Mason County News
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009 • Posted December 2, 2009

Last week I mentioned the grants that the City of Mason is working to utilize to improve our community. I just today received the grant contract for the LCRA funding for the Reverse Osmosis water facility for city residents. This project will provide all of our citizens a place to get treated water that is uncontaminated by Radium or any other problem and is available at no cost for you to get drinking water at any time of day. During the next few weeks we will be drawing up specific plans and beginning to order equipment so that this source of clean water will be available early next spring. I will let you know more details as this project gets under way and is closer to complete.

I am currently working on another major project requesting Texas Department of Transportation funding to help us rebuild the sidewalks and steps around the Square. Because of the extent of this project and the complexity of meeting all of the various needs, it will take a great deal of coordination and cooperation to work out all of the details. I will be submitting the application for this grant in a few days, and they have indicated it will be several months before a decision is made at the state level about which projects will be approved, but I am confident that this is a good project and fits the criteria well so I look forward a very positive response to our request.

The sidewalk grant request is a resubmission of a similar request from three years ago and is primarily an attempt to get some state funds to help pay for improvements that are truly needed but which we can not imagine doing with local funding alone in the near future. To quote from the grant application, "the proposed project is to reconfigure and replace the sidewalks, steps and ramps around the Square to provide safe access and walkability to pedestrians. The current access is limited and represents a distinct hazard to visitors and residents alike, and the merchants suffer because of this barrier to their businesses. Virtually none of the access points meet current ADA requirements and even many able-bodied people have fallen and been hurt because of the uneven steps and deterioration of the sidewalks. The Square is a high traffic area situated at the juncture of several State highways, and providing new sidewalks, even steps and compliant ramps will give tourists and residents equal opportunity to enjoy the historical atmosphere and business access." I am certain that there are several challenges to make these changes happen, but I am just as sure that our town will be improved by them.

As the cold weather moves into Mason and we all are rapidly preparing for the Christmas season that is now upon us, please remember to take a few extra minutes and enjoy all that this season brings and the joys of celebrating in a small town. The lights are now on around the Square and on the Courthouse and other important buildings around town, the wonderful Light Tree is glowing every night in Heritage Park, and the homes around town are beginning to be decorated for the Season. In addition the community is enjoying the festivities and it is good to see friends and family as we celebrate our blessings and the gifts God has provided. It is great to remember all the joys of a small town during the year, but at this time of year I am always most aware of the special pleasure we have when we can call Mason our hometown.

Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley

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