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City of Marshall hosts rescheduled Arbor Day tree planting
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The city of Marshall, along with the Keep Marshall Beautiful board, teamed up for a special Arbor Day event on Monday after an original plan to host the event last Friday was rescheduled due to weather conditions.

Community officials including City Manager Mark Rohr, Mayor Terri Brown and Tourism and Cultural Arts Director Mallori James were joined at the event by Texas A&M Forest Service Representatives and community members at Airport Park.

Four oak tree saplings were planted at the park in honor of Arbor Day, as well as in honor of the four oak trees recently removed from Downtown Marshall, due to the city’s Downtown Redevelopment Project.

“Trees are important, and sometimes we take them for granted,” Rohr said, “We pledged to replace these trees, and in the city of Marshall we keep our word.”

This is the city’s first Arbor Day celebration, an event that city officials said they hope to make annual.

Rohr said that the city has a new goal of obtaining Tree City USA status, a program through the Arbor Day Foundation that offers recognition to cities across America that meet four criteria to establish a viable tree management program.

These criteria include:

  1. The establishment of a tree board or department
  2. A tree care ordinance
  3. A community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per ca-pita
  4. An Arbor Day observance or proclamation

“It would be nice for Marshall to be in that category,” Rohr said, explaining that many of the previous cities he has worked in were recognized with this status.

James, who also serves as the city’s liaison with the Keep Marshall Beautiful board, said that she was excited about the city’s new goal to reach Tree City USA status, as well as continue an Arbor Day celebration every year.

“We will be working with them every step of the way,” James said, “We are grateful to be a part of it.”

Keep Marshall Beautiful board members include Board Chair Ashli Dansby, Board Vice Chair Cheryel Carpenter, Zonita Bailey, Stacy Burns, Susan Marshall, Angelita Jackson and Lillian Banks.

Along with the event, the city partnered with the Texas A&M forestry service to give away 1,500 tree saplings for free to the Marshall community.

Saplings will be kept at Marshall City Hall, in the Planning and Zoning Department on the first floor, and will be given out on a first come first serve basis.

City of Marshall extends and expands ongoing Wall of Love mural project
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The city of Marshall’s Wall of Love mural project, to help assist with funding costs for the new Animal Adoption Center in Marshall, has expanded its program to offer additional options to community members.

In February this year Marshall announced a once in a lifetime opportunity to its citizens to showcase their own pets on murals in the new Marshall Pet Adoption Center. As of Monday there are now four levels of sponsorship available for purchase. At each level, the donor will receive recognition by name next to the name of their pet.

“Because premium spaces sold out quickly in the lobby, the city rearranged the installation — making more space available, and created a new fourth option,” according to the Friends of Marshall Animals.

Image sizes were also increased at all levels, and community members who already purchased a space will get the enhanced size automatically.

Sizes include:

  • Lobby Platinum Sponsor 10”x10” photo= $395 (one or multiple pets, submitted as one photo). Platinum sponsors are very limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Only six mural spots remain available for sponsorship.
  • Lobby Silver Sponsor 6”x6” photo= $195 (one pet-limited). Silver sponsors are also very limited. As of today, only 24 mural spots are available for sponsorship.
  • Education Room Gold Sponsor 10”x10” photo= $295 (one or multiple pets, submitted as one photo)
  • Education Room Bronze Sponsor 6”x6” photo= $95 (one pet)

The registration deadline has also been extended to June 25, to allow citizens, past residents and even visitors the opportunity to showcase their beloved pets in the Adoption Center lobby and education room.

All photos must include pet(s) only. The funds raised will provide the furniture, fixtures, and equipment in the new Marshall Pet Adoption Center.

For more information, please call (903)-934-7995. Mural photos may be purchased in the City Manager’s Office at 401 S. Alamo Blvd., the Animal Control & Shelter at 607 East End Blvd. South, or at https://donorbox.org/adoption-center-mural-2 .

Harrison County seeks professional services for new road and bridge facility, ARC renovations
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After taking a hit by the severe February snow storm, the Harrison County road and bridge offices, at 3800 Five Notch Road, will be getting a much needed facelift in the form of a new building soon.

“We’ve known that we needed to do some work on it — either remodeling it or replacing it — and we were intending to begin putting away some money each year so that we’d be ready to do it,” explained County Judge Chad Sims.

“So it’s coming pretty quick,” he said. “We were thinking probably in the next two to three, maybe four years, but then after the damage we had from the snow storm, it sped that up; and so here we are with a building that was already old and in need of some repairs and now it’s severely damaged.

“So we decided that we’d go ahead and move out of that and make plans to tear that old building down and build a new one,” said Sims.

The February 13 snow storm caused extensive damage to the site, flooding not only the inside office areas, but demolishing the outdoor storage and workshop, as well.

“In the front office, it came through the ceiling and caved in the ceiling,” County Road Administrator Luke Davis described.

“All our tiles had fallen in. We had about two-and-a-half to three inches of water in there at one time,” said Davis.

Davis said the damaged rear part of the building was used to store some equipment, pallets of cement and more.

“We build barricades and stuff like that underneath it,” the road administrator described.

He’s glad no one was working at the site, at the time.

“Nobody was hurt or anything, so that’s a blessing,” said Davis.

Request For Qualifications

The county has started the process of publishing request for qualifications in order to seek the services of a state registered architect/engineer to provide services for design, programming, permitting and construction of the new building. The Harrison County Commissioners Court gave the green light last week to begin the process to seek professional architectural/engineering services.

