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Gregg County officials mull Kilgore interests

By Glenn Evans
Dec. 26, 2012 at 11 p.m.

Gregg County commissioners will consider giving up their interest today in two Kilgore properties which that city is remaking in separate projects.

The court also could hire a new director for East Texas Regional Airport and OK throwing the switch on a courthouse Wi-Fi system during the 10 a.m. meeting at the Gregg County Courthouse.

The historic Crim Theater is envisioned as an integral part of a downtown Kilgore Renaissance poised to enter its next phase with street/sidewalk improvements and the creation of an entertainment district.

The city has regained some use of the neglected old movie house, hosting Halloween and Christmas holiday events there.

"We had talked about that years ago," Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said of deeding the county's interest in the seized-for-taxes theater to Kilgore. "Since that time, the Legislature passed some new statutes that allow the county to relinquish ownership of property that is no longer on the tax roll."

A few miles away, the abandoned Shore Refinery on Longview Street has been tapped by the city as a site for residents to bring yard waste in an effort to save landfill fees.

Kilgore has secured a $25,000 grant to pay about two-thirds of the cost of a brush chipper which will be available for public use.

Public Works Director Seth Sorensen said Wednesday the Green Waste Center could be operational as soon as this spring.

The facility would not replace the curbside pickup now available, but would allow residents to bring limbs Thursdays and Fridays rather than waiting for trucks that rotate among the city's four quadrants.

Also today, commissioners are set to hire a replacement for Rick Davis, who left East Texas Regional Airport as director last fall.

Stoudt declined to say whom he will recommend before he meets with commissioners, but said the candidate is suited for the terminal renovations, coming Transportation Security Administration policies and other signs of growth at the county airport.

"He brings a plethora of experience that we need in taking that airport forward to the next level," Stoudt said.

Finally, commissioners will weigh a request by Information Technology Director Darold Miller to test out a courthouse Wi-Fi system the public could access. The pilot program will be during January.

Attorneys and others who do regular business in the downtown Longview courthouse have said their work would be facilitated by being able to tap into the taxpayer-funded network already in place.

Miller told commissioners last fall public access to the county's cloud could be engineered for laptop users inside the courthouse.



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