Longview faces quandary over plaques for landmarks
Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Dec. 5, 2017 at 11:51 p.m.
Plaques designating local landmarks in Longview are available, but the city lacks money to accommodate its growing list of designated properties.
City Planner Angela Choy presented the cast-aluminum plaques to the Historic Preservation Commission on Tuesday — more than two years after commissioners began designating landmarks.
The Southwell Co. of San Antonio created the plaques that are 12 inches in diameter and cost as much as $298 each. After buying a plaque for display, city staff have no remaining funds budgeted to buy more plaques, Choy said.
No funding had been requested because the contractor for the plaques was not identified until now, so the price was undetermined. The earliest that funding could be set aside from the city without a budget amendment is Oct. 1 when the 2019 fiscal year begins, Choy said.
Commissioners expect to recommend Gregg County Historical Museum as the city's fifth designated local landmark when they meet in January. Also, Allen McReynolds said he plans to submit an application seeking local landmark designation for White Cemetery.
There are no plaques or other markers at already-designated landmarks — Longview Train Depot, Central Fire Station, the Rucker-Campbell House and Mobberly Place Fire Station.
In January, commissioners plan to tour First United Methodist Church, which commission Chairwoman Ann Heaston said may also apply for landmark designation later in 2018.
"They want to try to get some grants," Heaston said, "and I think that getting this marker would be a step in the right direction. It couldn't hurt, anyway."
Commissioner Andy Khoury expressed concern that the plaques might be taken by metal thieves. Choy said the plaques are typically affixed to a building using screws, and Commissioner Jim Cogar suggested the plaques be installed at least seven feet high to increase the difficulty in taking them.
In another matter, Choy said Gregg County Historical Museum's guiding board is again requesting bids for contractors to repair the museum's north wall. The museum received a $30,000 grant last year to fix erosion damage to the wall, but only one contractor entered a bid, Choy said.
"The one bid came back, and I believe that it was pretty astronomical" in price, Choy said.
No known activity has taken place on three properties that commissioners have toured in recent months. Representatives of the Masonic Lodge, the Knights of Pythias Lodge and the former Camp Normal Industrial Hospital structures welcomed commissioners earlier this year, but none of the groups have submitted landmark applications, Choy said.