By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
A former plumbing supply shop that has since become nothing more than one wall and one partial wall, is going to become the latest city park in Corsicana.
Corsicana already has one “pocket park,” the small park set inside the footprint of what had been a downtown building, but now a second is being planned at 317 N. Beaton, next to the Third Avenue Meat Market. On May 7, the Corsicana City Council authorized spending $15,000 to buy the lot. The next step is appropriating enough money to put in a floor.
“We haven’t budgeted or appropriated any money yet,” explained City Manager Connie Standridge. “What we propose to do first is to reconstruct the floor and establish plumbing for the restrooms at one end and go from there with the design.”
Putting in a floor is a priority because the lot is currently holding water when it rains, which is causing grief for the two buildings on either side of it, Bill’s Appliances, and Third Avenue.
“My purpose is to get it to the point where it doesn’t damage the buildings on either side,” Standridge said. “It will make for a more attractive downtown and improve the aesthetics. Right now, it’s a black eye. I think it will be a good investment for the city. I think people appreciate the pocket park now, and we’d like to duplicate something like that.”
Neighbors on either side of the site are Bill’s Appliance, owned by Tom Gafford, and Third Avenue Meat Market owned by J.D. Johnston. When the roof finally caved in on the former plumbing shop it sent a cascade of water down into the walls of both of the other stores.
Since then, there’s water leeching into the walls of Bill’s Appliance.
“The brickwork on the outside over there needs to be sealed to keep moisture from coming in,” he said. “I do have moisture in my walls and there’s not a dang thing I can do about it.”
Gafford said he would welcome a park next door to his shop.
“I always thought it would be a great place for a pocket park rather than a bar or something,” he said. “I’m glad to hear that. I’ll have someplace to go and have lunch.”
Johnston said he would welcome a park, but was concerned that events like hot dog luncheons might interrupt business.
“I might have to go out and grill (and sell) steaks,” Johnston said.
Unlike the pocket park on the other end of Beaton, the 317 N. Beaton one will be set up with covered awnings all around the periphery and places for vendors to set up. The design work was done by the Main Street Design Center in Austin, a Texas Historical Commission support system for Main Street Office around the state
“It’s based on an Italian villa,” explained Steve Dieterichs, Main Street Director. “We wanted a place where we could set up vendors, like an open-air market place but with some shade structures.”
Sharla Allen said she’s excited to have another pocket park. The first one is at 118 N. Beaton, and is used for outdoor concerts, public luncheons and other downtown functions.
“We’re moving forward with it to make it a little marketplace design,” she said. “We can open it up to vendors on the weekend, which I think is great. I’d like to do some little bistro tables and umbrellas, make it pleasing to the eye.”
The work on the site will start as soon as funding becomes available, Standridge said.
Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com