Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

February 21, 2014

Commission continues to grapple with downtown buildings

Two buildings face possible condemnation

The main development out of Wednesday’s Cleburne Building and Standards Commission meeting was that Bill’s Bookstore building in downtown escaped, for a month at least, the wrecking ball.

Board members granted the 30-day extension hoping for resolution to the situation — which at this point, all involved seem to agree, remains a long shot. 

Board members and Cleburne Fire Chief Clint Ishmael struggled with Ishmael’s recommendation that the building be condemned and demolished. All stressed they do not want to tear down Bill’s or any other downtown building but grappled with the reality that options are running thin. 

The hope, board members said, is that someone will buy the building. The reality is that the cost of necessary repairs and abatement of violations likely outweigh the value of the property.

City leaders, citing numerous violations, shut the building down in May. Longtime owner Bill Miller, who has since moved to Grandview, said he does not have the funds to make the necessary repairs. Attempts to sell the building have been unsuccessful and city officials said the building now requires the extra cost of an asbestos survey.

Miller did not attend Wednesday’s meeting but later the same day said he holds little hope that his building can be saved or sold at this point. The building, Miller said, is the oldest, or one of the oldest, commercial buildings in downtown. 

Although Miller’s building was the sole commercial building recommended for demolition on Wednesday, it is but one of several downtown buildings in trouble.

Two adjoining downtown buildings at 111 E. Henderson St. and 113 E. Henderson St. may soon face condemnation if the owners fail to make progress toward repair.

Co-owner Carlos Rodriguez told board members he hopes to “gather funds” after he pays his taxes to begin repairs and to contact his brother in New York, another co-owner, to ask for help.

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