CENTERVILLE -- The City Council moved closer toward accomplishing what it called a 7-year-old dream of creating a downtown district for the community.
The Council approved spending $310,000 for eight acres of land on the north side of Church Street. The land is north of a cemetery and parking lot owned by the First Baptist Church of Centerville. The property runs from the cemetery/parking lot north toward Bassett Street but, according to Councilman Jon Nichols, does not abut Church Street or North Houston Lake Boulevard. Nichols said current access to the property is from a dirt drive to the property’s rear off Bassett Street.
Mayor John Harley said there have been no plans made to buy additional property but other parcels may be considered.
Harley said the city has been working toward the long-standing plan and that he was proud it was happening and proud it was being done without “making the city go broke.”
Money for the land will come from a reserve fund related to the city water and sewer department. It was said after the purchase there will still be some $900,000 in the fund, satisfying the city’s policy for keeping reserve funds set aside.
Councilman Randall Wright, who introduced the measure, said it would not only spur development but also make Centerville more than a bedroom community. The Council has on-again and off-again pursued creating a downtown district with possible park and green spaces as well as possible shopping areas.
Harley said he believed the final results would make surrounding communities jealous.
The purchase will affect other city plans, including a potential new northeast entrance to the Houston County Galleria mall with an additional waterfall and monument to armed forces. Harley said though the new entrance will likely be built, any added features in the area would now go on the new property as it’s developed.
Also Tuesday, the Council:
Was presented possible millage rates to discuss and vote on in September. Members were presented the 2015 rate of 11.972 mills as a possibility and the official county rollback millage rate of 12.021 as another. The difference in the two rates is $9,205, which would be spread among all taxpayers.
Agreed to purchase four used Ford Crown Victoria unmarked police vehicles for use by the city’s code enforcement officer, two investigators and director of police services for a total of $77,092.
Heard from Nichols that he will seek re-election for his Post 4 council seat.
Brought into discussion again the wisdom of continuing the city’s over-70 elderly tax exemption.
Contact writer Michael W. Pannell at email@example.com.