County to restrict usage of Courthouse Lawn
By LPR Staff
The use of the Courthouse Lawn continues to be a matter of some contention for the Caldwell County Commissioners Court.
During the Court’s regular meeting on Monday morning, Commissioners discussed an application process and a variety of rules that will limit the use of the Courthouse Lawn during local festivals, inclu
ding Diez y Seis de Septiembre and Dickens on the Square.
The application process, which Commissioner Tom Bonn suggested last month and has been working with local organizations to enact, will require organizations to give the Court at least eight weeks in advance of a large event, or two weeks prior to a smaller event.
Applicants must commit to leaving the Courthouse Lawn “clean and unharmed,” and to limit the items sold on the lawn. Items such as “pop rocks,” confetti, silly string and pellet guns should be discouraged, and vendors will not be allowed to stake tents to the lawn.
Though most of the Commissioners supported the policy as it was presented and suggested by the committee, Bonn still harbored some objections.
“If you have 5,000 people walking across your lawn in two days, it’s going to look like you’ve had 5,000 people on your lawn,” he said. “I think a much bigger issue is working with the organizations to see if their events have outgrown the Square, and suggesting maybe they move out to City Park.”
Commissioner Neto Madrigal was hesitant to enact the policy, reminding the Commissioners that the lawn belongs to the public, and that the citizens of Caldwell County have the right to enjoy the lawns. Bonn responded he agreed, but also felt the Court had been entrusted to protect the county’s assets and ensure the continued beauty of the Courthouse Lawn.
The application process passed the Court with a 3 – 1 vote, with Bonn alone standing against it.
“If we do it this way, nothing is going to change,” he said.
In related business, Bonn asked the other Commissioners to consider canceling a contract the Court signed in May with Banner Landscapers. Since the contract was signed, County officials have been unable to reach staff of Banner Landscaping. Though the company contacted County Judge H.T. Wright asking for an initial payment, Wright said he could not confirm what work had been done, and repeated calls to the landscaper had gone unreturned.
The Commissioners will discuss the issue with District Attorney Trey Hicks and make a decision as to whether to cancel the contract during their next meeting.
In brief news:
Despite rainfall brought to the area last week by Hurricane Dolly, the Commissioners opted to leave the outdoor burning ban in place, agreeing that some areas in the county had not received sufficient rain to offset the considerable danger of wildfire.
The approved lists of Election Judges and Alternates presented by election coordinator Mary Vicky Gonzales.
The County paid bills in the amount of $139,176.45, which includes $4,575 in indigent legal defense payments.
The Caldwell County Commissioners Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.