Cain Center project to move forward; council meeting set to discuss funding

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

We learned this week the Cain Center rehabilitation project will continue, but there is still debate among Athens City Council members about how much to spend.

The council discussed the issue during its regular meeting Monday night, which saw a standing-room-only audience and nearly an hour of citizen comments, almost all of which were in support of moving forward with the Cain Center.

The turnout was fueled by a split in the council last month when Mayor Monte Montgomery and Councilwoman Toni Garrard Clay wanted to continue forward with the project, while Councilmen Ed McCain and Robert Gross argued to stop work and send the question to voters in the form of a bond election.

The confusion stalled the project.

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Athens City Council votes to close collection site

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

The Athens City Council voted to close the City’s collection site Monday night.

The action came for two reasons:

  • State rules call for community collection sites to be registered with the TCEQ, however that has not been the case in Athens in the past. Complying with this requirement could bring the site under closer scrutiny from the state and officials worry that could lead to liability issues.
  • The collection site does not support itself. Through fees, the collection site brought in about $14,000 last year, but it cost $55,000 to operate the site. That’s a $40,000 tax subsidy to keep the site open, which was something council members did not want to see continue.

The City staff worked with Republic Services to come up with alternative plans for curbside bulk trash pickup, but the council decided not to go that route because of concerns it would be complicated for residents and the price could escalate after an initial three-year contract.

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City of Athens offers Downtown Façade Improvement Program again

This downtown property: 221 E. Tyler St. and owner, Jon Garrett, received funding from the 2017 Downtown Façade Improvement Program to do major improvements to this property. Improvements included mortar joint repair, tuck pointing, waterproofing, painting, and awning repair. (Courtesy photo)

Press release

For the second consecutive year, the City of Athens is pleased to offer the Downtown Façade Improvement Program to qualifying downtown property owners. In Fiscal Year 2017, the Athens City Council approved the creation of the Downtown Façade Improvement Program. This new and exciting program is designed to help improve aesthetic qualities and preserve historic structures in the Athens downtown area.

“The first year of the program was a huge success,” said Community Services Coordinator Adrianna Hinds. “The City received over 10 applications for requests for improvements ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 and, after administrative review, was able to fund 6 of them.” She added, “we look forward to another successful year in 2018 and encourage downtown property owners to take advantage of this funding opportunity.”

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Athens EDC calls for grant applications

Press release

Athens Economic Development Corporation has announced its call for Community Development Grant applications.

The Community Development Grant program is designed to provide grants for eligible projects which promote sports, cultural, entertainment and community projects that attract tourism and contribute to quality of life, business development and growth of Athens sales tax revenue. All projects must be located in the city of Athens, in addition to creating an economic impact on the city.

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GBC resident Earl Brunner is candidate for State House

Press release

Gun Barrel City resident, local veteran and aviator, Republican Earl Brunner, announced his candidacy in the race to represent District 4 in the Texas House of Representatives. He will be seeking the nomination in the 2018 Republican primary elections on March 6 this upcoming year.

“I will work every single day for this community,” Brunner said. “This is about the future of Texas and our communities.”

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