An agreement between the Henrietta Growth Corporation and Frank Douthitt for the purchase of a building located on the courthouse square fell through Monday when the Henrietta City Council chose not to approve the transaction by taking no action.
In January, the HGC and Douthitt entered into a memorandum of understanding for the Lawyers’ Building, located at 118 N. Bridge St. The HGC agreed to purchased the building from Douthitt for $100,000. In return, Douthitt offered a donation of $25,000 to the HGC, bring the actual cost of the building to $75,000.
The cost of the building required two public hearings and approval by the city council before the transaction could take place.
The planned purchase drew criticism during the first public hearing, held in February, from Jack Ellis, president of ClayTex Trophies. Ellis believes that it is not in the best interest of the HGC to set a precedence of buying buildings.
On Monday, Douthitt addressed rumors that he said have been circulating through Henrietta. Douthitt was approached by Henrietta Economic Development Director Rick Langford about purchasing the building for $95,000 — the value of the structure as listed on the tax roll. Douthitt and Langford then worked out the $75,000 purchase plan.
“I was not trying to promote a building sale, I am interested in downtown Henrietta,” said Douthitt. “I’ve been here my whole life, and I don’t view this as a sell-out.”
Douthitt said insurance and property taxes on the building were approximately $4,600 per year, an amount his donation of $25,000 would have covered for five years.
“I don’t want the HGC to buy it if you think it is a bailout,” Douthitt told the council. “But if you don’t support the growth corporation, how do you expect us to.”
In other business, the Henrietta City Council:
- Approved a request by the Henrietta and Clay County Chamber of Commerce to close North Main, West Gilbert and West Ikard streets on the courthouse square from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 20, for Turkey Fest activities, and authorized the city to enter into an agreement with TxDOT for the closure of North Bridge Street at the same time and date.
- Discussed current lake levels and the drought contingency plan. Lake Arrowhead is at 39.5 percent capacity.
- Held a closed session to discuss personnel. No action was taken.