A newcomer to Bruceton spoke during Bruceton’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen’s meeting Feb. 9 about community involvement that would aid in the town’s economic growth.
Matt Kelly said he moved to town about a year ago with his wife and children and purchased residential and commercial property.
“The people here are ready for a change – yearning for a change,” he said.
Already he has rented the town’s once closed restaurant to Perry’s BBQ who will hire ten local people, he said. The new owners will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kelly has also upgraded a building from which a lady will sell used furniture.
He mentioned that he wanted to bring back life to the town.
“What are we doing to fix up the community?” he asked. “If not doing anything what can we do? I’ll donate tools and a power washer and just go door to door.”
He suggested getting churches and their youth and school students involved in the project because older people are not able to get out and power wash their houses. He believes that people taking pride in the community will bring in out of town people who will help boost the community’s economy.
He said he had a friend from Montana who spent several days here recently. He hires some 35 people in his business there and is interested in Bruceton.
“When people don’t show pride in the community, how can you expect anyone to come in and spend a $1 million to $2 million,” said Kelly.
Alderman Scotty Higdon said the town has a lot of houses that need to be burned or torn down.
Mayor Bob Keeton noted that the population of the town is older and the town is limited in what it can do. He pointed out the chamber might could help.
“We can’t open restaurants or businesses,” he said. “We can eliminate brush and in the spring put out a dumpster.”
Kelly said he gets six to eight calls a week from out of state people who are wanting to relocate and the majority of them are going to Camden, Paris and Huntingdon.
“We need to know how we can capture them,” he said.
The mayor said the restaurant that closed had been a focal point of the town and that it would be a boost to the economy again with new owners opening it. This might cause other people to think about business ventures.
Aldermen passed two resolutions that hired two firms that will assist the town in applying for a Community Development Block Grant for sewer improvements. Tegrah Engineering will assist in the engineering design of the project. Community Development Partners was hired to provide assistance in the preparation and administration of the grant.
Aldermen changed the town’s court date to Thursday at the request of town judge Jack Leonard of Camden. The court formerly met in session on Wednesday. However, Benton County General Sessions Court meets on Wednesday. Leonard said it was causing a hardship as he was having to leave court early in order to make it to Bruceton on time.
The mayor read a letter from First Baptist Church that thanked the town and its employees for their assistance with a sewer problem. Employees Brian Edwards, Kenneth Storey and David McEwen assisted with the situation.
At the March meeting, aldermen plan to vote to change the board meeting time from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. the second Tuesday in each month.