The other day, a group of business leaders and government officials gathered at the Central Avenue Bistro to support Judge Young’s project to move the county government out of several buildings in downtown Cameron and into the old hospital after it’s renovated.
This move will be good for Cameron and Milam County for a number of reasons.
It saves the old hospital, giving it new life. Since there are currently no other redevelopment plans for the old hospital in place, the banks that own the property were going to tear it down. There are no other plans on the table. The county can renovate and move into the facility, or the banks will tear it down. I tried to find investors to repurpose the building for other purposes. Nobody was interested.
Renovating the old hospital gives the county a fresh new set of offices at a fraction of the price of new construction. It also gives us the opportunity to redevelop the downtown buildings the county currently occupies. Finding investors and capital to redevelop individual buildings is much easier than finding investors who are willing to watch millions of dollars sit idly for at least a year or two—or more—while we redevelop and repurpose the old hospital for other use. The risk to each investor is lower because the individual projects are more manageable, both financially and logistically.
Finally, getting the county out of downtown gives the city the opportunity to plan how to redevelop the area. We’ve all seen the results of unplanned growth. It’s usually ugly and often unsustainable. The county’s dominance of downtown real estate has actually stifled Cameron’s development. By removing that impediment and enabling the city to decide how we want Cameron to grow, we can gently nudge investment in the way that provides the most benefit to the community.
I urge everyone to support Judge Young in moving Milam County and Cameron forward with this project. It will be good for everyone.
To that point, I want to address a misconception I have heard raised to this project. Some people in other parts of the county have asked why they should pay to improve Cameron. Although tax money will be used to renovate the old hospital for the county’s use and Cameron will benefit from that renovation, so will all parts of the county. From the numbers I’ve seen, the hospital renovation is much less expensive that the cost of bringing all the buildings the county currently occupies into compliance with state codes. Part of that saving arises from the fact that it is always less expensive to renovate an empty building than an occupied one.
And the funds to renovate the buildings downtown will come from individual investors, not from tax funds. That means county money is only going to county use, just as it would if the county offices stayed where they are. We are just spending less money for better, healthier facilities.
Please say yes to helping Judge Young move Milam County forward.Hermann says please like and share!