HOUSTON – The Chickasaw Development Foundation came before the Houston Board of Aldermen with their hat in their hand but also a smile on their face and a long list of accomplishments in 2013 last week.
CDF approached the Houston Board of Aldermen seeking funding for 2014 and a change in the way revenue is funneled to the economic development organization through management of the Houston Civic Center.
CDF Executive Director Joyce East and CDF Chairman John Walden came before the city seeking $5,000 in general funds to be spent on CDF general operations and $2,000 to fund the bi-annual Houston Flywheel Festival. The city also voted to send fees generated by the rental of the Houston Civic Center to CDF.
“John Walden took over in May and under his leadership we have accomplished a lot of things,” said East. “Our board of directors and our volunteers are the people who make things happen at the Chickasaw Development Foundation.”
East pointed to the formation of several committees that have been very active this fall. She said plans are underway to bring a consultant to Houston through Mississippi State University to discuss ways to capitalize on the Tanglefoot Trail. East said this study will look at the Trail and how it will influence growth in the community.
“We have repeatedly told the people who travel the trail come to our community to eat, sleep and shop,” said Walden. “The Chickasaw Development Foundation wants to help grow businesses that meet those needs.”
East said a grant is being sought to develop Legion Lake and CDF hopes to host a fishing rodeo there or at Davis Lake this spring. East said there are also plans to build a pavilion at the southern gateway of the Tanglefoot Trail this summer.
In related business the city voted to accept a bid to replace and renovate the heating and cooling units at the Houston Civic Center.
East pointed out the building is 30 years old and in need of maintenance. Mayor Stacey Parker said East’s office is currently being heated with a portable heater.
In other business:
• The board was approached by Silvia Stone concerning drainage at her home on First Avenue. Stone said water from the nearby park drains onto her property. Houston Street Department Superintendent Ricko Nichols said they will survey the property and come back to aldermen with a solution.
• Aldermen approved a telephone tower for AT&T to be located on Highway 8 west of the Bypass. The freestanding, three-leg tower will be 155 feet tall and is expected to improve reception in that part of town.
• The board took property insurance quotes from Tabb Insurance and The Policy Center. The board took the quotes under advisement for study and made no decision.
• The city opened bids for culverts, gravel, fire equipment and consumables to be used in 2014. The bids will be compiled, checked and brought back before the board for approval.
• Aldermen voted to allow Houston Parks and Recreation Director John Gravat to bid on youth baseball and softball tournaments. The cities to be selected for tournaments will be selected in February.
• The board approved the hiring of three part-time police officers. Lee Womack, Terry Gladney and Joe Carnathan were hired by the Houston Police Department.
Police Chief Billy Voyles said he had sought a full-time officer but was unable to find a qualified applicant who wanted full-time work. Voyles pointed out Womack, Gladney and Carnathan are already certified and ready for patrol work.