The August 30 meeting agenda has been posted to www.blancoguide.com.
It’s expected and appreciated to see Pedernales Electric Cooperative employees installing new poles to handle the ever-growing electric needs of their members. When a new pole was installed at the corner of 3rd and Main streets in Blanco, however, it was an unwelcome surprise.
PEC recently placed a self-supporting concrete pole at the corner in the state right-of-way along US 281 to connect areas west of town to the electric substation east of town. A standard wooden pole would require guy wires to safely anchor the structure, said Anne Harvey, communications coordinator with the electric co-op. The wires would have interfered with pedestrian walkways.
The new pole strikes an imposing figure, towering over the surrounding buildings in the Blanco Historic District at its location in front of Uptown Blanco’s office. The structure being located in the district has angered members of the community, and the lack of communication with relevant organizations has further angered members of those groups. While the City of Blanco was notified of the impending construction, Uptown Blanco Arts & Entertainment and the Blanco Historic Preservation Commission were not.
Uptown Blanco was “shocked and totally amazed that TxDOT and the City of Blanco had allowed such a hideous structure of a pole to be placed in the Historic District of Blanco, in front of the oldest building in Blanco,” said Carolyn Zbytovsky, general manager of the company. “We knew PEC would be replacing the pole at the corner of 3rd and Main, but had no idea they were coming in with this monstrosity.”
Zbytovsky echoed the sentiments of members of the Blanco Historic Preservation Commission. “For over 5 years, Blanco citizens have been working to preserve the Historic District and their heritage; this huge concrete pole is in no form compliant with any of the current future plans or visions.”
PEC met with members of the historic preservation commission, city officials, and Uptown Blanco on Monday, August 16, stated PEC’s representative. “Members of the group agreed to consider alternative options for the line construction for further discussion at the end of this month.”
Zbytovsky said it became apparent after the meeting that TxDOT and PEC missed the fact that the pole’s location is within the historic district and should not have been brought to the area. While Uptown Blanco commends PEC for their efforts in improving service before it’s actually needed, the company feels that this could be done without running the new lines through the district.
The situation will be discussed with PEC representatives at the regular Blanco Historic Preservation Commission meeting on August 30 at 6pm in the Byars Building. The agenda has been posted on www.blancoguide.com.
The article has been changed to reflect the time and location of the meeting.