Weatherford City Council’s regular Tuesday meeting started off all laughs when Weatherford Mayor Pro-tem Craig Swancy joked about the group of police officers standing on one side of the room and a group of pastors on the other. Near the end of the meeting, a resolution between council members and Doss Heritage and Culture Center staff on a proposed log cabin village was discussed and approved.
“I’d like a representative from each team to meet in the middle,” Swancy began. “I think we could have a nifty baseball game out of this.”
His joke, in good taste, was followed by Grace First Presbyterian Church Pastor Charles Bruner taking the podium to pray for the city and the continued efforts of the Weatherford Police Department’s partnership with the local ministerial alliance.
The council chambers were standing room only, as a large audience gathered to witness a combination of presentations and proclamations preceding the council’s agenda. These items included a presentation of Citizen Certificate of Appreciation to Weatherford High School student Haley Ross for her efforts in finding a missing child. Proclamations included naming Linda Tingle Day April 14, Volunteer Week April 12-18, Earth Day April 22 and Arbor day April 25.
“This is a wonderful occasion that we have this many people in our city hall chambers and I’d love to thank each and everyone of you for coming tonight,” Swancy said on behalf of Mayor Dennis Hooks, who was absent. “It’s wonderful to see this many people who volunteer and help with our city. Thank you very much.”
Following the Volunteer Week proclamation, Swancy called on the pastors to help pass out tokens of Weatherford’s appreciation to the volunteers.
The first item for discussion was to consider approval of a resolution regarding the city’s log cabins and the Doss Heritage and Culture Center’s proposed log cabin village.
The city has worked with the Doss Heritage and Culture Center for several years, Weatherford City Manager Jerry Blaisdell said, to ensure the log cabins at Holland Lake Park are preserved
“The Doss Center has been working adamantly to prepare a log cabin village, which would be somewhat similar to the log cabin village that you see at Forest Park in Fort Worth,” Blaisdell said, also noting that the city has contributed monies from the Hotel Occupancy Tax Funds to help in the preparation of the site where the cabins will be located.
Informally, the city committed to allowing the cabins at Holland Lake Park to be moved to the log cabin village, he said, and the DHCC would take ownership upon the move. The resolution presented to the city council Tuesday was to formally recognize the city’s commitment.
DHCC’s Dean Hungate took the podium, prepared to address any questions the council had.
Council member Heidi Wilder said she was for the resolution, minus one item, which she believed appeared somewhat obligatory on the city’s part to help the DHCC with funds for future projects.
“I understand after a discussion with [Assistant City Manager] Sharon [Hayes] that it doesn’t obligate, [but] it’s the appearance that it obligates future councils,” Wilder said. “It is not necessary for that item to be in there, so I was hoping to maybe take that out. They can always come before [us] and ask for additional assistance. I’m not fond of that language in the ordinance.”
Hungate replied that the DHCC had no problem with that and that the sole purpose of the agreement was to empower the DHCC to begin raising funds to move the cabins.
Council member Waymon Hamilton echoed Wilder’s thoughts.
Weatherford resident Bobbie Narramore spoke about the ordinance before council made a final decision.
“If the Doss Center comes and asks the city council for money outside of Hotel Occupancy Tax Funds, then the city should have the right to look at their books,” Narramore said. “I don’t believe the city should offer them any financial assistance outside of the HOT Funds – maybe increase the HOT Funds, but nothing outside of them. And as far as what they’re gonna do with it, my perpective is that [the Doss] charges – I’m not saying it’s bad for them to charge – but I feel like people should be able to walk around the outside free. If they want any of the guided tours, then they could pay for them.”
She further expressed the importance of keeping the historically-rich log cabins accessible to everyone.
Hungate responded that the DHCC museum is now free to the public to tour, adding that there will be no charge to view the cabins.
Narramore came back inside the chambers to clarify her statements.
“Let me make it clear, they do have art shows – they charge for that,” Narramore said, to which Hungate replied, “not any longer.”
“They don’t charge for any activity that is presented at the Doss Center?” Narramore questioned Hungate.
“[Not] unless it’s a special activity,” Hungate said.
“Special activity?” Narramore asked. “OK, I’ve mentioned the art show, and you said they don’t charge, then you said they do.”
Before much more could be said, Swancy intervened and Narramore left, saying, “Don’t give me a bad time.”
The council unanimously approved the ordinance minus the item discussed.
In other business, council approved the appointment of Kevin Cleveland to the Zoning Board of Adjustments.