No. 2 will be chosen by voters in November, but plans are underway now to determine who will appear on the ballot.
Buchanan to step down as AISD head football coach
Aledo ISD has announced a restructuring of the athletic department for the 2014 school year. At his request, Coach Tim Buchanan will become the fulltime athletic director so he may focus on the entire athletic program of the district as it continues to grow.
Water park burglar sought
Hudson Oaks police are requesting the public’s assistance in catching a burglar who broke into Splash Kingdom Water Park in Hudson Oaks earlier this month.
Commissioner at odds with school district's demand for land
Aledo ISD superintendent Derek Citty is moving forward with plans backed by the school board in May — plans to secure two school sites in the Morningstar subdivision, slated for the corner of Old Weatherford Road and FM Road 3225 in the City of Fort Worth’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
An unforgettable state championship
Corey Kiser and Riley Sartain, members of Aledo High School’s state champion softball team, honored by trustees last week, are to blame for the 10-3 tattoo on the finger of their coach, Jeff Lemons.
Firefighter arrested for child sexual assault
A volunteer Hudson Oaks firefighter is in the Parker County Jail on charges he repeatedly sexually assaulted two young relatives over a several year period.
Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested July 21, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.
Fire protection improving in Aledo
Stephen Watson, interim chief of Emergency Services District No. 1, briefed the Aledo City Council on improvements to the city’s fire protection — including the purchase of a site for a new fire station — in Thursday night’s Aledo City Council session.
Aledo ISD trustees affirm hiring policy
The Aledo ISD School Board affirmed a policy delegating the hiring of most school personnel to the administration by a 4-1 margin last week, with trustees Jay Stringer, David Tillman, Hoyt Harris and Steve Bartley voting in favor and trustee Bobby Rigues arguing that the board should retain the responsibility.
Aledo coffee shop helps support the troops
HUDSON OAKS — Wild West Splash Kingdom was the host of military members and military supporters the night of Saturday, July 19, during ‘Salute the Troops,’ sponsored by Holy Grounds Coffee and Gifts in Aledo and Ducerus College Planning.
Calendar of events
Holy Grounds Coffee & Gifts, at 108 Jearl Street, is hosting a series of outdoor movies in their parking lot at 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays through Aug. 23.
Admission is free and feature drinks are half price during the films. “The Amazing Spiderman” is Aug. 2, followed by “Tangled” on Aug. 9, “The Lego Movie” on Aug. 16 and “The Avengers” on Aug. 23.
For more information, call 817-440-7770.
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