BONHAM — What did 2013 mean to the city of Bonham? According to Bonham City Manager Bill Shipp, this year meant expansion of business, changes to city leadership and upgrades to a city building, among other things.
The Bonham City Council saw some change in leadership this year, Shipp said. Mayor Pro Tem and Council member at-large Wayne Moore decided to not seek re-election after 13 years on the Bonham City Council. Michael Evans, Council member for Ward No. 5, was elected mayor pro tem by the Council. Milton Glenn was elected as Council member at-large during the May election.
“As far as the business community goes, we’ve had some very good things happen this year,” Shipp said, “and we have some promise for even greater things to happen in the future.”
As part of an economic incentive from the Bonham Economic Development Corporation, Bonham Chrysler expanded their operations to a new location in the 2100 block of N. Center St. They are still operating the original location in the 1520 block of W. Sam Rayburn Drive.
The dealership has seen an increase in clientele since the new location opened, said Bonham Chrysler Sales Manager Ray McCarthy.
Other businesses that grew this year were Kelso Technologies and Renlita Doors. Kelso Technologies, a manufacturer of products for the railroad industry, recently broke ground on a new, 40,000-square-foot building. Renlita Doors also expanded their production space and added a few employees.
In April, Fire Station No. 2 was able to undergo remodeling and utility work at a low price. The city chose to have firefighters do work on the building as opposed to bringing in outside help.
The station was built in 1954 and had several outdated features. Firefighters essentially gutted the building and gave it a new interior, said Bonham Fire Chief Brad Nichols. Among improvements firefighters made were a larger bay area for the fire engines, new electricity, new plumbing, central heating and air conditioning and a fire escape for the upstairs rooms. All the improvements were made for less than $250,000, Nichols said.
The city made a few organizational changes. The BEDCO executive director will now report directly to the city manager. This will allow for “better coordinated activity,” Shipp said. In addition, the BEDCO offices moved to City Hall, and the Chamber of Commerce will move to the Visitor’s Center.
Shipp described Bonham as an “event-rich” city, and this year was no different in terms of activities, festivals and celebrations.
The city held the second annual Festival of Flight on Nov. 2 at Jones Field Airport. Although it was a cold and windy day, an estimated 3,000 people showed up to take part in the “celebration of aviation,” Shipp said. The festival featured a performance from an acrobatic pilot, skydiving demonstrations and a display of World War II aircraft.
“People may think, ‘Well, what can an air show be in Bonham, Texas?’” Shipp said. “Well, the air show in Bonham, Texas is pretty darn good. And I think that will catch on.”
Other events included the seventh-annual Heritage Day Celebration, held May 1 in downtown Bonham. The event was an all-day affair that included gun-fight reenactments, motocross stunts and a hot dog eating contest. The Christmas Parade was postponed from Dec. 7 to Dec. 14 due to the ice storm but was successful nonetheless, Shipp said.