Dion White loves history, and he thinks people need to visit museums to learn about it — rather than looking up information on a smartphone.
“I don’t know when ‘google’ became a verb,” White told Brownwood City Council members Tuesday, when he asked the council to consider creating more parking spaces for visitors to the Brown County Museum of History. White also asked the council to consider replacing the sidewalk and ADA ramp outside the building at 209 N. Broadway.
White, who is CEO of the Center for Life Resources, spoke to council members in another capacity — as chairman of the museum’s board of directors.
Council members tabled White’s request to create five additional parking spaces at an estimated cost of $6,540 and to replace the sidewalk and ramp in front of the building for an additional estimated cost of $4,600.
Council members liked Mayor Stephen Haynes’ suggestion that the city asked the county to share the cost of the two projects.
Parking is an issue for visitors to the museum, White told council members. He said museum visitors were asked to complete a survey recently and 75 percent indicated they had trouble finding parking places, White said. It was noted that the museum is open for a total of 14 hours a week.
“Whenever I moved here back in 2010, something that really blew my mind was the history of the city and the county and Camp Bowie, and World War II, the thousands of people, the heroes that went through here," White told council members.
“History’s always been dear to my heart. I just love history and I want to preserve that.”
It’s necessary to visit a museum to learn about history “where you can see the artifacts. You can see the (exhibits) first-hand,” White said. “And I’m just worried that in today’s world, with information so quick and everything’s on Twitter, that we’re losing that.
“The new generation of folks coming up are losing that appreciation for our history and for our real heroes and for those things that we have there at the museum.”
City staff has worked with the museum staff to develop an alternative parking plan, Assistant City Manager Tim Airheart told council members.
“Because we have a very active downtown business climate, parking is a premium," Airheart said.
City staff looked at several ideas that are not feasible, and came up with a proposal to re-stripe existing spaces, move a fire hydrant and narrow the width of the curb cuts into the Enterprise parking lot across the street from 56 feet to the standard 36 feet, Airheart told council members.
The proposal “seems like a large expense to gain a handful of spots,” Haynes said, noting that the city would spend $6,542 for five additional parking spaces.
Haynes recommended tabling the proposal and asking the county to participate.