By Kent Brunette
From The Pages Of The April 10, 2008
Hearne Democrat Newspaper
Two local projects, which have been years in the making, are finally moving
This past Friday, Texas Department of Transportation officials met with the city
manager & newly selected contractor to plan next steps for the Hearne Depot renovation.
Paperwork is being finalized to receive the $245,000 direct federal appropriation recently
obtained for Camp Hearne by U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards.
If the Good Lord’s willing & the creeks don’t rise, these heritage tourism sites
should soon become realities.
Six years ago, the City of Hearne & Hearne ISD worked together to create a “Parks,
Recreation, & Open Space Master Plan” which included an opinion survey prioritizing
Hearne residents’ needs. Funded by Hearne ISD, the $5,000 survey helped justify building
the new indoor gymnasium & outdoor recreation area (see March 12 Crossroads Report).
Two Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPW) matching grants are partially funding these
projects ($687,500 from the state; $687,500+ from Hearne ISD). Every penny of this total
$1,375,000 must be used on already approved TPW projects.
The 2002 parks plan created an ambitious wish list of community recreation & park
needs. In the past six years, several of the identified priorities have advanced.
The outdoor recreation area accomplishes part of priority #1 (to expand & improve
walking, jogging, & biking trails). The indoor recreation area accomplishes part of priority
#2 (to expand & renovate youth activity facilities, like an indoor gym). Camp Hearne & the
Hearne Depot accomplish part of priority #4 (to expand natural, cultural, or historical
education). Camp Hearne’s outdoor trails will also fulfill part of priority #1.
Separate from the above, Hearne ISD is making significant improvements to Bob
Jones Baseball Field (the city owns the property; Hearne ISD maintains the field). Anyone
who has driven down Hackberry Street lately has seen bleachers being replaced, new fill
dirt being brought in & leveled, baselines being staked, & workers cleaning up.
Volunteers have been improving Hearne’s Little League fields. The property
beneath the Lion’s Club & Fred C. Ferrara fields is owned by the railroad. The facilities are
owned by the Lion’s Club & maintained by volunteers.
Like many other towns, Hearne has an aging infrastructure. Wear & tear have
taken their toll on public facilities built many years ago (some by the Works Projects
Administration during the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration).
The golf course, clubhouse, swimming pool, soccer fields, & Guy Chandler Park all
need attention. So do the children’s playgrounds & other recreational facilities at Ruben
Gomez Park, Bob Jones Park, & Northside Park. These diverse facilities in different parts
of town serve different community needs.
The city budgets money every year to maintain public parks & recreational
facilities. While limited local funding may be available for piecemeal fixes, large sums are
needed to refurbish existing facilities or build new ones. Absent a bond election,
significant grant funding, a major donation or gift, this kind of money is not available
With indoor & outdoor recreational facilities, Camp Hearne, & the Hearne Depot
now moving forward, it’s time for the city & school to work together again & plan ahead.
An updated parks plan is a prerequisite for identifying community needs/priorities &
applying for additional TPW grants & other funding.
City & Hearne ISD elections are on Saturday, May 10. You may vote in person on
election day at the Hearne Fire Station, 302 West Second Street, from 7 AM to 7 PM.
You may vote early in person at Hearne City Hall, Bldg. B, 209 Cedar Street, from
Monday, April 28 through Tuesday, May 6.
You may vote early by mail if you are: (1) going to be away from the county on
election day & during early voting; (2) sick or disabled; (3) 65 or older; or (4) confined in
jail (but eligible to vote). Absentee ballot applications must be received at city hall by
Friday, May 2.
Crossroads Reports are archived at www.hearnetexas.info. Click on the
“Crossroads Report” link to view past reports. The views expressed in this report are
those of the author & do not necessarily reflect the positions of the City of Hearne,
Hearne’s 4A & 4B Sales Tax Boards, Hearne Chamber of Commerce, or Robertson County