Cabin issue raises sparks, eyebrows
Sanders takes helm after heated talk
By LPR Staff
In attempting to wrap up outstanding business before turning the helm of the city over to newly-elected Mayor Ray Sanders, outgoing mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram brought himself into the crosshairs on Tuesday night.
Only four items were listed on the agenda for Tuesday even
ing’s special meeting, including canvassing the votes from the May 3, 2010, election and swearing Sanders into office. Afterward, Sanders was scheduled to make a presentation to Bertram, thanking him for his service to the community.
First, though, Bertram had scheduled discussion about dismantling and moving the Brock Cabin from its current location in Lions’ Park until such a time that the Brock Cabin Committee is able to attain the support and funds to restore the cabin, or until a new location can be determined.
Even District One Councimember Kenny Roland, a longtime proponent of moving the cabin to open up space in the only municipal park in his district, seemed moved when Joan Bostic, a descendant of the Brock family, tearfully asked, “When did this become about not saving the cabin for Lockhart, but saving the cabin from Lockhart.”
Including Bostic, 16 individuals spoke to the council in support of leaving the cabin alone, and giving the Brock Cabin Committee more time to receive quotes and provide a real-life estimate as to the cost of restoring the building.
In recent weeks, figures have varied between $100,000 to $194,000 for the cost of the restoration. Most of those funds, the committee expects, will come from grants and private contributions. To date, they have only asked the council to match the funds they have presently raised from private fundraisers, estimated to be some $17,000, in an effort to show good faith in the project.
Michael Laird read a letter the Save the Brock Cabin Committee received from the Texas Historical Commission, stating the cabin would qualify as a historical building because of its local significance and, in part, due to the fact that it may be the oldest wooden building in Lockhart. In that letter, the THC recommended not dismantling the structure.
Supports sang the praises of heritage tourism, which some figures suggest is the second leading money-maker in the Texas tourism industry. They lauded the Brock Cabin as a structure of history, of education and of economic development, worthy of saving, rather than an urban blight worthy of demolition.
Only one person in attendance expressed any vocal dissention to the plans to renovate the cabin, asking the council to have the committee explain who would be responsible for the cabin after the restoration, and requesting assurance that the once-ignored building wouldn’t once again go unnoticed and uncared for after the renovation.
After public commentary, which included a request from Sanders that the measure be tabled until he had the opportunity to “take care of it,” District Four Councilmember Richard Banks immediately made a motion to table the measure. Had the motion passed, it would have precluded any further discussion of the issue – a discussion the rest of the councilmembers clearly wanted to have, as they voted the motion down 3-4. Banks’ insistence at having his motion voted upon caused Bertram, at one point, to threaten to have him removed from the room and, later in the meeting, prompted District One Councilmember Kenny Roland to say, “I don’t have to be as polite to you as the mayor does, but I’m going to ask you to give me the same respect that I give you.”
The ensuing discussion, at times respectful and at times, not, led to each of the councilmembers in his own way expressing concern over committing tax dollars to the cabin, but personal support for the project.
Despite Sanders’ request that the initiative be tabled, Banks made a second motion that the council commit to not disassembling or moving the cabin. The measure passed, 5-2 with Bertram and Roland voting against the measure. Both said they did so as a result of Sanders’ request that no action be taken.
Although it is not currently scheduled, it is expected that the Brock Cabin issue will return to the council table in the future.