Before nothing remains of the William T. Miller Grist Mill other than the historical marker erected in 1975 by the Texas Historical Commission, the city of Dublin is once again calling on construction and restoration experts to submit bids to the project.
The Texas Department of Transportation has dedicated funds to the project, but the problem for Dublin has been finding contractors for the job.
City Manager Jerry Guillory told the Dublin City Council Monday that legal notices will publish in area newspapers on Thursday and again on Nov. 19 in hopes of finally nailing down a contractor. The call for bids state that the contract will be for construction including restoration, interior finishes and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. The approximate construction budget for the work is $145,000.
According to The Historical Marker Database, www.hmdb.org, the two-story native stone mill was built for Miller in 1882. At the time, steam power was used to grind grain and crude oil later powered the mill. It was converted for feed production in 1926. The mill was given to the Dublin Historical Society in 1974.
Guillory said the structure is continually deteriorating and needs to be stabilized to prevent further damage.
Bids will be accepted until 9 a.m. on Dec. 10 and will be opened Dec. 19. Bidders may obtain a set of the bidding documents from the city of Dublin at 213 E Blackjack, Dublin, Texas 76446 upon payment of a $50 refundable deposit.
In other items of business, a motion made by council member Tommy Sperry, Ward 4, to no longer provide free services to five non-profit organizations failed when the motion was not seconded.
Currently the city provides free water and sewer services to the Rodeo Heritage Museum, Dublin Historical Museum, Wright Historical Park, Lyon Prim Museum and the Downtown Corner Lot.
The problem for Sperry was the usage at the Corner Lot.
“I am totally against it,” Sperry said, citing a stream of water that often trails from the lot, down the street and all the way to the library. “Why are they entitled to free water?”
Council member Kenneth Lunsford said he felt the non-profits are in place for the benefit of citizens.
“Ask the citizens if they want to pay the water bill,” Sperry said.
Guillory said the free services have been in place for awhile and added that it is illegal for the city to provide services at no charge.
“I don’t see how we can give water away if it’s against the law,” Sperry said.
Mayor Tom Gordon said he had spoken with one of the organizers of the corner lot and determined that timers at the lot are set to water every other day for 15 minutes for each of the lot’s four sprinkler stations. Gordon said he suggested the watering schedule be reduced to once a week for five minutes per station or be turned off during the winter.
Gordon asked Guillory to monitor usage at the lot to determine if usage is reduced and waste is minimized.
An agenda item to consider an agreement between the city and the Gypsy Motorcycle Club to hold a rally at the City Park during Memorial Day weekend was tabled for further discussion.
The motorcycle club is requesting full rights to the park for the four-day weekend to host its annual rally, which would bring an estimated 1,200 visitors representing 10 to 12 chapters to Dublin.
Council members were hesitant to approve the request since allowing the event would mean restricting locals from the park over the extended weekend. Some even expressed concern that the rally might welcome events not intended for all viewers.
Meanwhile, the council opted to table amendments relevant to park use fees. Fees at the park, specifically those imposed on league sports, have been the center of a recent debate between the city administration and concerned citizens.
In an effort to get city fields, used for soccer, football, softball and baseball, up to par and keep the bills paid, the city recently discussed imposing a $5 fee on youth sports practices and an additional $5 if lighting is needed. No fees would be imposed on games but the lighting fee still applies. While directors of the leagues agreed to the fees, a number of parents objected to the fee.
In tabeling the park usage fees, the council decided to hold a workshop at 6 p.m. next Tuesday and invite league organizers and the public to hash out the issue and come to an agreement.