Turning on the heat; Petition, group seek to preserve site of old Ice House
A local group in Pilot Point wants to preserve the Ice House building on Main Street and has created a petition for its effort.
The building, in the 100 block of East Main Street, has been closed for decades, and Marie Ware wants to keep the Ice House and use the property as a park. The building belongs to the city. A petition has been started on change.org by a group called Friends of the Ice House, and more than 100 people have signed the petition, with paper and online signings available.
“Visitors are charmed by Pilot Point and its history and have been taking pictures of themselves at the Ice House for years,” the petition stated on change.org.
Ware said she protested on The Square on Saturday and has gained written signatures in addition to online support. She wants the Ice House restored with private money.
Mayor Shea Dane-Patterson said in an email the building has lead paint and is full of mold. The building has been used to store historical items, mostly from a former restaurant, she said.
“It would need lots of restoration work,” she said.
Dane-Patterson said the city has no plans to tear down the building, but Ware was hesitant to believe her. Ware said she fears some business interests will purchase the Ice House from the city and displace the building. The Ice House will be discussed at the council’s next meeting, although Dane-Patterson and City Manager Alan Guard thought Ware should first discuss her concerns with the city’s Historic Review Board.
“At this time the city has no plans concerning the Ice House,” Dane-Patterson said. “Our priority is historic preservation, not destruction. The city has several buildings that would need to be evaluated for restoration purposes. The Bloomfield School is at the top of that list.”
The Ice House closed in the 1960s, according to an April 2012 Post-Signal story. The city took control of the building in March 2012 from the heirs of Jim and Martha Sitzes. The heirs wanted the city to have the building because of its historical value.
“I believe in historical preservation, and that [possibility of elimination] really irritated me because the Ice House was given to City Hall,” Ware said.
Echoing the mayor, Guard said the city has no plans to do anything to the Ice House.
“I don’t have any money to do this anyway,” Guard said.
The conditions in the building are “nasty,” with records covered with mold, he said.
“I would not ask anybody to go in there and retrieve a record,” he said.
No developers have approached the city about buying the building, Guard said.
Ware said she spoke to Peggy Riddle from the Denton County Office of History and Culture. Riddle told her to start a petition and to also contact the director of development services in Pilot Point.
Ware said she met with Kelly Carpenter, director of development services in Pilot Point, about the building.
“This Ice House belongs to historic Pilot Point, to the history of the town and the collective memory of many people still living,” the petition stated.
Ware said she heard that a parking lot would be built on the property where the Ice House stands, and she said she fears that a parking lot would bring noise, light and air pollution.
The petition states supporters fear “weekend drunkards” would be enticed to come to the edge of The Square. Ware also worries about the vineyard growing on her property on Liberty Street if the parking went up where the Ice House is.
“The vineyard is an effort to beautify the city,” she said.