More high visibility changes on their way

Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez Robertson County News Thanks to the Hearne City Council and Hearne’s 4A and 4B Sales Tax Boards, the massive old cotton compress firewall, loading docks, and concrete slabs beside the depot will soon become history. Cherry Demolition, a company out of Houston that specializes in tearing down large buildings, will soon be moving-in equipment and starting a demolition process that will likely take three or so weeks. While some noise and inconvenience are expected with a project of this size, the removal of this major longtime eyesore should help breathe new life into the area just north of the railroad tracks from downtown. Many people recall the removal of the old Hearne Lumber Company and its replacement with DaVita. Lots of visitors and residents alike are going to be amazed at what a big improvement tearing down these structures will make to the adjoining neighborhoods as well as to what people see from downtown and the highway. Most of the depot parking lot will remain. So will the big slab closest to Fulton Street (which will be used for storage by the re-opened truss companies). Everything else will go. A multi-year process involved efforts to lease or purchase the land, a structural stability report on the cracked wall, a land survey, an appraisal, Phase I and Phase II environmental studies, an asbestos survey (to make sure some joint adhesive didn’t contain anything problematic), clearing of scrub brush/trash trees, and a storm water pollution prevention plan (that will result in the installation of a silt fence and the monitoring of drainage run-off). Metal in the busted-up concrete will be sold. The concrete fragments themselves will be trucked to Bryan, crushed, and recycled into paving material. The Bryan Cotton Warehouse, which was under a long-term surface lease on this property with the railroad, has, in recent years, graciously allowed the city to use part of this unused parcel as depot parking. With the city’s purchase of this property now complete, the Bryan Cotton Warehouse will be released from having to pay annual rent on this unused property. Funding and design efforts are underway to build a new Crossroads Center on this site that will be capable of hosting large gatherings of out-of-town guests and others (weddings, banquets, receptions, quinceaneras, reunions, concerts, regional multi-day trainings for railroad, power plant, oil & gas company workers, tool, car, tractor, and bridal shows). Local LaTonya Darnell even plans to host multi-day hair shows showcasing central Texas stylists. This multi-use center will share a parking lot with the historic depot. After the concrete is gone, the depot’s black wrought iron fence will likely be extended to Fulton Street along the railroad tracks. Since the legally mandated silt fence will include the depot parking lot (where debris will be falling and heavy machinery and dump trucks will be operating), the depot will be closed for safety reasons from Easter to Memorial Day. It will re-open in time for summer visitors. The brand new depot sign was hit by lightning a couple of months ago. Even though everything was supposedly surge protected, the computer inside and all of the sign’s circuit panels outside were fried. New panels, which are on their way from China, have to be tested in a shop for several weeks before they can be installed. The sign and its computer were covered by the city’s insurance.

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