Bonham City Council approves initiative to preserve heritage district

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FANNIN CO., - Since two historic buildings collapsed on the same day in downtown Bonham last May, the City has been looking for ways to preserve its Heritage District.

"The fact that we had those two buildings collapse certainly highlighted the fact that we had structural problems with those buildings," said Bill Shipp, Bonham's City Manager.

Ship says they want to liven up downtown while making sure the buildings are safely maintained.

Steve Filipowicz, director of the Bonham Economic Development Corporation, presented an initiative to the City.

"We recognize that the best possible recourse for a building is to have it occupied, have an owner or tenant who cares for the building, and who conducts routine maintenance," said Filipowicz.

It's an incentive program for potential tenants. Once they're approved, the program would pay half the cost of a certified design professional to inspect the building and make recommendations on taking care of it.

The Save Our Structures program would provide seed money to businesses looking to move into buildings in the Heritage District.

Wayne Moore and his wife are opening a restaurant on the square. He says he supports any effort to encourage more businesses to locate Downtown, "We need to get folks down here on weekends, and that's one of our goals, to see the cars in downtown Bonham on Saturday.

The program's budget cap for this fiscal year is $6,500.

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