“We initially looked at some other sites that may have already had a building in place, and then we looked at a few but decided that it would be best to rebuild onsite and build exactly what would suit the needs of our road and bridge staff and the field guys, and be able to maintain the equipment and all that in one facility,” Judge Sims advised. “So that’s what we decided to do.”

“The purpose of the (request for qualifications) would be to hire an engineer or architect and a contractor that can walk us through designing and building a new facility out at our current road and bridge site on Five Notch Road,” he said.

ARC Renovations

In addition to the that construction project, the professionals would also be sought to perform renovation services to the now vacant ARC of Harrison County building, located at 2113 Warren Drive, across from the county airport and next to the county’s Willoughby Juvenile Detention Center.

For more than three decades, the facility consisting of a day-habilitation center and workshop provided enrichment, community inclusion, vocational training, and piece-work opportunities for local adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The building closed in 2018 after 43 years of service due to a lack of funding.

“It’s a large building that’s really being used for storage right now, but it could really serve a lot of other uses,” Judge Sims said. “So with a remodel on it, we feel like we could start using it for more things than just storage and maybe put some offices out there.

“So we intend to include in this RFQ, not just rebuilding the road and bridge, but also a renovation of the ARC building,” he shared. “It’s a little faster than what we had anticipated, but sometimes you get to work with the cards that you’re dealt with and that’s what we’ve got in our hand, so we’re going to get busy on it and make some lemonade.”

Although the county doesn’t yet know the monetary extent of damages incurred to the road and bridge building, Sims said they do know that the damage was substantial enough to ruin office furniture, equipment and more.

“Already being in bad shape, we felt like it really wasn’t worth trying to patch together on an old building like that,” said Sims.

Not only did the facility on Five Notch Road house the road and bridge offices, the building was the site for the county fire marshal’s office and environmental services, too. Sims said the county is considering moving the fire marshal’s office to the soon to be renovated ARC building.

“The on-site sewage facility, which is the environmental group, is also part of the fire marshal’s office, so they’ll be coming over there too,” said Sims.

Sims said the county is also considering moving the Agrilife county extension office to the ARC building. The building would be the perfect location, considering it’s located in close proximity to the county’s Ag farm.

“We’ve discussed moving our extension office over there, and renovating that and giving them some more office space and a larger meeting area and conference rooms,” the county judge said.

“Right around the corner from there is the Marshall ISD Ag barn, and they lease that area from the county,” said Sims.

“The school district has decided to build their own Ag barn on their high school property; and at some point, I was anticipating it this year, they’re going to release that back to the county,” said Sims. “So it’d be real handy for our extension office and the 4H kids that they serve to be able to utilize that Ag barn for some 4H projects.”

He said it would be ideal not only for students that live in the rural parts of the county, but particularly for children in the city limits, who may not have a place to house their farm animals.

“They’d be able to do that, right here, almost in town,” said Sims. “That’ll be right around the corner from that ARC building. So, it seems like a good fit.”

Sims said the Ag barn property also has space that could be utilized by the extension agency’s master gardeners program. The master gardeners plan to use the space for a greenhouse.

“Marshall High School gave the master gardeners their old greenhouse. Marshall ISD got a new greenhouse,” said Sims. “The master gardeners got their old one; and so they tore it down and they intend to rebuild that out there on that Ag farm site.

“Again, the master gardeners are part of that extension office, so it’s just a great fit,” said Sims.

According to the request for qualifications, renovations to the ARC building will include the replacement of exterior siding and roof, and “finish-out” of a new office and meeting spaces.

“Again, we intended to save up for these things, but we’re in a position that we can do it now; so sometimes, as I mentioned earlier, you just have to go with it as you’re dealt it,” Judge Sims said.

Temporary Offices

In the meantime, the road and bridge and fire marshal offices have temporarily moved to a site at 1108 Commerce Street, located at Industrial Park, off of Loop 390 and Highway 43.

“MEDCO owns a building out there and they were helpful enough to let us enter into a lease, and to lease that property for a short-term lease,” said Sims. “We can be out at that building while we’re doing the work out on Five Notch Road.”

The county invites qualified firms to submit qualifications for professional architectural/engineering services for the new construction and renovation projects no later than 5 p.m., Monday, May 17.

“The requests for qualifications will put on notice all of the engineers, architects and general contractors that we’re seeking their partnership,” Judge Sims said. “We’re seeking information on their firms so that we can enter into or engage them to work on this project for us.

“It is big news for our county, and especially our road and bridge guys and getting them in a nice facility,” said Sims. “We need to take care of them, so they can take care of our roads.”

Marshall Music Club plans annual Young Artists Contest
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The Marshall Music Club announced that once again they will host a Young Artists Concert. This concert has been an annual event held as a centerpiece of National Music Week, sponsored by the American Federation of Music Clubs.

The group took the event online in 2020, keeping the tradition alive but in a very scaled back, with virtual performances on Facebook. This year the theme is “Music…Is a Storyteller”.

“Certainly, the showcasing of some of our talented area music teachers and their students tell a story of keeping music alive,” said Narcy Crosby, a member of the group.

This year the concert will be held in the Worship Center of First Baptist Church at 405 West Austin Street on Friday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m. Concert goers should enter from the Grove Street entrance. A reception will be held in the Reception Hall following the program.

Scheduled to perform are students of Melinda Boyd, Rebecca Salmi, Elena Sleazina and other area teachers. Student performances will show a wide variety of talents ranging from piano to acoustic guitar to bass guitar and vocals.

The event is open to the community and free to attend.