Council gives OK to group to move ahead with veterans memorial

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

Feb. 6, 2008 - Sulphur Springs City Council members gave the go-ahead to a group planning a downtown veteran memorial  to proceed with their plans.

In other business, the council also approved changes to an ordinance regulating where registered sex offenders can live, approved a zoning change that will allow Bulkley Trucking to relocate inside the city limits of Sulphur Springs.

The council heard from members of the Veterans Memorial Committee, who reiterated their plans for the downtown memorial they hope to break ground on by Veterans Day of this year. The group had presented an update on its plans in January to the Downtown Revitalization Board, which recommended the council give the panel the go-ahead to continue its planning.

Council members gave their stamp of approval, as well, requiring the veterans memorial committee continue to provide updates on its progress as they move closer to their goal.

Early estimates for fund-raising requirements are in the $1 million to $1.5 million range. Johnny Vance, the city's community development directory, said agreements will also have to be reached on how the memorial would be maintained once it is built.

The council later approved a city ordinance that would prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a "school, day care facility or public park or playground within the city limits" and prohibit sex offenders from entering or remaining near public parks.

The council had approved the first reading of the ordinance several months ago, but then decided to make changes after several people protested it created overly restrictive measures that would not allow some parents to see their children play youth sports or attend school functions that their children were participating in.

The revised ordinance allows exceptions within "three degrees of consanguinity," meaning blood relatives no more than three times removed, such as parents, grandparents and cousins.

There were still some protests that the law could be interpreted to prevent a registered sex offender from attending churches where a day care facility was operated, or even meet a court date should a park be built downtown. Police Chief Jim Bayuk assured the council police officers were use discretion in interpreting the law, which was written with an eye toward similar ordinances passed in other Texas cities.

The council also approved a request from Clint and Linda Bulkley for a zoning change on property on the west side of the city between Interstate 30 and U.S. Highway 67. Clint Bulkley started Bulkley Trucking, currently headquartered in Martin Springs, a transport company with a payroll of between $2 million and $3 million annually. Bulkley intends to move his offices to the property in Sulphur Springs and also expand his already successful enterprise.

Council members also heard the results of an independent audit conducted by the Frisco accounting firm of Pingleton, Howard and Company. Randy Howard, representing the auditors, said the review found the city to be in fine shape.

"You're in a very good position financially," he told the council.

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