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Main Street burn out slated for demolition

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Despite rumors to the contrary, plans for a new hotel on the site of the Old Texas Square complex are moving ahead, according to Bandera City Administrator Mike Cardenas.

The subject came up during a discussion of "Main Street Revitalization" at a Bandera City Council budget workshop on Thursday, July 12. At that time, Cardenas revealed that, according to the latest timeframe, demolition of the complex would likely take place this month.

Additionally, he indicated the structure would likely be demolished by the time Bandera celebrates the National Day of the American Cowboy on Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28.

"The asbestos abatement issue was slowing up the process," Cardenas told council. "But the Texas Department of Health contacted the property owner two days ago to discuss their findings." Cardenas said the bulk of the asbestos had been confined to the restaurant and kitchen area and could safely be removed after the structure was demolished.

Cardenas had met with the developer and owner several times regarding the uninhabited structure that was destroyed by a fire early in the morning of May 20.

Although a state fire marshal characterized the blaze as incendiary after a preliminary investigation, no further information has been released and no arrests have been made. "Fire Officer Principles and Practice" defines an incendiary fire as "one that is intentionally started when a person knows it should not be started. An incendiary fire is not necessarily arson."

Reports stated that transients had apparently been living in the structure, which had been closed for years. There was no electricity to the building.

The block-long complex had not only become an eyesore, but, as time went on, an increasingly unsafe liability. "We told the owner and developer that if the complex was not razed by August 6, the city would begin demolition, which is our right. However, they assured me that the process would be 'well along' by that time," Cardenas told council.

He added that the entire complex of the former Old Texas Square from Cherry Street to Oak Street would go under the wrecking ball - or whatever.

In an interview, Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Schumacher noted that the area would be cleared in its entirety before Celebrate Bandera during Labor Day weekend. She added, "We are eager to work with the owner and developer in this project which will revitalize the northern end of our city's Main Street."