Local News
Citizens provide input to proposed Bonham Master Plan
By Sandy Barber
Nov 13, 2023
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Bonham, Texas -- Despite the cold and rainy weather, more than 50 local people came to Bonham City Hall at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, 2023 to learn more about the proposed Bonham Master Plan.  Allen Sanderson, leader of the Downtown Advisory Group, welcomed everyone in attendance.  Holding up a copy of the proposed Bonham Master Plan, Sanderson said “This is a draft.”  He emphasized that the plan is not yet complete.

Allen Sanderson, leader of Downtown Advisory Group

Sanderson thanked everyone for coming tonight and described the process for gathering everyone’s input.  Everyone in attendance was encouraged to get one of the paper forms being provided, write in their comments and turn the paper back in.  Around the room, hanging on the walls were a selected number of poster size pages from the proposed plan. 

Despite the cold and rainy weather, more than 50 local people came to Bonham City Hall at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, 2023 to learn more about the proposed Bonham Master Plan.

Sanderson talked about the growth that is coming our way.  “If we don’t plan, it will run over us.”  He talked about working in McKinney many years ago and how the changes that happened there did not come without planning.  He also emphasized that this is a process that will take years to complete.  “This plan is a living document, one that will change over the years.”

Sanderson acknowledged that there are concerns about traffic and buildings that need work.  He stated that the plan includes concepts of what could happen in Bonham in the future.  He stated that the comments gathered tonight would be combined with comments gathered at another meeting held earlier this month. The plan will be refined some more, taking into account the comments gathered.  The revised plan would likely be brought back for additional community input and revisions at least one or two more times before being presented to the Bonham City Council for approval.

Sanderson acknowledged that there are several typos in the current version of the plan, which will be corrected.

Gayle Cooper, Executive Director of the Bonham Economic Development Corporation (BEDCO), announced that the proposed plan has been posted on the BEDCO website for all to review in detail.

Folks in attendance were then encouraged to get up, walk around to review the poster-size pages of the plan and write down their feedback.  Cooper said that she was delighted with the turnout.  She said comments have generally all been positive. She has also noticed a lot of excitement about the plans and possibilities.

Bonham City Manager Sean Pate was in attendance, visiting with folks as they were moving around the room, viewing and discussing the plans with one another.  When asked what he thought about the plan and tonight’s meeting, he stated that they need more public involvement.  He wants to learn what citizens like and what they do not like in the proposed plan.  He stated that it is important for this plan to have buy in from those who live here.

Bonham City Council members Michael Evans and Ernie Quintana agreed that public input was important.  Evans and Quintana discussed concerns about the traffic patterns downtown.  Quintana shared stories of near misses with large trucks turning in front of his business at the corner of Sam Rayburn/Highway 56 and Center Street/Highway 78.  Evans is hopeful that grant money and matching funds from the city can help provide local business owners with incentives to make improvements.

The proposed Master Plan includes the statement “The Downtown Vision is to create an enhanced destination, maintain the historical and traditional character with modern amenities and to ultimately create a safe, comforting, charming, vibrant sense of community.”

A review of the plan reveals that it does address more than just the downtown area.  The targeted study areas for redevelopment zones include the areas adjacent to the four highways within Bonham, including Highways 56, 78, 82 and 121.  Parts of the plan discuss the need for design guidelines, re-routing truck traffic to avoid downtown, improving safety, creating streetscapes, adding signage for wayfinding and preserving the community heritage.  The plan also includes ideas of how to create more pedestrian zones and connecting the different parts of town with one another. The final three pages of the plan list a variety of possible action steps.

The proposed plan is posted on the BEDCO website at: https://www.cityofbonham.org/163/BEDCO.

photos by Sandy Barber