The city of Ennis may have found someone to help them market the old Ennis Regional Medical Center building located at 803 W. Lampasas St.

The Staubach Group has submitted a proposal that the commission will vote on during an upcoming meeting that will allow the company to go ahead with plans to market and find a use for the facility the commission was informed during Monday’s regular meeting.

"I think the proposal from the Staubach Group is fair and they seem very eager to help the city find a purpose for the facility. They have a great reputation especially around Ellis County and I think that this would be a good fit for the city," City Manager Steve Howerton said.

The Staubach Group has been involved with many projects around Ellis County, the most recent being the plans for construction of the new county jail and justice center facilities to be built in downtown Waxahachie.

The commissioners received notification from the Texas Department of Transportation this week as to the reasons why the construction of the U.S. Highway 287 Bypass has been pushed back from the original plan of construction for November 2008.

In a letter from area engineer William Pierce, the process TxDot goes through before construction can begin was outlined.

"The project timeline is controlled by four activities: preliminary engineering, right-of-way acquisition, utility adjustments and funding. Preliminary engineering includes schematic design, public involvement, environmental assessment and coordination with various state and federal agencies. This process is culminated by the Federal Highway Administration issuing a Finding of No Significant Impact or a FONSI. The project is then considered environmentally clear and right-of-way acquisition and utility adjustments may proceed. Once these have been achieved, the project may be let to contract, provided the construction funding has been obligated."

The letter also states that TxDot will need an additional $14.4 million in funding before construction can begin on the project and that the court schedule for eminent domain proceedings is also a factor in when the project starts. The estimation of when construction will begin now sits at November 2009, but TxDot has agreed to move as quickly as possibly to have construction begin in a timely manner.

In other items:

* The commission had the second reading of the ordinance to adopt the budget and set the tax rate as well as the ordinance to amend establishing the municipal court fines. New fine structure and fees will begin Oct. 1.

* A recycling report given to the commissioners shows that the recycling program within the city has increased from 179 to 208 households that participate within the city.

A public facilities use permit was issued to the Ennis Chamber of Commerce for the upcoming Christmas parade contingent on the chamber providing a certificate of liability insurance prior to the event.

The commission meets the first and third Monday of the month at City Hall, 115 W. Brown St. . The workshop begins at 6 pm with the meeting beginning at 7 pm; both meetings are open to the public.

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