Sunday, June 15, 2008





Extended-hours alcohol sales ordinance to be developed
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Noting concerns about noise, traffic and parking, the Gun Barrel City Council authorized the city manager and the city attorney to draw up an ordinance to permit establishments to extend bar hours.
Most of Tuesday’s hour-long discussion did not directly concern extending alcohol sales from midnight until 2 a.m., but focused on the pros (more sales tax revenue) and cons (noise, parking) resulting from the action.
Dallas developer Mike Lee, who is partnered with Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson and other celebrity investors, told the council his group is considering major renovations to the existing Gater’s sports bar and club on State Highway 198 south.
“We’re looking for the opportunity to bring quality entertainment to the lake,” Lee said.
Gater’s has a large building behind it, which could be renovated into a music theater seating between 1,500 and 1,700 people, he added.
The world’s largest honky-tonk, Billy Bob’s, located in the downtown Fort Worth Stockyards district, requires a no-play clause in its contracts with entertainers, barring them from playing anywhere within 75 miles of Billy Bob’s – covering all of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area.
Gun Barrel City is outside that no-play radius, Lee pointed out.
“I think there’s an opportunity to bring bigger name acts in here at least once a month,” he said.
“We’re not talking $5,000 a night, we’re talking $25,000 a night,” Lee explained later. “Obviously, you can’t get all that in ticket prices. Tickets will have to be in the $20 to $25 range ... I don’t think this area can support $25 tickets twice every weekend; maybe twice a month.”
To support such name acts, Gater’s would have to be able to sell alcohol after midnight to cover its costs.
When country music newcomer of the year Jack Ingram played at Gater’s recently, it turned out there were four area high school graduations that Friday night, Lee said.
“When alcohol (sales) cut off at midnight, and (Ingram) comes onstage at 10, people didn’t bother to come,” he said.
Lee said his group of investors (whom he declined to name, hinting only that the group included some professional athletes) would be looking to benefit the community and the local school districts.
“We would have to make a capital investment in Gater’s,” he said. “We’re not trying to be a honky-tonk.”
Lee said the investment group is “family-oriented,” and pointed out Nelson is on the national Make-A-Wish Foundation’s board of directors.
Councilwoman Kathy Cochran noted the area residents she had spoken with expressed much concern about noise coming from the Gater’s club, and Lee said he knew noise had been a long-standing problem.
Lee said the building he was talking about had two large overhead doors, which would have to be replaced, and the entire building would have to be well insulated to meet the city’s noise ordinance.
“We’ll need to talk about signage and a name change, which we can’t go into right now,” Lee added.
Cochran then asked about parking, and Lee admitted parking also had been an issue for some time.
Some patrons have been parking on SH 198 and running across traffic to reach the club, a dangerous practice at any time, but especially hazardous late at night.
“We’ll be talking about some land purchases, but obviously we can’t go into that here,” Lee said. “That (parking) will be an issue that has to be addressed, as well.”
If parking is an issue with 700 or 800 patrons, it’ll be worse with double that many, he added.
Cochran then asked about crowd control when alcohol is being consumed, and Lee admitted that would be another issue to be addressed.
Lee said he had been impressed with the professionalism of the off-duty city police officers who provided crowd control at Gater’s during past events.
“There has to be a fine line there,” he said.
Councilman Charles Townsend said his main concern had always been the noise issue.
City manager Gerry Boren said the ordinance could be written to address the council’s concerns.
“We could put into the ordinance where the soundproofing would have to meet the 2 a.m. (noise) requirement, because we’re not just looking at Gater’s,” Boren said. “Prior to getting a (2 a.m.) permit, the venue would have to meet those requirements.”
Councilman Todd Hogan said he also had noise at the top of his list of concerns.
“We’re also pushing this as a retirement community, and family-friendly, where our neighbors are talking about reducing their (alcohol hours), such as Seven Points (see related story),” Hogan said. “I’d like to see what our neighbors do.”
Hogan again said he was concerned about the city’s image.
“We’re a retirement community – with extended bar hours!” Hogan said. “That’s not what we want.”
Police staffing may need to be increased, which would be a budgetary issue, he added.
“Would we need additional police officers?” new councilman Kevin Banghart asked.
“I think the impact is already there every Saturday night,” Boren replied.
As Boren wrote on a notepad, Cochran said she would like to see noise and parking requirements in a proposed ordinance.
“Also traffic problems,” new councilman Melvin Hayes added.
“We would like not to have any traffic egress into residential areas,” Hogan said.
With all those concerns noted, the council voted unanimously to have Boren and the city’s attorney work up a proposed ordinance to be considered at the council’s next meeting.

