Fulshear City Council extends time for community to save historical Section House

The two-story, five-room Section House—located next door to Encore Arts at 7926 FM 359, Fulshear—is an original building from the Fulshear Railroad Station. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)
The two-story, five-room Section House—located next door to Encore Arts at 7926 FM 359, Fulshear—is an original building from the Fulshear Railroad Station. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)

The two-story, five-room Section House—located next door to Encore Arts at 7926 FM 359, Fulshear—is an original building from the Fulshear Railroad Station. (Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper)

Fulshear City Council granted a five-month extension to the Fulshear Historic Preservation and Museum Committee to gather hundreds of thousands in pledges to fund the preservation of the historical Section House, or Switch House.

At the June 16 meeting, council agreed to let the committee gather enough pledges to equal 50% of the average cost of the three bids previously received, which is between $175,000-$375,000, according to City Council members.

About halfway through the 1 1/2-hour discussion, Council Member Joel Patterson voiced concern about fundraising in the current economic climate and suggested the city fund the necessary amount of money to move faster through the project.

"Given the current economic situation with businesses and with individuals not working, it's probably not an ideal time to be pledging and doing those sorts of things," Patterson said.

Council Member Debra Cates jumped in to oppose.


"I am not supportive of spending any taxpayer dollars on the Section House," Cates said. "That is not what we agreed to at the start."

Patterson reiterated all the discussion regarding the Section House over the last year and a half and noted some concerns in the feasibility of some demands made by the city to save the Section House.

"As a council, if we are not interested in saving the section house as a piece of history for the city of Fulshear, whether it becomes a museum or whether it just sits there, then I think we should let the commission know, in all fairness," Patterson said.

Mayor Aaron Groff mirrored similar sentiments.

"If you do continue to kick the can down the road, then be specific what we are asking the commission so that they know where to focus their energies and efforts over the next five months," Groff said.

Committee member Heather Raphael said she wanted to clarify the committee's intentions.

"I moved to Fulshear for the small-town sense of community," Raphael told the council at the June 16 meeting. "I understand that this is a very complicated issue. I want it clear that we are not asking for money. We are more than willing to fundraise; if we need to pay for an architectural rendering, we will do so."

Raphael confirmed with Council Member Kent Pool that electronic pledges would not be accepted.

"I want you to think about every Fulshear magazine that has been printed has shown the Section House," Raphael said to the council. "This could be a shining jewel for Fulshear if you will let us and give us the opportunity."
By Nola Valente
A native Texan, Nola serves as reporter for the Katy edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She studied print journalism at the University of Houston and French at the University of Paris-Sorbonne in France. Nola was previously a foreign correspondent in Jerusalem, Israel covering Middle East news through an internship with an American news outlet.


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