NOLANVILLE — Imagine pulling onto Main Street from U.S. Highway 190 and driving over the railroad tracks into a town with sidewalks that resemble train station platforms lined with antique street lamps.
That was one of many ideas proposed by the three residents who attended the City Council’s community workshop Tuesday night to discuss the future of Nolanville.
“I thought of it just from hearing the train whistle blow every night,” said Colleen Smith, who has lived in Nolanville for six years. “A lot of people don’t want to come to this town because of the noise of the train, but I like it.”
Smith also suggested the city parks be refurbished.
“If we get those established, then people will see the city is serious about beautifying Nolanville and making it a better town to live in,” she said.
Other suggestions included constructing a new City Hall and police department, fixing roadways, creating hiking and biking trails, installing more streetlights, school bus stops and sidewalks.
The council agreed that revamping the downtown area would attract more people and businesses to the city.
City Manager Stephen Pearl, who led the workshop, said much needs to be done to beautify Nolanville. He is currently developing an economic development board to create market studies and business incentives and to host park cleanups to attract outside developers.
Pearl also is creating a “substandard building committee” that will be in charge of tearing down abandoned and substandard structures that are eyesores in the city.
“Funding is definitely going to be the major impact,” he said. “But if we identify the priorities, then we can allocate the proper funding.”
Despite the productive discussion, one resident was upset about the low turnout at the workshop.
“It’s a disappointment that no one showed up,” said Mary Utterback, asking where were all the people who continuously complain about the city roads and appearance.
However, Utterback, a Nolanville resident for six years, was pleased with the workshop discussion about allowing senior citizens and youth groups to use the community center. Starting in May, the center will open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. one Wednesday per month for senior citizens to play card games, enjoy coffee and donuts, and socialize.
The council is seeking volunteers to assist with these events.
“There’s not a lot of money to work with in the city, but if we can get people to volunteer, then who better to get than people in churches that are volunteering already?” said Councilman Dennis Biggs, who also volunteered to serve as the cleanup crew for the center.
Pearl said he hopes to have more community workshops in the future.