Council nixes 2 a.m. feedings
Liquor sales okay only until midnight
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–While the Gun Barrel City Council was giving the green light to word a late-hour liquor sales ordinance (see related story at left), the Seven Points City Council was nixing its ordinance.
The Seven Points Council meeting Tuesday was the second in two weeks addressing the sales of alcoholic beverages between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m.
The general feeling among the councilmen at a June 2 meeting was that the permit created more problems than it would generate in sales tax revenue.
Mayor Gerald Taylor returned the following week after consulting with the city attorney on an amended ordinance rolling back the legal hours for liquor sales to midnight.
There are currently two businesses holding permits to serve until 2 a.m. – Cedar Isle on State Highway 334 at the eastern edge of the city and Fast Times on SH 274.
These may continue late-hour service under a grandfather clause.
The amended ordinance passed unanimously without further discussion.
In other business, the council renewed its agreement with the Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department.
The agreement has remained virtually the same for the last five years.

City of Eustace helps grant a wish
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–When the Eustace Volunteer Fire Department pulled its fire engine into Colton York Burgett’s front yard, he knew something exciting was about to happen.
The Northeast Texas Chapter of the Make-A Wish Foundation chose to surprise Burgett with a visit from firefighters, police and town officials at the unveiling of his own 24-foot round swimming pool June 8.
Burgett recently had his ninth birthday, an event that was celebrated with hope. You see, Burgett is living with a life-threatening condition, resulting from an injury at his birth.
The Burgetts live just inside the Van Zandt County line with a VZ CR 3905 address, about 10 miles outside of Eustace past Purtis Creek State Park.
The family is more familiar with doctors and nurses than they are with teachers and coaches.
His dad Michael takes it all in stride.
“You play the hand you’re dealt. There’s no sense crying about it,” he said.
The Mystique Doughboy Pool was set up by Berry Family Pools of Tyler the day before.
Michael stayed up most the night building a deck around the above-ground pool, so Colton could be easily lowered in. The pool affords him much-needed exercise, he said.
Wish facilitator Angela Glazener said granting the Burgett wish has touched her deeply. “Kim (Colton’s mom) told me that Colton is a true blessing to them and when people say to her what a tragedy, she says, ‘No, what a blessing.’
“I am so glad that the pool will enable Colton to now go outside, something he did not get to do before, because he cannot get too hot,” Glazener added.
She was also impressed with the response from Eustace.
That day, Eustace mayor Laura Ward read a proclamation naming June 8 Colton York Burgett Day in Eustace.
Councilmembers Mark Sanders, Lisa Roberts and Scott Purl were also on hand for the presentation.
Police chief Robert Walker and fire chief Ken Roberts also presented special mementos, and made young Burgett an honorary member of the police and fire departments.
Not only was Burgett included among his heroes, he got to become a hero, as well.
“Granting wishes to these children makes me realize there are still people out there willing to help others,” Glazener said.
A host of family members and friends gathered to celebrate Colton’s wish come true, and they enjoyed a catered meal together, compliments of Eddie Deen Catering of Dallas, the caterer to U.S. presidents.
Afterwards, a cake-cutting ceremony featured a Spiderman cake designed by Cherry Laurel Cake Shoppe of Athens.
While other kids mark birthdays with boisterous activities and friends, young Burgett smiles on the inside, knowing he is surrounded by the love of his family and the well-wishes of a community.

Mom Kim and son Colton Burgett try out the new 24-foot Doughboy pool for the
first time. It enables Colton to get some needed exercise without getting
overheated. Berry Family Pools of Tyler provided and set up the above-ground
pool to fulfill Colton’s wish.


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