MIDLOTHIAN — Following the recommendation of the Midlothian Community Development Commission, the Midlothian City Council unanimously approved a grant totaling $350,000 to the Founders Row project. Applying for the grant was Founders Row developer, Stephen Hidlebaugh.

“I have never asked the city for any help. By approving me this grant, I will be able to give back to the city many times over with this unique development,” Hidlebaugh said.

In explaining the grant amount, Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick stated, “The Midlothian Community Development Commission approved an amount of $350,000 subject to certain terms and conditions. For each historical home moved onto the property as a part of the Founders Row Project the following will be required prior to any funds being advanced: the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy by the City of Midlothian and the installation of a plaque at each home detailing its history. At that time, MCDC will advance $43,750 per house.”

The development, located along Avenue G, will start with historic homes that have been moved from their original lots and relocated to the new block. The homes were originally located as far away as Cleburne and as close as "The Pink Lady" from the intersection of Butcher Road and US Highway 77 in Waxahachie near the new Waxahachie Life High School.

Hidlebaugh described the development as a place where there will be unique businesses located in a mixed-use development in the heart of Midlothian.

"These historical mansions were saved from the bulldozer or a wrecking ball to create a block of historical business opportunities. These homes will be transitioned into shops, businesses, and restaurants, “Hidlebaugh said.

According to the developer, other amenities along Founders Row will include a park area for art events and gatherings. He also explained that mansions and smaller homes will be moved to the development and renovated while the first three are being renovated.

“Midlothian has always been a drive-through city. This development will give people passing through a reason to stop in Midlothian and see what our city is about,” Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Frizzell said.

IN WITH THE NEW?

A request by the developers of One Windsor Hills to get the city’s approval for a municipal management district was also unanimously approved after much discussion by both the developer and nearby business, Ash Grove Cement Company.

This item is a resolution of the City Council consenting to the creation of the Windsor Hills Municipal Management District No. 2 with a taxing authority not to exceed $.43 per $100 on an average home for the purpose of constructing water, wastewater, drainage, roads, and miscellaneous construction costs.

Representing Ash Grove was attorney Kasey Ratliff, who requested the council delay for at least one month before approving the requests by the developers of One Windsor Hills so that the board could also have the approval of a municipal management district.

“We have worked to share our concerns with representatives of the City and the developers of the land adjacent to our cement manufacturing facility,” Ratliff said.

Among the concerns expressed by Ratliff were several retention ponds, a gas well and the environmental concerns of the plant's operation.

“People will be building three-hundred thousand dollar homes in that area. We want to be assured there are disclosures in place before they buy or purchase,” Ratliff said.

Representing Windsor Hills was Kirk Wilson.

“This municipal management district has to be approved by the Texas State Legislature. If we are delayed, our chances of getting it approved are greatly reduced and then we will be delayed two years for the legislature to meet again to present it," Wilson said.

A question posed by one member of the council was if there would be any homes with property lines adjacent to the Ash Grove property.

“We want to be good neighbors and will provide the appropriate notices to purchasers,” Wilson said

Zoning and development designs were also questioned. Midlothian City Attorney Joe Gorfida said there would be two opportunities when the development comes before Planning and Zoning Board for those questions to be addressed and, at that point, any special conditions could be placed on the development.

Councilman Ted Miller asked if the Texas House Bill to establish the municipal district were to fail, would this be a mute point. Gorfida confirmed that the action of the council would be mute if the district failed to receive approval by the 85th Texas Legislature.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The council then held a public hearing and considered changes requested by a developer, Justin Crocker, for an office and professional complex to be built close to the intersection of Walton Way and Main Street.

Among the changes were to modify the number of buildings from three to four, allowing a masonry fence, remove a meandering sidewalk, and allow two masonry monument signs. Assistant City Manager Kristine Day told council members that city staff supported the amendments.

As a consent agenda item, the council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Midlothian Market to be hosted by the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce. The market will run from May 6 through Oct. 7. The weekend event will be held on the first and third weekends of the month.