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New Ennis facilities may have found a piece of property suitable

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ENNIS - The Ellis County Commissioners' Court voted to build a new 10,200 square foot county facility in Ennis if the county bond passed the May 12 election.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Bill Dodson said the present county facility in Ennis were in poor condition and called the need for better facilities as urgent.

Ellis County voters approved the bond issue on May 12, and since, Dodson, Commissioner Pct. 1 Dennis Robinson and Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Bill Woody had been actively searching out a place for the new $1.25 million facility.

'Dennis and I are working on locking down the location to bring to commissioners' court for approval,' said Dodson.

'Joe White is following up on the property to assure us there are no easement or other issues that will affect the location.'

'It is an excellent piece of property,' Dodson said, adding Ennis Mayor Russell Thomas and City Manager Steve Howerton and both are supportive of the location.

While a decision has been made, Dodson stressed it is not yet final.

A thorough examination of the property will take place first, the commissioner said.

The site's location was not being made public in order to maintain the potential purchase negotiations, Dodson said the property's owners 'know what it's for and are working with us.'

In the search and development process for the new facility, the county has worked closely with Thomas, Howerton and other Ennis officials, Dodson said, adding from their talks, the county decided to abandon its initial designs featuring a southwestern theme, replacing them with a turn-of-the-century appearance at the city's request.

County engineer Joe White and Dodson have worked to get a preliminary set of architectural drawings done and have devised a basic floor plan for the structure, and Dodson said the city has been helpful in providing information about the property.

White also has been examining the location to see if there could be any easement or other issues prior to moving forward to an examination of the title and deed.

Dodson had a concern about a sewer line running through the property, but the city has said it is abandoned.

'It's not a big line, so it shouldn't present any problems, but we just wanted to make sure,' Dodson said.

White said his examination of the property was looking good so far and the old sewer line shouldn't be a problem.

Once the examination is complete and if no issues are found, Dodson said he'll seek action on the purchase by the commissioners court as soon as possible.

'If it all works out, I will bring it as soon as we can get everything locked down,' Dodson said.

'With all the rain we've had and with all the leaks in the roof, the sooner we get Judge Woody into the new building and out of the one he's in now the better.'

The commissioner hopes to have construction completed and operations begun in the new facility within 12 months.

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