Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

September 16, 2013


Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — This letter is addressing the letter to the editor from Reece Daniel concerning the Yum Yum’s downtown property. The letter states that the property owner or the lien holder should clean up the destroyed property and that the clean up should not be the responsibility of the city. The letter also states that this is the “rest of the story.” That is in fact not the rest of the story. The complete story is the the owner has abandoned the property, moved out of the city, and opened another business. No one, including the city, has sued him. 

Reece Daniel says that the lien holder should be responsible if the owner is not. How foolish would it be for any lien holder, be it a bank or an individual, to take that responsibility? If the cost of the clean-up for this building is as the letter states, $60,000 to $70,000; one has to ask, “is the lot is even worth that much money?”  If the property is worth as much as the cost of the clean up, then lien holder would jump at the opportunity to clean it up.

It is the unknown cost associated with this property that prevents any prudent individual from taking the risk.  Who, then, should take the risk?  The answer is that the entire community should take on this project. If the city’s lien does not take precedence before the first lien holder, then the city should negotiate with the 1st lien holder to purchase the note.  After clean up, the city should auction the property and sell it for a fair market value. This issue will then be settled. 

If the city recoups all of its cost, that is great. If it does not, then at least the city no longer has the unsightly blight that is now downtown. And, the adjacent property holders can finally resume their businesses. 

Should we really allow the community to suffer by letting more derelict buildings sit unavailable for use when this issue can be resolved?  By not taking any action, the city will be putting a total of three downtown buildings out of commission to sit useless and abandoned. There are people in the community that believe that the city government has no responsibility to see that property values are maintained and improved. Let me ask those of you who have lived in this community for the last 30 years:  Is this city as vibrant as it once was?  Is it as attractive to newcomers? Is your property value increasing or not?  It is time for the community and its’ government to adopt a “creative, strong, vibrant, we can make Jacksonville better attitude.” What a great opportunity this could be for this town! The “tearing down” of a building could be the beginning of a “building up” of the community. 

The city leaders should seize this opportunity and be the leaders of fostering this attitude of pride in their city.  That will finally complete the story.

Wally and Lucy (Farmer) DeRoeck,


In response to Emily Griffin’s letter to the editor in the September 10th edition of the JDP, she states that the city should enforce their own rules. What makes you think that the city hasn’t enforced their own rules?

As I stated in my previous letter to the editor, there are specific steps and timelines that must be given to the property owner before penalties are applied.

As we all know, the property owner is probably not going to pay the city. If he had any money he would have paid both his insurance and bank note and then none of us would be having these discussions.

As to a previous letter to the editor that suggested for JEDCO to foot the expenses, JEDCO is not the “community chest.” There are guidelines as to how both municipalities and city economic development corporations can spend tax payers monies. This incident is not an approved expenditure for either organizations.

The city has already spent $11,000.00 on this property. It will take several more thousands of dollars to clean the property down to the slab that’s only worth about $4-5,000.

Why is the city to spend more money on this property when they will never receive a penny from it? What makes it worse is this property will be off the tax rolls until somebody buys it.

Why don’t you ask the bank what they are going to do for the community? Why didn’t the bank do their due diligence and make a better credit decision before lending the money? They should ensure that the person borrowing the money can repay the loan and has insurance. Sure it’s easy for the bank to wash their hands from it, write-off their loss and sell the note for $1.00. Pretty shrewd business don’t you think.

I want nothing more than to have a vibrant downtown like what it used to be or as other cities. However, realistically, the downtown buildings are not up to codes and the cost to bringing those buildings up to codes is very expensive.

The average person that wants to be in business cannot afford these expenses. These days, people want to get rich quick. It’s not possible. You think Bealls Department Store or Brookshire Bros. got rich over night? No, they did not. It took years for them to build their businesses. Years that included generations of family members working it together because they couldn’t go hire someone to run the business. Years where they stayed opened like they advertised and not put a sign on the door stating “We be back later.” And they didn’t go looking for a handout when sales were down.

They tightened up the purse strings, dug in a little deeper and kept marching forward. They persevered.

Phyllis Wilburn,