Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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December 31, 2012

Top 10 Stories of 2012

2012 Elections chosen as top story of the year


Corsicana — No. 4: Navarro Generating pulls plug on plant

This year marked what was at least for the foreseeable future the end of the power plants in Navarro County.

In August, Navarro Generating pulled the plug on its requested air permit from the state’s environmental arm, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Navarro Generating was a proposed $600 million project to build a natural gas power plant.

The company has kept its land on Pisgah Ridge, however, in case the economics of the project improve, according to company officials.

The economics of building power plants in Texas, with the electricity structure the state has now, didn’t make sense, along with a battle for the permits necessary, company spokesman Chris Shugart said.

The decision to pull the air permit followed the pulling of the company’s application for a wastewater permit in 2011.

The company first applied for permits in 2009, but was met with local opposition from nearby property owners and homegrown environmentalists worried it would affect property values and health.

Another project, Pin Oak Creek Energy, an LS Power project, was officially canceled in 2009.

—Janet Jacobs

No. 5: Courthouse restoration

The long-discussed restoration of the 100-plus year old Navarro County Courthouse rode a roller-coaster of actions and reaction in 2012.

The county received word in January it had been awarded $4.5 million from the Texas  Historical Commission to help fund the project, estimated to cost about $9 million.

In July, on a 3-2 vote, the commissioners court voted to accept the grant, and began studies on moving the project forward with temporary locations, re-drafted plans, and talks on how to fund the county’s share of the work and pay for a temporary location for courthouse operations during the proposed work — estimated at about 30 months.

In November and December, a vote to sign the agreement for funding stalled, as commissioners further debated the pros and cons of the move and financing the county’s share of costs. As well, discussions of having to buy or build a courthouse annex building to house offices that a restored courthouse could no longer accommodate added to financial concerns, and added to the county’s share of costs for the project.

At the court’s Dec. 10 meeting, commissioners voted to sign the agreement after being told the grant could be pulled should the county not move forward with the project by January. A financial advisor was also hired to help craft a certificate of obligation issue for the county to consider.

County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. also indicated there were several groups that had indicated a desire to financially support the restoration project.

— Bob Belcher

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