Council appoints new members to revitalize Downtown Beautification Committee

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By Rachel Madison

After a months-long hiatus, the Liberty Hill Downtown Beautification Committee is set to start meeting monthly once again with a slew of new members.

The committee was started in 2015 under the name Downtown Revitalization Committee, and the goal at that time was to use the committee as a jumping off point to help Liberty Hill earn a Scenic Cities designation, said Mayor Liz Branigan. That committee disbanded in 2017.

“After a while the City stopped pursuing that designation, and the committee stopped meeting,” she said. “Now this committee is beginning to meet again because there are several people who feel it’s worthwhile.”

The initial meeting of the new Downtown Beautification Committee took place in February 2020, under the name Main Street Beautification Committee, and was then changed to Downtown Beautification Committee in March 2020. Soon after these initial meetings, the pandemic hit and upended the group.

Then, throughout 2021, the group was unable to meet due to a lack of quorum. Members of the committee included Council member Kathy Canady, who can no longer serve due to the Council’s decision to remove council members from all ancillary boards; Liz Rundzieher, former council member who passed away due to complications from cancer earlier this year; and Dax Oglesby, who no longer owns a business nor resides in downtown Liberty Hill.

In August, the Council unanimously approved the bylaws and mission statement for the committee, as well as a $10,000 annual budget. In September, the Council further discussed the need to reinvigorate the Downtown Beautification Committee, and voted 4-1 with Canady opposed, to appoint Jodi McCumber of Texas Honey Hole; Tambra Prince of Main Street Social; and Lonnie Wendling of Agape BBQ to the committee, as they all own downtown Liberty Hill businesses.

Starting Oct. 14, the committee will once again meet once a month.

City Administrator Lacie Hale said the purpose of the committee moving forward is to make recommendations to Council based on the adopted mission statement and bylaws. The committee’s mission statement is to be the “unifying facilitator of both the historic preservation and economic expansion of downtown Liberty Hill.” She added that members of the committee must be residents or business owners who reside or own and operate a business within the designated downtown area.

“Downtown is the heart of Liberty Hill,” Hale said. “The small-town charm that is created within this area is an attraction for tourists and residents. Long term, it is important to preserve this area, while looking for opportunities for economic expansion and amenities. The main goals that I see for this committee are identifying ways to create more pedestrian accessibility for patrons and residents; brainstorm and recommend projects to Council that beautify the downtown area; and obtain a few grants.”

During their meeting Oct. 14, the committee is set to appoint a chair, vice chair and secretary, as well as review the bylaws and begin making its first recommendations to City Council. Branigan said now that the committee is meeting again, she intends to challenge them to pursue the Scenic Cities designation once again.

“I plan on going to their second or third meeting, and I will challenge them to pursue the Scenic Cities once again, because that was the reason for starting this group in the first place,” she said.

The committee’s first meeting will be held tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Municipal Court Building.

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