The Jacksonville City Council, in a 3-1 vote, authorized a resolution ratifying the terms and conditions of a sale agreement for the purchase of the Cherokee Ranch Golf Club clubhouse at the meeting on 8 February. Hubert Robertson, Councilor for District 1, was the dissenting vote. District 3 Councilman Tim was not present.

Robertson said he didn’t think the purchase was good for the city because he didn’t think it would be a profitable business.

The city, having identified a need for a civic center, is considering purchasing the pavilion for this purpose. The approved motion also authorized City Manager James Hubbard to sign the necessary closing documents on behalf of the city.

Five separate public hearings were conducted during the meeting, dealing with rezoning and special use permit applications.

The first public hearing, a continuation of the previous meeting, was an application for a special use permit for a cell tower. The application was withdrawn, the public hearing was therefore closed and no action was taken.

The second hearing focused on a planned development zone change to low-density multifamily at 600 College Ave.

“The subject property is located on the southeast corner of College and Sunset Ave.,” Hubbard said. “Notices have also been mailed to properties within 200 feet of the property in question and no formal objections have been received.”

No one spoke for or against the request. The council authorized the change of zone.

A property application in the 400 block of Talley Nichols Drive to change the zoning from multifamily to single family has been approved. The approximately five-acre property, located behind Beall Chapel Church.

A hearing was held with respect to an application for a special use permit to permit residence within a commercial building located at 400 W. Larrisa. The claimant stated that approximately one-third of the building would be used for a boutique, with the remainder being used as a residence. After some discussion, council elected to continue the public hearing at the March 8 meeting to allow time to gather additional information.

The final public hearing was to receive comments regarding a May 7 referendum election on the proposed sale of the property commonly known as Kiwanis Park, located next to the Jacksonville Dam.

Proceeds from a potential sale of the property, consisting of seven lots covering approximately 4.1 acres, are estimated at over $1 million. The proceeds would be used as matching funds for the Lake Jacksonville concession area boating access grant.

There was no public comment and the council approved a resolution to place the article on the May 7 ballot.

Councilor Rob Gowin apologized during the discussion regarding the abandonment of part of Wilson Street, between South Bonner and South Patton streets. There was no record that the street segment was ever dedicated as a city street, although it appears on M. L. Earle’s 1914 map of greater Jacksonville. Council approved the abandonment of the specified street segment.

The Council awarded a contract to Belt Construction for the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Downtown Revitalization Grant Project, subject to expenditure approval by the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation. Previous bids for the downtown sidewalk project had been rejected as they each far exceeded the projected cost forecast by the consultant and the project was renewed. Four bids were received in the second bidding process, with Belt Construction being the lowest bidder at a cost of $1,342,110.50.

A request to close Ragsdale Commercial Street at Neches Street and S. Jackson under the viaduct for a barbecue on April 9 has been approved.

The consent program has been approved, including:

• Previous minutes;

• Joint election agreement with Jacksonville ISD to hold an election at the public library;

• A resolution calling for an election on May 7, 2022 for council positions in Districts 2 and 4;

• An equipment rental agreement with the County Elections Office for voting equipment for the May 7 election;

• Annual facilities and user licenses from the Soccer and Baseball Association;

• Joint representation agreement between the city, JEDCO and Norman Law Firm;

• Declaration of surplus items and the sale or disposal of said items;

• Appointment of Becca Yocham to the Keep Jacksonville Beautiful Board of Directors (District 1 appointment).

The board adopted a single agenda item regarding a presentation by Hilltop Securities regarding the sale of tax tickets.

Two points from the executive session were approved. The first was permission from the city attorney to negotiate an agreement to revise the industrial park lease for Coilco Tool & Die at 2% of the land value on the Cherokee County tax roll. The second was to authorize the City Manager to purchase a 0.051 acre property near Highway 79 E. for administrative purposes.

Shane Pace, president of the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation, recognized Texas National Bank as employer of the month.

“Texas National Bank participated with the chamber in its Christmas shopping event. They dedicated the time and abilities of their staff to help them calculate all the revenue that was spent on local businesses to boost our local economy,” Pace said. “They devote countless hours to the work they do to serve us.”

Hubbard, during the city manager’s report, noted that police and fire departments have moved to the new public safety complex.

He praised the sesquicentennial committee for their work, stating that there would be a time capsule opening in May and a week-long celebration in October.

He said Rave Mobile Safety Alerts are now available to those who want to sign up for the service. Hubbard said dispatchers would likely be sent to residents to let them know about the service.

Regarding the library, he reports that a new logo has been developed in-house, a return to the copier coin mechanism and an automated door have been installed for easier access.

Hubbard confirmed that Starbucks is coming to Jacksonville and will be located just south of the Trade Winds Motel on S. Jackson St.

He closed his remarks with a death notice for former police chief Jack Brewer, whose funeral was to take place at Autry’s Caroll-Lehr Funeral Home in Athens on Friday February 11.

Jacksonville City Council meetings are regularly scheduled for 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month.

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