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City continues to pursue Main Street program

By DAVID TEWES
April 20, 2010 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated April 19, 2010 at 11:20 p.m.


The council also voted Tuesday to provide Habitat for Humanity with eight lots in the city-owned Swan Crossing subdivision.

The 55-lot, 12-acre single-family subdivision is at the northwest corner of Delmar Drive and Hanselman Road.

The only dissenting vote came from Council Member Gabriel Soliz, who had concerns about the Habitat for Humanity houses affecting property prices.

A Victoria businessman successfully asked the city council on Tuesday to slow work on entering the state's Main Street program to help ensure the plan is successful.

"I'm a believer strongly that the Main Street program can and will be a success," Robby Burdge told the council "But it needs to be done so with a partnership between the public and private sectors."

Joni Brown with Keep Victoria Beautiful had been asked to look into the possibility of the city becoming a member of the Texas Historical Commission Main Street program to help revitalize the downtown area.

She said advantages could include the state providing ongoing training for Main Street staff and directors. She said it could also provide architects who are experts on historic structures and who could offer tips to the city.

The council reached a consensus to let Burdge get involved and work with anyone interested in the program, whether it be private businesses, nonprofit organizations, or city and county government.

Mayor Will Armstrong said after the meeting he's in agreement.

"We want them to take time with the people most interested and who have a little more involvement," he said. "All these people are going to be pulled in together."

Council Member Paul Polasek said he's also OK with the idea.

"I'd like to see the options and expectations," he said. "We have time."

Burdge said he feels confident he and the others will return to the council with an acceptable, workable plan before the July deadline.

"For that downtown program to be successful, we're going to have to have everybody on the same page with one voice, one direction and one vision," he said. "Victoria has so much to offer. It's not a matter of reinventing the wheel. It's just a matter of getting the right people pushing the wheel."

In a related matter, the council gave staff permission to prepare an ordinance or resolution adopting a moratorium on demolishing any of the city's historic buildings. Council Member Denise Rangel proposed a 60-day moratorium.

"What happens if someone is interested in purchasing or moving the property?" she asked. "This will give them an opportunity to do this."

Her idea was sparked by demolition earlier this month of the Krenek House, which stood at the corner of Main and North streets for 84 years. It was demolished because of its deteriorating condition.

The structure was listed with the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Register of Historic Places for its unique architecture.

It was a rare Spanish colonial revival home.

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