SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In the 60s before Interstate 20, places like The Palomino Hotel in Sweetwater were hot spots for travelers.
“Well, I think they all had a meaning at one time, but I think one of the things we have to be careful of is not holding on to something just because it had a meaning 50 years ago if no one has taken care of it,” Ken Becker, with Sweetwater Economic Development, said.
Now the Palomino Hotel is just one of the buildings on the chopping block, as Becker says they’re working with City of Sweetwater to beautify the area.
“If someone’s going to fix it up and reuse it, that’s a great way to do that, but if they’re not, let’s get it torn down,” he said.
The project is catching Hattie Carlson by surprise.
“No, I did not know that building was going to be torn down,” she said.
A business owner herself, Carlson said older buildings bring their own kind of baggage.
“Well, I think the old buildings are creating problems like housing rats and snakes, and they’re not getting repurposed for anything,” she said.
They’ve already tackled 22 buildings so far since the project’s inception in December, but Becker says it’s just the start.
“Code enforcement group said there was almost 200 structures they had on their list, so half of those have already been taken care of, so we’re down just a little over a hundred, now we’ve got these 22, which helped that list. So, we still have close to a hundred,” he said.
Becker says when someone drives into Sweetwater for the first time, they should see the best they have to offer.
“So, we’re trying to lead by example of saying that we want you to clean up your property, and by example we’re going to say, ‘We’re going to start cleaning up our own backyard so it looks good for everybody else,'” he said.
Becker says if someone sees a property they’d like to see on the demolition list, they should call city hall and ask for code enforcement.
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