• December 24, 2014

Salado to hold inaugural town hall meeting

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Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2014 4:30 am

SALADO — Two proposed projects — a village sewer system and the Hidden Glen senior living center — will headline a town hall meeting in Salado on Monday.

The Salado board of aldermen will hold the village’s inaugural town hall meeting at 7 p.m. in the Salado Civic Center, 601 N. Main St.

A sewer system has been one of the key issues in Salado for years, and the consideration of it has led the village to spend tens of thousands of dollars commissioning engineering and design studies.

In October, the board voted to spend $3,700 to amend a preliminary design plan that came from a $9,300 contract approved in September 2012.

When the subject of studies for the sewer system came up at an April 10 candidate forum, Bryan Fritch, a current member of the board of aldermen, said there are studies “going back to 2002” at the village’s municipal building.

Despite all the work that has gone to researching the sewer system, village residents will not be able to debate the cost of the project at Monday’s meeting.

“We won’t know that until the engineering reports are finished,” Mayor Danney McCort said. He estimated that the latest engineering report could cost up to $80,000.

The presentation that will be given to residents will focus on the progress that has been made between lawyers for the city and Morris Foster, the Salado businessman who wants to donate his wastewater plant to the village.

Foster approached the village in June about the donation. By giving the village a 50,000-gallons-per-day treatment plant, Foster could secure a tax write-off and the village would have a starting point for the construction of a municipal sewer system.

Also on the agenda will be a discussion of the Hidden Glen senior living center. The development of the senior living center has generated confusion and controversy in the village since it was proposed last fall. Hidden Glen is expected to be on 10 to 12 acres just outside of Salado’s city limits northeast of the intersection of Mary Lane and Vanessa Street. The design presented to both Salado’s board and the Bell County Commissioners Court will feature 35 two-bedroom apartments and 15 one-bedroom apartments.

JES Development Co., Hidden Glen’s developer, is in the process of applying for a competitive grant administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

Representatives from JES Development will discuss the intricacies of the grant funding mechanism at Monday’s town hall, McCort said.

Much of the confusion and controversy around Hidden Glen stems from a feeling by village residents that the project was rushed through and the vote was cast behind closed doors, Hans Fields, current member of the board of aldermen and candidate for mayor, said Thursday.

Some members of the board feel that any controversy surrounding Hidden Glen is a storm in a teacup.

“The board voted on that months ago,” Fritch said. “As far as I can tell, the vote was taken by the board and (JES Development) is ready to move forward they are just waiting on a go-ahead from the state.”

Hidden Glen isn’t the first proposed development of its kind in the village, Fritch said. “It was the same proposal we had last year,” Fritch said. “The only difference is that they didn’t get the funding then.”

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