The Odessa Record -

Council and Chamber meetings address community projects

Series: Harrington News | Story 34

Courtesy photo

The vacant lot project today, often referred to Opera House Square.

City Council meeting

Mayor Justin Slack called the June 12 City Council meeting to order at 7:33 p.m. at city hall with the following individuals present: council members Tim Tipton, Levi Schenk, Peter Davenport and Nathan Luck, maintenance director Scott McGowan and city clerk Bunny Haugan, code compliance officer Jess Silhan and visitors: Marge Womach, Dave Buddrius, Denisa Holling, Lauren Stout and Tyler James. Several additions to the agenda were made followed by approval of minutes for three meetings and approval of bills.

The mayor announced that three or four resumes have been presented for consideration for the position of clerk's assistant, with the expectation for more to be received following placement of an ad in the Lincoln Advertiser.

Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is continuing to hold its Regionalization Meetings. Tipton is faithfully attending as many as his schedule will permit. The towns and cities of Lincoln County will need to enter into agreement with one another. Potentially, projects will be rated by priority. With the towns joining together, they have more power in dealing with the legislature.

The Code Compliance report was given by Jess Silhan. Work is progressing. Mention was made that it is not "enforcement" but seeking compliance from community residents. The issues encountered will be taken up by the Community Relations Committee.

Mention was made by the mayor that the DOE WWTP permit amendment was published in the paper as a public notice.

The Harrington Area Chamber of Commerce is considering taking on as a project the city bulletin board in the parking lot to the north of City Hall. It is in need of numerous repairs and needs new runners for the plastic. Discussion was held regarding plexiglass versus glass. In addition to this board needing updating, it will not accommodate a good selection of brochures, which the Chamber is wanting to be available to visitors when city hall is closed. Discussion was also held that the city park has no data available for people who come to use the restrooms or park facilities. No decision was made by the Council, but encouraged the Chamber to move forward with ideas.

Nathan Luck had requested to be appointed to the Public Development Authority. Council voted 3-0 in favor with Luck abstaining.

Of the items added to the agenda, the first topic was the penalty imposed by the city for failure to license dogs by a specific date. The present fee of $100 seems excessive to some. Few on the council were members when the ordinance was crafted; however, Peter Davenport was on the original committee that made suggestions for its drafting. A few citizens have inquired as to what the dog license fees and fines goes towards. The city has to maintain a dog pound and provide food and water for animals that are picked up. With each incident involving a dog in town, it requires city manpower hours and a vehicle to get the city employee to locate and retrieve the dog. There is also the expense of dog tags and bookkeeping for the pets. No action was taken except to move it to the Community Relations Committee (Davenport and MacClellan) with instructions to talk to McGowan and bring back a recommendation regarding the late fee. This is not to address the entire dog ordinance, although someone suggested to license a pet one time only, which then creates issues with knowing which dogs have had shots, etc.

Discussion was held regarding the payment for the "Paver Block Project" postcards, which Tipton had personally paid for without prior approval for the expenditure. The situation occurred due to the rapid approach of Cruizin' Harrington and the need to order them prior to a city council meeting. No action was taken.

Council was informed that the city council and mayor are spending extra time this week with annual reports and the state auditor. Work is progressing to be ready for the auditor. The state is nearly insisting that the city utilize a municipal finance software package.

Comments were made regarding a sewer that backed up and that there is an insurance claim pending. When the claim arrives the city will forward to its insurance company.

There will be a TIB funding workshop on June 14. Tipton stated that he will not be available to attend. Luck stated that he would be there.

Town Square Project

Courtesy photo

The 1989 Adams & Mitchum brick block, ready to be razed.

The Harrington Chamber of Commerce is doing a fundraiser for Harrington's Town Square project. "You can purchase an engraved paver to sponsor the project or donate funds, materials, time or equipment. All contributions welcome!" The location is the southwest corner of the intersection of 3rd and Willow Street, just south of the Opera House. In 1986, the Adams & Mitchum building was torn down on this lot by its owner, Bill Floyd, due to its unstable condition. The building was built in September of 1901. The architect was A.E. Saunders and the contractor was Houle Bros. of Spokane. Pre-building plans were described in this manner: "The drawings show a well arranged ground floor with a space of 65 x 80 and includes the bank rooms and two store rooms, one to be occupied by the Drugstore of W.C. Hannum & Co., and the other, a large room with gallery, to be used by Adams & Mitchum's general merchandise store. The second floor will consist of a well-arranged lodge room, a banquet hall, offices, etc." and "The building will be two stories. The ground floor composing two store rooms and the bank, and the second story a lodge room 24 x 49, three office rooms and an opera room, 35 x 80, fitted up with a stage, chairs, etc. This latter is a change from the original plans and is a plan which will be appreciated by the town. The building when completed will cost about $8,100 and with its massive glass front and prepossessing appearance, will be a great addition to our town."

Harrington's former mayor, the late Paul Gilliland, had high hopes for this lot, and dubbed it "The Opera House Square" at the time he arranged for the city to purchase the lot. Gilliland had so much of the town's history in his mind that he was well aware that this lot was the original "opera house" in town. Prior to the Adams & Mitchum building, there were other halls, like the Plough Hall or large auditoriums in churches or schools, but the Adams & Mitchum building was the first building to be labeled as having an opera house in Harrington. This opera house was in the original Bank Block which is perhaps the reason the present one is called the 1904 Bank Block.


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