by Roma Vivas
FORT STOCKTON- The Old Pecos Jail was built in 1883 and if you would like to visit it you have to make an appointment. About two months ago, Longfellow Ranch Partners decided to make a proposal and try to lease this building for 20 years and make it into office space. This has caused quite a controversy here in the county and county officials say it's a good idea.
"In order to preserve history through out the years to come it's going to be very costly and this is one way to preserve history and yet promote history and to be to show the history during that period of time," Pecos County Judge Joe Shuster, said.
If the proposal passes, Longfellow Ranch Partners will spend about $200,000 renovating the old jail and lease it from the county for at least 20 years.
"We thought it would a great a opportunity to restore a historic building, bring it to something that people can enjoy, that it has brought to it's full glory, rehabilitate it, and it could also be something that could be used for a modern function as a office building," Allie Slater with Longfellow Ranch Partners, said.
But the old jail wouldn't be the only building getting a facelift. Longfellow Partners has also promised to donate an additional $200,000 to the Fort Stockton Historical Commission to renovate other historical buildings in town.
"Some of the initial renovation projects would be to fix the roof, because there some leaks in the roof, would be to re-plaster the interior walls, there are some structural issues, cracks, and things like that," Slater said.
But several city residents think the renovations are unnecessary and that transforming the jail into an office building would betray its historical roots.
"It should be maintained as it is, with lots of records, lots of pictures. I think there is a couple of guns and some batches, some hats, that's what needs to be in there, not corporate offices," Historian Lee Harris, said.
Bids are open until about the first week of October to anyone who wants to lease the building, so far only one proposal has been turned in.