Update for October 2, 2014

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Successful building facelift initiative ends

By Diane Cosgrove
Anvil Herald Staff

A small crowd gathered outside The Owl’s Nest building on US 90 in Hondo last month as Glenn Klaus handed over the final payment for the facade program to Jesse Garza of Garza Construction, for his work on the building. The iconic landmark anchoring downtown houses the gift shop which bears the same name as well as Katy’s and The Shoppe, a trendy business which sells home decor as well as offers classes on craft projects such as chalk painting.

Hondo Area Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Klaus was joined by Hondo Mayor Jim Danner, City of Hondo Economic Development Chairman Jim Tomey, Hondo City Manager Jeff Litchfield, Stephen Duffy - co-owner of The Owl’s Nest, and The Shoppe co-owners Roxanne and Tim Carter.

“It was a partnership with the EDC, the City (of Hondo) and the Chamber of Commerce to improve the facades of the businesses in Hondo,” Klaus explained. “There were 36 projects completed, using a total of nine different contractors or vendors.”

An added bonus to the initiative was that it used local contractors or vendors in all of the projects, with the exception of those providing awnings and blinds, as those were not available locally. The result was that jobs were performed with local labor, keeping the money in the community, which was then presumably spent within the community, turning over Economic Development funds multiple times (potentially) without leaving the city.

Klaus said the projects involved painting, some reconstruction of facades before painting, signage, awnings, windows, stucco and tile.

“We started last October,” Klaus continued, “and we completed it this September, (using) two year’s of funding from the EDC in a year’s time. We had $60,000 one year, and then the fiscal year turned over, so (EDC) added another year’s worth ($60,000).

“It was kind of slow getting started, but once we got started, it really took off. We’ve had nothing but compliments from the business owners to people around town… everyone is pleased. It was a project where everybody worked together in complete harmony.”

Business owners could choose from an approved color palette to ensure the building improvements would enhance the property as well as the neighboring businesses. “We left it to them as to how they wanted to utilize those colors,” Klaus added.

EDC chairman Jim Tomey commented, “It really started with the Beautification Committee on the highway. When you’ve got that cleaned up, then you take a look at what you’ve got back there (along 18th Street), it needed some work.”

The Beautification Committee was formed to assist the city in beautifying the parkway along US 90 when TxDOT enlarged the roadway all the way through Hondo, and the city sought to take the opportunity to give itself a facelift at the same time.

“The Chamber of Commerce (single-handedly undertaken by Chamber President Glenn Klaus) handled it.

“We supplied the money and Glenn Klaus put a lot of time and effort into it. We got a lot of project done, and in turn, the town looks a lot cleaner and hopefully people will recognize this and want to come in and see it. That’s all part of the EDC’s project.

Tomey noted that it was fitting to expend the funds in this manner, considering that EDC funds are generated by local merchants through the sales tax collected in their businesses. It was our objective to see that they got something back for it.

“I think it was a fantastic project,” added Mayor Jim Danner. “It’s done so much for the downtown area. I’d like to especially compliment Glenn Klaus – he’s worked very hard on this project along with Jesse Perez. The results – you see all downtown, including the beautiful frontage of this store.”

Danner remarked that Perez was unavailable for the presentation as he was attending a meeting out of town. Contacted for his comments later, Perez said he was happy with the fruits of the project, noting that the downtown business district is much improved. He added that there is still more work to do, however.

He said he also noted that neighboring businesses took more of an interest in the appearance of their businesses.

Hondo City Manager Jeff Litchfield, said, “I am glad we were able to do the project. It really freshened up downtown. It looks so much better than a year ago.”

Owl’s Nest building owner Stephen Duffy commented that he was really glad the EDC, the city and the chamber all worked together to make it happen. “We really appreciate it,” he added.

Roxanne said of the improvements made to The Shoppe, “We love it. We’ve had lots of compliments on it from customers and citizens in the community. It looks great, and we’re appreciative.”

The following businesses participated in the program: New To Me, Chapa Furniture, Hondo Nails, Ann’s Attic, Raye Theatre, Pepe’s Pizza, Salon Langdon, The Village Shoppe, Lutz Appliance, G O’s Barbershop, L’il Texas Rose Embroidery, Sorella’s Boutique, The Rustic Courtyard, Shear Perfection, Brush Country Boutique, El Restaurante Azteca, The Shoppe, The Owl’s Nest, Golden Dragon, Charles Rothe & Assoc., Cricket Wireless, Mission Title, Katy’s, Cross Connections RadioShack, Delk & Delk Law Offices, The Anvil Herald, Little Bit of Everything, Kevin Christiansen Building, RVJ Music Center, Natural Effects Skin Care Salon, Southern Breeze Therapeutic Massage, The Gallo Building and River City Hospice.

Local contractors included: Garza Construction, Dallas Lathe and Plaster, John Flores, Pedro Garza, Keilman Stucco & Tile, Theatre Supply Inc., Andrew Ybarra, Boehle’s Signs & Graphics and Kevin Gear.

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