Mulls potential Texas Treasure Business applicants
By Shanna Cummings
The Van Horn Economic Development Corporation (EDC) heard from representatives of Madewell Construction who are interested in a three-acre lot on Broadway to build a new dollar store. The representatives called in during the June 16 meeting to discuss details of the project and answer questions before officially submitting the plans to the board.
The new business would be located on the corner of Broadway and Cypress Street.
The EDC asked that the site plan shift to spare the Magnolia Station building, one of the sites EDC members would like to preserve for historical merit. The rest of the buildings on the lot would be demolished.
The new building would be located on the lot in order to allow complementary businesses to locate there as well, should store traffic patterns indicate sufficient interest. The site plans included additional parking and desert climate landscaping to discourage parking along the streets.
EDC members voted to approve the site plans and send them on to the city’s engineering department for review.
Downtown Parking Lot
The downtown parking lot project has moved on to phase two of the design process. Members of the EDC recently presented the preliminary design to city council, who appeared receptive to the project. Preliminary designs depict a gathering space with limited parking that allows for hosting outdoor events and food trucks. But Van Horn will need to attract or create more events than it has in recent years in order to make the expense worthwhile, members said.
“The EDC reps went to the city council at their last meeting to discuss the need, if we’re going to do this, to have events, and they seem very receptive with the idea that we need to be doing a lot more events, whether it be down there (at the parking lot) or anywhere. That’s why we have a convention center with an event coordinator,” EDC president Becky Brewster said.
Further details will be discussed in later meetings as the project progresses.
EDC secretary Laura Reyes expressed concern about how the space would be maintained, pointing out the current parking lot does not receive much attention or maintenance.
“I have a lot of mixed emotions about this,” Laura Reyes said. “We know in the parking lot right now that we’re not even maintaining to begin with. And we’re spending all this money and we don’t even have a plan [to maintain it].”
She added later that she didn’t have reservations about the project itself, only the question of the park’s upkeep. She chose to abstain from the vote to accept the plans. The project isn’t scheduled to be completed until spring of 2022.
Ahead of July’s Frontier Days and Jubilee events, EDC members approved $2000 for pruning and sprucing up the parking lot landscaping and fixing the drip irrigation system.
EDC members discussed possible Van Horn businesses that would qualify for the Texas Treasure Business Awards, which celebrate businesses over 50 years old. The awards would include a ceremony and a decal to display. Members considered The Van Horn Advocate, The Taylor Motel, Chuy’s restaurant, and the Sands Motel. The application requires some research to gather the necessary proof of criteria.
The newly opened municipal pool should receive the shade canopies and EDC plaque by the end of the month.
The EDC also discussed the next steps in hiring an employee to facilitate plans and projects. A committee of EDC members will put together a job description for the position for board discussion in a future meeting.