Whitehouse to see new community center, other benefits from new budget

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Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 9:34 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 9:56 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - After hearing from citizens, the City of Whitehouse is looking to revitalize downtown.

“Our citizens want a walkable community, they want a place where they can go out and experience it at a slower pace, they want a place where the community comes together and they can meet their neighbors, you know, without just going out on the street,” said Whitehouse mayor, James Wansley.

The 2022-2023 budget was passed and approved Tuesday night at the Whitehouse City Council meeting, while also lowering the property tax rate. Wansley said they plan to pay down debt, add staffing, resources and a community center to serve people better.

“So one of the things that’s high on the list is a place where our community can gather,” Wansley said. “A community space where people can come together, whether that’s for venues for celebration, wedding showers, baby showers, retreats, reunions - that’s the type of space we want to create with our community center.”

The Whitehouse Community Center will be located in an existing building at 109 East Main Street.

Wansley said they want to provide a professional presence for city adjacent organizations such as the Economic Development Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce.

“We think it’s time to give those organizations a professional presence, so when they meet with or partner with other organizations to try to help benefit our city, they have a constant professional place where they can come together and meet,” Wansley said.

The bottom floor is community space with a training room, conference room, co-working spaces, and small event venues. The upstairs area will house private office spaces available to professional organizations.

Wansley said when East Main Street was expanded in the past, many of the historical buildings were torn down. Now, they are looking to the community to rebuild it.

“So it’s kind of on us as a community to figure out what we want our downtown to look like and I think the community is helping us build it.”

Now that architectural drawings have been approved by the city, Wansley said the Whitehouse Community Center renovation project will begin soon.