The City Council could take action next month to create a Walk of Stars that honors standouts in or from Longview.
Mayor Andy Mack wants to move quickly on the idea so the feature could open Feb. 22 during a celebration of the city’s 150th birthday.
If it happens, “I don’t think this will cost the city of Longview anything,” Mack said.
Council members gave their OK for city staff to bring an action item to the next regular meeting June 13 to create a committee to suggest parameters for a Walk of Stars that highlights people who have made significant impacts either on Longview or beyond.
The committee would suggest to the city a location for the Walk of Stars, funding ideas and whether oversight would come from a city committee or a nonprofit group, said Media and Tourism Manager Shawn Hara.
District 4 Councilwoman Kristen Ishihara said she liked the timing with the city’s sesquicentennial but believes any such feature should be downtown.
City Manager Keith Bonds has suggested using the nearly 300 red brick pavers that were installed on sidewalks and other walkways across downtown during recent street reconstruction projects.
Staff members already have looked at how other cities honor their standouts for ideas to use in Longview.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is perhaps the most famous of such municipal honors, but according to Hara, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce operates the feature, and honorees pay a $40,000 fee to have their star placed on it.
In St. Louis, a nonprofit organization separate from the city operates its Walk of Fame, which honors only people who were born in St. Louis or spent their formative or creative years in the city, Hara said. St. Louis has a 120-member diverse selection committee that votes on as many as 40 finalists a year, though anyone can submit a nomination.
In North Texas, the Denton Arts Walk of Fame is operated by the city, though the Denton Main Street Association handles fundraising, Hara said. Honorees must be Denton-born or had attended Denton schools.
Waxahachie runs its Walk of Fame through its Crossroads of Texas Music and Film Festival.
And then there’s the Tyler Half-Mile of History, operated by the city’s Historical Preservation Board. It honors people from Tyler or Smith County, but among its restrictions on honorees is that their contributions must have been at least 25 years ago and the person must be dead.
That last requirement caught some council members off-guard.
As for any Walk of Stars in Longview, “I don’t think (honorees) should be dead,” District 5 Councilman David Wright said.
Nona Snoddy, councilwoman for District 2, added, “There may be some that are recommended that may have had a footprint in Longview that may be deceased.”
Honorees may come from a variety of fields such as athletics, the arts, history, culture, education, business, politics and more, Mack said.
“I think every category will have its own definition. … In the history category, Carl Estes isn’t going to have an impact on anywhere but Longview, Texas,” Mack said of the late News-Journal publisher, “but my gosh, his impact on Longview, Texas.”
The mayor later said, “It’s a way to make that where it’s a fun long-lasting memory to share with our kids and grandkids. ... I’ve already had people say ‘I’ll pay whatever it takes is so-and-so receives a star.’ ”