Lufkin Forward taking steps to help revitalize downtown
Lufkin, Texas (KTRE) - The Lufkin City Council permitted City Manager Bruce Green to move forward with attempting to purchase the Thresh building property behind First Street for public parking. The privately owned building has several structural and ecological issues and currently takes up the better part of a block. This small step forward to acquiring the property is one of the first moves in a larger plan for the City of Lufkin’s development.
“It’s getting more difficult downtown to park, especially with the new programs that the city is considering or is about to undertake,” said Green. “And so we needed off street parking. And so the council decided to proceed with acquiring that property for public purpose.”
Lufkin Forward is the name of a new project initiative to revitalize the downtown area. The development team is specifically focusing on updating the murals, making Cotton Square a desirable gathering spot and making First Street more open for pedestrians. Bronaugh Park is also being modeled into a place to hold big events. Lufkin economic development director Bob Samford says in total, they want the city to be welcoming to young, diverse groups of people.
“It’s really kind of like a trifecta event,” said Samford. “What we are trying to do is trying to get everybody in Lufkin, all of Lufkin to come to downtown, enjoy our city, and see what we are trying to do to make it a better place for everyone to live.”
In the immediate future, Lufkin residents can expect the murals to be redone as the first order of business. Samford says the development will not impact shopping and store access during the holiday season. The funding for the project is local and will not cause any tax increase, as the economic development team had a stand alone budget. The engineering architectural bids have been put out and leaders say the project is on schedule.
“I told people when we started I wanted to have it done by two years,” said Samford. “It’s just a time consuming issue, but we are going to do it. We are going to do it right, and we are going to do something that Lufkin is going to be proud of.”
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