Two local properties made up much of the discussion during Monday’s meeting of the Henrietta City Council.
Boy Scout Troop 91 will soon move forward with plans to build a scout hut in the south part of town after aldermen accepted a bid of $150 for four vacant lots owned by the city.
Acquiring the lots has been a long process for the Boy Scouts.
Lots 8,9, 10 and 23 of the Barretts Addition, accessible from W. Travis St., were first believed to be part of a property donated to the Henrietta troop by the Dugger family, but deed work showed the property has been owned by the city since 1894 due to unpaid taxes.
City Administrator Kelley Bloodworth said the city could enter into a private sale of the property because it is the only entity owed back taxes.
The council held the first of two public hearings concerning downtown Henrietta property offered for purchase by Frank Douthitt to the Henrietta Growth Corporation.
On Jan. 7, the HGC entered into a memorandum of understanding with Douthitt for purchase of the Lawyers’ Building, located at 118 N. Bridge St., for a price of no more than $100,000. Douthitt has offered two options to the HGC to drastically reduce the price of the building. Douthitt would either sell the building to the HGC for $75,000, or sell it for $100,000 then make a $25,000 donation to the organization, said Rick Langford, economic development director, Monday night.
Jack Ellis, president of ClayTex Trophies and a former HGC board member, fears that purchase of the building would set a precedence of the HGC. Ellis explained that the original purpose of the HGC was not to own properties. “And,” said Ellis, “It sets up a situation were you have some upkeep. There’s an expense going to go on.”
Ellis said that the building is nice, but limited in its uses, even as a restaurant.
“The only way I can see a restaurant coming here and being successful is if it’s out here on the expressway,” said Ellis. “I’ve seen restaurants (downtown) open and close, open and close.”
He noted that the building would come off the tax rolls while in possession of the HGC.
The next public hearing will be held during the March 11 council meeting.
In other business, aldermen called a city election for May 11, and approved an agreement between the city and Henrietta ISD to hold a joint election; and discussed current lake levels and the city’s drought contengency plan.
Citywide cleanup has bee set for April 10-13. The convenience center will be open Wednesday-Friday, 3-7 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m