Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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April 11, 2013

Civic center project moves forward; sketches released

JACKSONVILLE — The committee organized last year to consider options regarding the creation of a planned Jack-sonville city civic center officially completed its work Tuesday, as closing remarks were made and sketches of the planned facility publicly released.

Committee members Shawn Eyre and former mayor Robert Haberle addressed the council regarding the conclusion. The committee was chaired by Jeff Austin, Jr.

The city council, meanwhile, now will mull design sketches and ponder possible payment plans. Members are looking to sit down and ponder options and think the entire matter through before making any decisions, city manager Mo Raissi said. No immediate deadline has been set.

The sketches are from Tyler architectural company Fitzpatrick Architects and show the proposed design of the center – which would be located in Nichols Green, near Trinity Mother Frances Hospital.

The city currently is planning to work with a $3 million budget for a 21,810-foot facility that could seat at least 1,600.

The city has a couple of hundred thousand dollars in reserve from the hotel-motel tax but needs other avenues of funding to actualize the rest of the project.

“That has not yet been decided,” Raissi said Wednesday.

Some citizens, such as mayoral candidate and restauranteur Rob Gowin, are opposed to the creation of a civic center right now.

“We need to clean the city up and put some tourism projects on the front burner first,” Gowin said in a recent interview.

“Once we establish that groundwork and the right environment in town, we can come back to a civic center.”

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