As a concerned Cleburne citizen, I would like to suggest the following:
1. The tree/park lighting was beautiful. However, the county needs to do much more on and with the courthouse and the area around it. It looks half-done.
2. On Harrell Street is an old, faded green building on a “for sale” property. This old building was the first telegraph office in Johnson County, moved there years ago by the previous, now deceased owner. IT should be obtained and relocated at the park, with an appreciation inscription on it to the now deceased owner.
3. The history of Johnson County has been, for the most part, neglected. Historical buildings have been torn down, obviously with governmental support. The historical societies here should be given full support to preserve what is remaining.
4. The Dang building downtown across from the courthouse should be purchased at any cost by the city of county. Use downtown Natchitoches, Louisiana, as an example and make it contain benches, free parking, aesthetically beautiful. This needs to be obtained. New businesses are starting, but no matter where they are located, parking is an issue. Provide some open, free parking areas.
5. There is a former hospital down on Mill Street that should be developed. It is beautiful, but it is an eyesore, because it just sits there vacant, the testimony to a dead Cleburne. Something needs to be done with it now, regardless of who owns it. And, most certainly, no jail and no government offices need to be there. It would make a great condo area; keep people inside the city. If nothing can be done with it, tear it down.
6. I have heard from many people that they do not want to invest in Cleburne because it has unreasonable rules and regulations that prohibit investing, restoring buildings here. Fire, demote or retire every rude, crude or unhappy employee, at every level from the sanitation department to the mayor’s office. We do not need them. The good ol’ boy system needs to end, and Cleburne needs to move forward faster, with excellently trained, personable employees. If employees cannot handle this — fire them ASAP. They need to appreciate Cleburne and its people.
7. The new downtown businesses, again. Don’t just attract them here and then let them flounder. Help them. These people and their businesses need help from the local government; help with parking, advertisement and a “we want you here” attitude from the city and county, not roadblocks as they try to create a business and make a living here. In other words, Cleburne: help them or leave them alone.
8. This area need tax help. We need many more businesses that hire people and that help relieve the tax burden on the citizens who live here.
9. Clean up the city. Trashy, unkept houses are openly allowed here, and, if they do try to haul off trash, the sanitation department hassles or charges too much. Clean this city up. Parking in yards is allowed too much, with the excuse that the streets were built for wagons. These people moved here after the wagons, make them park off their yards. No tolerance.
10. We have new sidewalks, a “baseball team,” beautiful old buildings, Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum, Cleburne Carnegie Players and Plaza Theatre Co., a great history, a valid, untapped, available workforce and lots of nice people. Get with it.
11. Taxes are still too high. Something must be done to lower them. We need a citizen review board to look over every taxing entity’s records of expenses and incomes, to determine where the money is going and how we can do better with the people’s money. Our school, our city, our college and county are spending too much money. It ain’t Monopoly money — or, is it?
12. Too often, those who have the people’s money, think that it is play money or Monopoly money and how soon they forget. We citizens need to hold every taxing authority accountable for spending our money.
13. It’s time to drain the swamp here in Cleburne. Better business attitudes, informing the citizens of improvements, treating people like people and cleaning this city up need to occur.
If the governmental employees of this city and county cannot get something done, replace them with those who can. If the city and county employees cannot respect every citizen then get rid of them.
14. The elderly are taxed too high, with fixed incomes and no hope of increased incomes. Tax help? No, just excuses. They need genuine lower taxes.
15. Speaking about cleaning this city up — there are many organizations in Cleburne that could help paint houses, clean up yards, etc., with many unused teenagers and adults who would willingly help make a better Cleburne. No one asks them. Put volunteers to work.
Dr. Jannay Valdez is a