|County eyes old library building for office space; city would require extensive renovations|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Dec. 7, 2005 -- Following a lengthy discussion with county officials, Sulphur Springs city council members agreed to take no immediate action on a suggestion that the city enter into negotiations with Hopkins County for the use of the old public library building.
The city has been concerned with the historic structure for a number of years, and with the efforts to restore the downtown area, the building's future is in the forefront.
Hopkins County commissioners court members contacted Sulphur Springs Mayor Clay Walker three weeks ago, expressing an interest in possibly acquiringthe building.
"This building is a significant historical piece of Hopkins County, and as such, Hopkins County would welcome and appreciate the city transferring ownership to the county," the commissioners wrote.
Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap and County Clerk Debbie Shirley appeared before the council to discuss the county's need for additional space.
Millsap said the county is nearing the end of a lease agreement with Sulphur Springs Independent School District for the old Houston School facility and must find adequate space for the clerk's office.
Two possible options were outlined by the judge that included moving the county's administrative offices, commissioners, auditor and treasurer to the library building and moving the county clerk to the courthouse basement and one office on the first floor. The other option would have the county clerk move into the library building.
Before the building could be occupied, extensive renovation would be required to restore the building to its original condition and appearance and also meet city code requirements.
Council members told Millsap that in any agreement reached with the county, the city would insist that specific levels of restoration and renovation be met.
Millsap said commissioners were to meet with an architect on Thursday regarding the building.
No action was taken on the request and the council asked Millsap to submit a proposal to the council for discussion in the regular January meeting.
In other action Tuesday evening, the council ordered the demolition of substandard buildings at 707 Jefferson St., 904 Putman St., and 1018 North Davis St.
Two other properties were set for abatement, but council members agreed to allow property owners additional time to refurbish the properties.
On first reading, the council unanimously approved an ordinance annexing approximately 3.5 acres of land containing seven lots adjoining Stonebriar Phase II addition. The annexation is being requested by the property owner.
A zoning change from multiple family to light commercial for property at 203 Radio Road was approved by the council. The zoning change was requested by property owner Jay McClendon.
After some discussion, the council voted to add Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as an official city holiday.
The city already observes 10 official holidays each year, while the school district and the county both schedule 11 holidays each year.
Mayor Clay Walker voted against the issue, saying the taxpayers were already paying city employees for 10 holidays, and he did not want to place any further burden on taxpayers.
The council took no action following a closed-door session to discuss real estate issues.