By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

ELKHART – The City of Elkhart is in the process of planning a number of projects in the hopes of beautifying the city and repairing its crumbling infrastructure.

“Our infrastructure is neglected,” Elkhart Mayor Mike Gordon said Tuesday. “We’re fixing to spend close to probably $80,000 or $90,000 on a lagoon that needs to be dredged out that should have been dredged out years ago. And now, it’s full. And it’s affected our system, and we need to get it dredged out.

The mayor said they have to follow Texas Commission of Environmental Quality regulations.

“You know, whenever they say, ‘Jump,’ you say, ‘How far?’ or pay about a $50,000 fine,” Mayor Gordon explained. “So, we’ve got to do that; to abide by the laws that TCEQ is giving us.

“We’re trying to turn this thing around,” he added. “And it’s a slow process.”

Mayor Gordon explained that city officials are working to bring a code enforcer on board to assist with the process of cleaning up the city.

“Our town is rundown, and it’s been neglected,” he reiterated. “We’re trying to get a code enforcer here so we can start (having) people to clean their yard up, mow their yards, get rid of their junk cars, pick up their dogs, keep their dogs penned up.

“I understand we just can’t come in and pick up your dog, you know, we’ve got to have somebody in place to do that; with the certifications to do that,” Mayor Gordon acknowledged. “It’s a long, slow process. We’ve got to get all our bylaws and our ordinances in line.”

Mayor Gordon added that although he would like to see the town cleaned up, he is not looking forward to the idea of issuing citations to residents of the city.

“You know, I don’t want to. I’m just satisfied with going out there and saying, ‘Hey, Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So, you need to clean your yard up; you need to get rid of your junk cars. And then, of course, if they don’t abide by it, then you get a citation.

“I really don’t want to do that, but if we have to, we will,” he stated.

“I want people to be proud of their city,” Mayor Gordon went on. “I want to see this town cleaned up.”

Mayor Gordon also mentioned water lines within the city that have been affected by asbestos, estimating that roughly one-third are in need of attention.

While remaining somewhat tight-lipped, the mayor also insinuated that the city is exploring ways to generate more revenue, similar to successful plans carried out in nearby cities such as Frankston.

“We just don’t have the industry or the businesses in town, but we’re working on that,” he said. “I’m not going to discuss that right now, but we have some things that we’re working on.”

Sarah Naron may be reached via email at snaron@messenger-news.com.