Gregg County begins work on Longview Arboretum
Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Sept. 19, 2017 at 12:19 a.m.
Gregg County road and bridge work crews officially began work Monday morning to construct Longview Arboretum and Nature Center.
Arboretum board President Bob Metzler said crews began work at about 7:30 a.m.
"They started work on the pond dam and started clearing around from the west to the southside and from the west to the northside," Metzler said. "They're doing a whole lot. It's been great working with them. Precincts 1, 3 and 4 road crews are out there, and commissioners (Ronnie) McKinney, (John) Mathis and (Gary) Boyd."
Also on Monday, the Gregg County Commissioners Court approved Sheriff Maxey Cerliano's request to use Gregg County Jail inmate labor to help crews clear the land along Grace Creek and West Cotton Street where the 26-acre arboretum is planned.
Metzler said jail inmates were on site early Monday "with chainsaws in hand, and from what I saw were very active in doing their work. I didn't see any sitting around going on, that's for sure."
The arboretum board will hold an official groundbreaking ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the site, he said.
Construction on the first phase is expected to last into May.
Inmate labor wasn't the only boost for road and bridge crews.
Texas Association of Counties gave Gregg County more than 40 protective vests, hard hats and other personal protective safety equipment for county crews to use at work sites.
The gift was in recognition of the county's participation in the association's worker's compensation program.
Todd Kisel, risk management consultant for Texas Association of Counties, said Gregg County's ratio of premiums to claims is among the best ratios of all counties it serves.