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Commissioners discuss possible county park project

By Chris Edwards

Trinity County Commissioners agreed to act upon a letter to the Trinity River Authority regarding a tract of land for a possible county park at its recent meeting on Monday, February 13.

County Judge Doug Page referred to the site as the “White Rock Creek Park Project,” and said the land has been sitting idle for 20 years. Judge Page said that recently he has discussed the desire to create a recreation area with TRA. The project, if brought to fruition, will include hiking trails and public access to the lake, according to Judge Page.

County environmental officer Carl O. Dyer spoke on behalf of the project and said it would be a step in the right direction of “making Trinity County a recreation destination.” Dyer added, “The county would be remiss in not grabbing [the property].” 

Judge Page said that the goal of entering into an interlocal agreement with TRA to develop the property would keep any overhead down.

Dyer said that the water along the tract of land, which amounts to nearly a mile, was too shallow to use for launching boats, but that it would be a good idea to allow TRA to put in canoes and kayaks, so that visitors to the park could explore White Rock Creek.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Neal Smith said the project sounded like “a good idea,” and put forth a motion for the county to pursue it. 

Internet Service for Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Woody Wallace approached Commissioners to acquire separate internet service for his office. Currently, the Sheriff’s Department shares internet service with the courthouse, and issues with available connection speed (as well as frequent needs of tech support from Windstream) have been “problematic for a couple of years,” Sheriff Wallace said. 

The cost for the service is $4,550 for the months of March through September, plus part of February (if installed during the month), according to a report put together by county auditor Bonnie Kennedy, and read by assistant auditor Dan Fuller during the meeting. Fuller said the funds were available for the service from the contingency or reserve funds.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham provided a motion for the Sheriff’s Dept. to purchase a separate 12 mps account for its office, provided the county is not tied into a long contract. Commissioner Smith seconded the motion and asked for a report to be made within 90 days. 

In another item on Monday morning’s agenda, Commissioner Smith asked the court how it wanted to proceed with repairs to the tax office located inside the sub-courthouse in Trinity. Commissioner Smith asked if the court wanted the maintenance department to handle the project, or for him to oversee it. Judge Page said it would make sense for Commissioner Smith to handle the project, given his residency in the city. Commissioner Smith also expressed concern about communication between the judge and commissioners in regard to hiring and termination decisions for county employees. Commissioner Smith spoke of an incident that occurred soon after he first took office, of when a former employee approached him in public and told him she had been terminated, which he knew nothing about. He urged Judge Page and the other commissioners to better communicate with one another regarding such matters. 

Commissioners also heard from J.E. Anderson on the topic of building fences near the county fairgrounds. Anderson spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting, and said that the grass also needed to be mowed. On an agenda item, Commissioners heard from Anderson about a fence row that needed clearing behind the show barn at the “Y.” The area in question belongs to James Williamson, who gave Bill Wagner permission to clear the trees along the fence. Williamson had told Carl Dyer that he didn’t want a mess on his land, and Wagner had relayed the message to Commissioner Smith. Commissioner Smith stressed the need to get Williamson’s allowance of the job in writing. 

Commissioner Worsham made a motion to allow the work to be done provided that allowance to do so is provided in writing.

In other items, Commissioners voted to:

• Approve e-grant applications for the county attorney’s office for the Victim Assistance Program.

• Approve the interlocal cooperation act between UTMB Health and Trinity County for indigent healthcare.

• Approve a proclamation declaring February as Black History Month in Trinity County. Judge Page read the proclamation to the court, and added that the region recently lost a “great black leader” with the passing of longtime Groveton community leader Glen Ward. 

•Approve county sponsorship and the request for partial closure of FM 3154 for the upcoming Davy Crockett Bear Chase Marathon in April.