By Victoria Ybarra, Correspondent
At Feb. 26’s Belton City Council meeting, members met at the Harris Community Center to discuss a multitude of things. The evening began with the reciting of the United States Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas pledge, followed by a short prayer. One of the topics was the authorization of a Facade improvement grant to 106 West Central Avenue, proposed by council member John Holmes. Council members met, along with a digital visage standing in for one member (David K. Leigh) who was out of state in Mammoth Lakes at the time, to talk over the Authorization along with an appeal regarding a decision the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) had previously made to disapprove the Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) application for the South Facade (Front) of the building at 106 W. Central Ave. The building is a turn of the century, Postwar piece of Belton’s history.
Arguments were made for and against the approval of the sanction. Although the Certificate of Appropriateness was originally disapproved, the city council approved it along with North Facade. Initially, there was talk of further disapproval because of prior renovations since the ’50s, some council members wanted to take the facade back to an even earlier reminiscent time of 1890 as some members felt that the 1950s were not historical enough for the approval, Council member Wayne Carpenter was among those. One member even went as far as to call the buildings current face “ugly”.
Facade improvements are incentive programs created to encourage property owners and businesses to improve the exterior appearance of their buildings and storefronts. They focus on either commercial or residential properties in historic or non-historic areas and provide financial incentives such as a matching grant or loan, a tax incentive, and design assistance. Even simple changes, such as the removal of non-historic materials, repairs, or a new paint job that calls attention to the building’s original architectural details signal positive change and often stimulate similar improvements in neighboring buildings.
Council member and Mayor Pro Tem, Craig Pearson, was in agreement to restore the building to its mid-century glory. In the end, the council voted unanimously to approve Both the Authorization and the appeal for the North and South Facade for 106 W. Central Ave.
Conclusively both articles were voted for in favor, undividedly. To honor the original Belton Journal building, celebrating it’s 153 years of publishing news, sports weather and information.