By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
The Corsicana City Council voted to approve a special use permit Tuesday which would allow a drug and alcohol counseling group, Lakes MHMR, to operate in the former Navarro Mall.
The measure had been on the council agenda on Oct. 2, but died for lack of a motion. This time, the motion was made by Don Denbow, seconded by Tom Wilson and passed unanimously. Helping the measure win support was a workshop session prior to the regular meeting during which officials from Lakes answered questions from the council, and the public support Tuesday of H.M. Davenport, Trena Weidmann, Julie Lang, Jan Libal, John Bishop, Father Ed Monk, and Jenny Bratton, who argued that the area needs to have treatment options for the working poor.
The last time the measure came before the council almost all of the public comments were in opposition to the counseling center, because it would cause an increase in drug and alcohol abusers in the neighborhood, and might prove a risk for the day-care centers in the immediate area.
Officials with The Lakes said that wasn’t an issue since their clients would need to have transportation. They also said they haven’t had those kinds of problems with clients in similar facilities in other cities around North and East Texas.
Several of Tuesday’s supporters said approving the center would help children, since it would allow children in foster care to get out sooner and it would unite and strengthen families torn apart by substance abuse.
Another measure, to further restrict dance halls, was tabled when it was met with opposition from the owners of VG’s. They argued that the new restrictions, which would require an owner or owner’s representative to be on the premises during any event, would make it cost prohibitive for families to rent their facilities for such non-threatening events such as birthday parties or memorial services.
The council also took the following actions:
• Approved abandoning an easement next to the new Dollar General on South U.S. 287 because the building is sitting on it.
• Approved allowing O’Reilly’s to build an extension onto its building, even though it’s in the flood zone. The entire building is in the flood zone, put there before the flood plain was established.
• Heard from Robert Ingram, who argued that the city should compensate him because his property was towed away last summer.
• Designated some seized and surplus items for disposal. Some bikes will be given to CASA, while the rest will go onto an on-line auction site.
• Approved Branch Banking and Trust as one of the city’s depositories.
• The mayor urged people to attend the downtown lighting event on Nov. 30, the Christmas Parade on Dec. 1, and the Second Saturday Sidewalk Sale on Dec. 8. He also pointed out that volunteers are needed at the Visitor’s Center.
• The council went into executive session to discuss real estate, but took no action after returning to the public meeting.
Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at email@example.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com