The Blanco City Council passed a resolution at the October 2009 meeting establishing a committee to develop a local streetscape program and master streetscape plan, which would result in the historic preservation and beautification of the Blanco Historic District while protecting and enhancing the economic development within the city and especially those businesses adjacent to the courthouse area. By this resolution, the council charged and authorized the committee to coordinate, collaborate, and partner with appropriate city, county and state agencies, local businesses, and interested community citizens in the accomplishment of the committee objectives.
The appointed committee, formally called The Blanco Historic District Preservation and Revitalization Streetscape Committee, held its first organizational meeting last Wednesday, November 11 at 6:00pm.
Excitement was the tone of the first meeting, in which members introduced themselves and the roles and plans their organizations currently have toward enhancing, while protecting, the small town charm of our historic square. Representatives of Keep Blanco Beautiful (Armando Pena), Uptown Blanco (Carolyn Zbytovsky), the Old Blanco County Courthouse Preservation Society (Joleen Bourland), and the Blanco Historical Preservation Commission (co-chairs Retta Martin and Julie Demaree Dill) spoke of a lamplight program, façade restoration, landscaping the courthouse grounds, the desire to slow traffic down on Hwy 281, developing a plan to improve sidewalks for walkability, and accessibility and landscaping of the north, east and south sides of the square.
A Planning and Zoning Commissioner (Courtney Curbow), a downtown commercial property owner and merchant (Liz Waller, owner of On the Square), and a grant-writer (Jack Twilley) were also present to share their concerns and dreams. The Chamber of Commerce and City Council members were absent. The committee’s overall goal is to create a more appealing and functional place for community gatherings, as well as attracting new residents, business investment, and tourists. Maintaining and improving the economic vitality and quality of life for Blanco residents is a key focus.
The formation of the committee, by the resolution of the city council, is the result of many years of collaboration and effort of the city and its residents. The Master Comprehensive Plan, the Visionaries in Preservation Plan, and Blanco’s hard-earned status of being a Certified Local Government with a Nationally Registered Historic District all have within them goals of preservation, beautification, and revitalization of our downtown square. Much of the inspiration has come from the 90+ other communities around the state who have embraced the Main Street and Texas Downtown Association (of which the city is a member) programs, with remarkable and favorable results.
The committee’s next meeting will be on December 9, at 6:00pm at the Byars Building. While there are designated members, all meetings are open to the public for participation and input. The project, which is scheduled to be complete by December 2010, includes a workshop with the city, hiring a professional planner, citizen input, presentation of conceptual and finished drawings, and a plan for fund-raising.