Council awards facade grants for work on Halsell

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, May 15, 2019
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Mayor and the mc

Mayor and the MC — Mayor Randy Singleton issued a proclamation to make May Motorcycle Awareness Month in the City of Bridgeport during Monday’s city council meeting. Members of the Texas Denton Heathens motorcycle club were in attendance for the proclamation. Messenger photo by Austin Jackson

Following more than $1 million in repairs and improvements to buildings along Halsell Street, the city of Bridgeport is paying a local developer back for his work in improving the look of downtown Bridgeport.

The Bridgeport City Council voted 4-0 to approve awarding Jonathon Cortez a total of $20,000 in facade grants for improvements to four properties. Council member Kevin Lopez was not present to vote Monday night.

“We appreciate what you are doing,” Mayor Randy Singleton said. “The impact on our community is great.”

The grant was awarded for work on four buildings located at 1008 Halsell St., 1024 Halsell St., 1026 Halsell St. and 1028 Halsell St.

Cortez said he has invested $1 million in the four buildings, which make up half of his eight-property project along Halsell Street.

“We’re putting in a lot more work than just improving the facades of these buildings,” Cortez said. “These are old structures with old wiring, and we’re replacing that. We’re improving these buildings on the inside and out.”

In other business, Jonah Hall, representing the owners of the vacant Dollar General building at 712 U.S. 380, presented a plan to renovate and remodel the 7,500-square-foot building into a climate controlled self-storage building.

Hall spoke before the council in August and was told he would need to install a sprinkler system based on the city’s fire code, which requires an automatic fire suppression system (sprinkler system) in a building of that size.

On Monday, the council voted 3-1 to find out how to pursue a possible fire code variance. Council member Billy Fred Walker opposed without comment.

Since August, Hall said he has attempted to lease the building but hasn’t found any tenants, aside from a vape and tobacco store, which he and the owners decided against due to community concerns.

Hall presented a mock-up of the business and the building. He said the plan is to name it Bulls Storage, using the Bridgeport Bull logo and team colors on the building and sign.

Hall said the storage facility would be climate controlled, filling a regional climate controlled storage void, and bring commerce to a building that’s been vacant since June 2017.

After looking into the cost of installing a sprinkler system, Hall said the total cost averaged $125,028.75 between high and low quotes. The highest quote was $145,596, and the lowest quote was $104,461.

Hall suggested a compromise with the business paying to install a fire hydrant within 100 feet of the building if given a variance.

The council will discuss the matter at its next meeting on June 10. Its May 27 meeting was canceled due to the Memorial Day holiday.

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