Wesleyan Developer Says Remove Historic Home and Replace With Asphalt

This letter was sent to the Williamson County Sun on Sunday, March 23, 2007.

By Ross Hunter

Wesleyan Retirement Center on University Avenue has been sold for redevelopment, but where we had hoped to see an exciting new amenity for Georgetown, we now face the prospect that a designated historic home will be physically relocated out of its current native setting, which is part of a foursome of protected historic houses. The resulting gap, with its large lot, will then be stripped of its greenery and covered with asphalt, to provide parking for 20-30 extra cars.

The good news is that none of this needs to happen to satisfy the City’s requirements for the redevelopment, and there are several alternative options. As currently requested, the Downtown Master Plan will need to be amended to allow the proposal to happen.

The Master Plan was created in an eight-month process representing a consensus of all Georgetown interests, and it carefully defined the borders of the Downtown Overlay District. In the process the Plan meticulously drew a protecting line around these four homes that straddle Church Street, between 10th and 11th Streets, forming a quadrangle of preservation.

This quartet of stately homes – the Moses Harrell House, the A.P. Johnson House, the Jesse Daniel Ames/David Love House, and the endangered O.A. Englebrecht House – constitute an elegant square, saturated with stories of Texas legends, that seems almost to call for horse and carriage. This protected square will be broken and unmade if this plan carries.

This matter comes before HARC this Thursday, at 6 pm, in the Council Chambers located on the edge of the Square, at the corner of Main and 7th Street. Sometimes to protect the historic legacy that enriches the value of all our homes we are called upon simply to show up, and lend strength of numbers, and this is one of these times. We must attend this HARC meeting.

This is a time when new members are sitting both on HARC and on the Planning and Zoning Commission, before which this matter will also come. This is perhaps the most crucial time ever to show support for these new members as they strive to read the greatest good for the town out of the arguments coming before them. We the residents of Georgetown are its living history in progress. We are called to affirm our political will that this city remain diligent in nurturing elegant heritage into elegant growth.

At the upcoming HARC meeting, numbers matter greatly, since a show of supportive hands may be asked for. Cancel your plans for Thursday and simply attend. For more information, and to sign the petition currently circulating, see oldtowners.com, or email speakout4georgetown@verizon.net. As the old recruiting posters used to say, this means YOU, and I look forward to seeing you there.


One reply

  1. Thanks Ross for a great letter!