By Joshua Winata
The Cove Herald
LAMPASAS — A native daughter of Lampasas has returned to take leadership of a town on the brink of an economic boom.
Last month, Judith Hetherly took the seat of mayor of Lampasas, a position formerly held by Jack Calvert for the past 16 years.
Born and raised in Lampasas, Hetherly left the town to attend Southwest Texas State College in 1960 thinking she would never return. She studied home economics education and eventually received a master’s degree at Texas Women’s University.
Hetherly worked in the education sector, serving as director of home economics for the Texas State Board of Education from 1982 to 1996 and the national director of the National Coalition of Family and Consumer Science until 1998. She then moved to New York where she was involved in projects to develop educational standards for the state.
After nearly four decades abroad, Hetherly returned to her hometown of Lampasas in 1999 to take care of her ailing mother. While Lampasas at the time lacked some of the big-city technological conveniences to which Hetherly was accustomed, the town’s potential for growth and development excited Hetherly and eventually won her affections.
“I think Lampasas is a progressive city that has a lot of possibilties for business growth and economic growth, and I think we’re going to see that. With the springs we have here, we’re sitting on a gold mine,” Hetherly said.
In fact, the natural mineral springs are what got Hetherly involved in Lampasas politics. The town was thinking of shutting down Hancock Springs Pool, which Hetherly saw as a potential tourist attraction, so she joined the campaign to keep the pool open. Hancock Springs Pool remains operational to this day, and Hetherly remains active in city government.
Hetherly served two terms on the city council and is the president of the Lampasas Economic Development Corporation board. As mayor, Hetherly sees herself as a facilitator, collaborating with city and county officials, the school district and Lampasas citizens to achieve positive growth and a sound economy.
“One thing that we’ve got to do is get the economic base up here. You can’t fund a city on housetops. You’ve got to get business and industry in your economy. There’s got to be a mix,” Hetherly said.
Her priorities as mayor are to develop a recently purchased business park and to work with the newly formed Downtown Task Force to inventory available downtown commercial space and attract buyers.
“We have a beautiful downtown, and it’s here only because of that courthouse,” Hetherly said. “We have never planned for anything down here. It just happened. This task force is looking at where (downtown) wants to go.”
The city council is also challenged with revising the Comprehensive Plan for the city. The plan was developed in 2005, but the broad scope of the document created challenges in implementation. Hetherly said that the plan must be more focused.
“We need to plan out for the future, but not so far that you can’t get your arms around it,” Hetherly said.
Besides her involvement in city council, Hetherly opened her own gift and antiques shop, called Old Town Antiques, in the Lampasas downtown square in 2000.
Hetherly claims a lifelong fascination with antiques because of the history and quality put into each piece.
“I like them because they have withstood many things throughout the years, and they have survived. They’re made better, and they’re just solid pieces,” Hetherly said.
Since opening her shop, Hetherly has also developed a knack for furniture restoration and has worked on granite, pottery and wood. She is currently restoring a church pew from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church that is over a century old.
Hetherly is a fan of the arts and enjoys frequenting museums. She appreciates music, sculpture, painting, dance and every other form of expression, but claims no artistic talent herself.
“I cannot draw; I cannot paint; I cannot sing; I cannot play the piano, but I enjoy each of those things,” she said.
Hetherly may not be an artist, but she has accomplished much in her lifetime, and as mayor of Lampasas, she has the opportunity for many more achievements still to come.
Contact Joshua Winata at email@example.com or calld (254) 547-6481