Council grants time extension on Hedgecoke, Jefferson properties

The Borger City Council has granted an additional extension of time to one local resident to allow her to continue refurbishing two different properties.During its regular meeting Tuesday, the council approved an order to further modify the recommendation of the Building Standards Commission to require Penny Hodges to obtain a remodel permit for structures located at 309 South Hedgecoke and 219-221 W. Jefferson, within a 10-day period, and gave her an additional 90 days to complete repairs.Larry Byrd said that since the January meeting, when Ms. Hodges received an extension, there has been a considerable amount of work done on the property, and he recommended an additional extension of time.Hodges showed the council photos of the work that has been done on the properties up to the present time, and also gave the council a checklist of what has been done.She said she thought at the January meeting that it was decided she wouldn’t have to come back if Byrd came out and did the inspection and all was clear. She said she and her husband were trying to clean them up and get everything done. “I want you to know we are working diligently on these projects,” she said.She said there were personal issues that brought progress on these structures to a halt for a period of time, but since that time, she said she and her husband have been working hard to get these structures up to code.“I have not even begun on the inside of the houses, because I am trying to please you guys and get it to where I can start work on the inside,” Hodges said. “I fully intend to complete these houses. I believe I am going to name them ‘Bella’ for beautiful. They are going to be restored.”She said it’s a project the community would like to see happen. After the January meeting, she said she had people interested in seeing inside the house and even offering to help her work on the houses. She said she has had phone calls wanting to know why she is being pressed to get the work done.“Is there anything outside of just wanting the houses to be complete?” Hodges said.Byrd said he has been working with Hodges for awhile, and that a significant amount of progress has been made. However, the city is trying to get a completed project here, where there are no property maintenance violations. He said a significant amount of time has been spent on this property.Hodges said she wondered if there was a pressing issue on the property. She said she has gotten calls from people wanting to purchase the properties.“They’re paid for. I have worked. We pay for everything as we go. We do the work ourselves,” she said. “I really want to live there. Borger is my hometown. I was born and raised here. My family’s here. I intend to stay here. I just felt like there are other powers-to-be that are pressing, and if that be the case, I would like to know.”She said she works out of town a good deal of the time, and her husband works in Amarillo. However, she said they are working very hard to fix up these structures, something she hopes Borger can be proud of in the long run.“They are beautiful old houses, and I love them, and I want to be here,” Hodges said.Mayor Jeff Brain said no one has approached him and he has not heard any complaints about the property. He said the reason she was there is that this is still an active process.“One of the problems we’ve had in the past is we’ve allowed properties that have gotten to where you are that still had a few violations, and the person has promised they will finish it,” he said. “We would reverse the decision and say we’re not going to demolish it. Then they didn’t do it, and we would have to start the whole process over and the process takes time.”He said Hodges has made excellent progress and he appreciates the work she has done, saying the properties look much better than they did a year ago. He said the city simply wants to get the property where there are no violations.Council member Bubba Dickson agreed, saying the property is looking great, and told Hodges to keep doing what she is doing.Council member Charles Gillingham also said he has not received any phone calls from anyone pertaining to the property. He asked Hodges if there is a list of things that need to be fixed, and she said she does have a list. He said as long as she completes what is on the list, she has full council cooperation.Mayor Pro-Tem Robert Vinyard concurred, saying he has not received any phone calls from anyone on the property. He said the council works solely off the recommendations of the Planning and Zoning Commission and what she has told them. He applauded her for the hard work she has done thus far.