Run down though it may now be, Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain said he believes downtown Cleburne holds a wealth of potential.
Francis deKock, a project manager with Halff Associates, agrees.
“Cleburne already has what other towns, especially newer towns, envy,” deKock said. “A well structured downtown with a historic feel. Other towns try to recreate that, but you never really can.”
The time to address downtown revitalization is now, Cain said, given predictions of substantial population and business growth in the coming years with the opening of Texas 121, a toll road linking Fort Worth and Cleburne, expected next year.
The city recently hired Halff Associates, employing grant funding from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, to undertake a comprehensive downtown master plan study. Completion of the study should take about a year, deKock said, adding that community input is vital to the success of the project.
The initial stages of that input begin with two downtown community input town halls set for 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 25 and 8:30-10 a.m. Feb. 26 at the Cleburne Conference Center, 1501 W. Henderson St. Project team leaders will be on hand to visit with attendees 30 minutes before each meeting.
“Cleburne’s future is bright and a big part of our future is our historic downtown,” Cain said. “I am genuinely excited about the opportunity to see our downtown restored and once again full of life, but this will not happen without careful planning and the input of our residents and businesses.
“I urge everyone to attend one of the two community meetings and share your vision of what Cleburne can become. We have the opportunity to reflect on where we have been, what we want to do in the future and how we realize our dreams.”
The hope, deKock said, is to both renovate the historic aspects of downtown but also complement them with harmonious touches of the modern to bring downtown into the 21st century through a “beautiful contrast” while still maintaining Cleburne’s unique character.