City of Crockett Tables Brewer Park Donation

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – Sometimes you just can’t give things away and on Monday, Feb. 5, the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce was confronted with this for a second time in 2018.

In January of this year, the chamber tried to give the deed to Brewer Park to Houston County. The Commissioners Court, however, declined to accept the offer. On Monday, Chamber Executive Director Jeannie Julian tried to give the park to the city of Crockett, but was met with a similar response.

Julian said many years ago the Chamber of Commerce was deeded the plot of land known as Brewer Park.

“Since that time, we have done very little to maintain it, even though we keep the lights on and keep it mowed. That costs a good deal of money but the chamber was able to take care of it for many years. Our hotel and motel tax was enough to carry us through,” she said.

Dr. Ianthia Fisher

“Over the last few years,” she continued, “that has just about been cut in half. Because of this, we have to go into our general operating fund. At this time, there is also the possibility of some roof damage and some structural damage that needs to be taken care of.”

Julian added she did not believe the chamber could take care of those issues “… and would like to see it in the hands of someone who would keep it as a historical site for the downtown Crockett area.”

She said she had been to the commissioners court but they had said no.

“Tonight I come to you as a council asking you if the city of Crockett would like to hold the deed, henceforth, to that property. If you would, the chamber would be glad to give that to you. If not the chamber will go a different direction,” Julian said.

While the council did not completely close the door on the possible donation – and after a lengthy discussion – the council members elected to table the matter for future consideration in order to gain more information.

Prior to the Brewer Park discussion, two Crockett residents voiced their displeasure on the way they felt they were treated during a council meeting in January.

During the aforementioned meeting, Crockett Police Chief David “Buddy” Cross had instructed both Dr. Ianthia Fisher and her brother, Billy “Hollywood” Groves, to be quiet during Crockett Fire Chief Jason Frizzell’s monthly report.

Fisher and Groves were discussing an unrelated matter at a volume loud enough to be heard at the front of the room.

Following the meeting, Groves remarked he wanted to file a complaint against the police chief with City Administrator John Angerstein.

During the Feb. 5 meeting, Fisher brought up the matter once again.

Reading from a prepared statement, Fisher said she was “… addressing this as a letter of complaint against Chief Buddy Cross for his inappropriate behavior and conduct unbecoming an officer to respect the rights of all citizens.”

Billy Groves

Fisher commented she was shocked “… at the outburst he made during the presentation of the fire marshal (chief). His outburst was loud, unprovoked and can only be considered offensive while a comment was being made to me by my brother. He was seated next to me and commented the fire chief was doing a great job.”

She added, “The comment was in no way disruptive due to the fact he was sitting next to me in the back of the room. As he (Groves) was making the comment, I heard someone yell from the opposite side of the room – I’m not sure – but it was something to the effect of not talking. Maybe I missed something but it appeared we were discriminatorily singled out and disrespected with the sole intention to humiliate us.”

Following Fisher’s address, Groves also addressed the council concerning the same matter.

“Like I said, he is trying to intimidate people but you’ll never be able to control God’s people because I’m fearless. I’m not going to be intimidated by no cop. The cop has a job to do and we respect him, but when you break the law and run over people, you’re not the law no more. You disrespected everything,” Groves said.

“I’m asking the council to put on the agenda to remove this guy – Buddy Cross – from the police chief. I wrote a letter and sent it to you (Crockett City Administrator John) Angerstein. I hope you and the council members discuss this and take it into consideration. We’re going to pass a petition, at some point, to have this guy removed. Crockett is predominantly black and we only have one or two black officers,” Groves said.

In other matters brought before the council:

  • Crockett Police Chief David “Buddy” Cross reported the police department received 364 calls for service during the month of January which resulted in 38 arrests. There were 47 traffic citations issued and 84 police reports filed.
  • Crockett Fire Marshal Chris Jiminez reported the fire department responded to 43 calls during the month of January with two structure fires. Twenty-four of the calls were in the city limits while 19 were in the county. There were five structure fires outside the city limits.
  • The council approved a request from the Piney Woods Fine Arts Association to close several streets on March 23 and March 24 for a music and arts festival.
  • Approval was given by the council to purchase a dump truck from Houston County Precinct Two.
  • A list of city owned items and equipment which “no longer serve any useful purpose” was approved for online auction.
  • The council approved the purchase of self-contained breathing apparatuses for the fire department.
  • The asbestos abatement and demolition of the old Waller Building located at 704 E. Goliad was approved.

Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.