NOCONA, TX (KAUZ) - The old Justin Boots and Leather Good's building in Nocona is nearly 100 years old and filled with history. It's one reason why the city has been trying for the last two years to revive it.
"We've been raising money for the last couple of years to revive the entire area and we just didn't have enough to do it," Nocona City Councilor and business owner, Bob Ferguson said.
In 1920 the Justin Boots store moved into downtown Nocona. In 1925 the store became the Justin Leather Good's Factory. Now it just sits abandoned.
"It's really important that we save it as far as Nocona and the history of Justin and the leather industry," Councilor Ferguson said. "It's really important to me."
In December the city was awarded a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant. Now they are putting the project out for bid.
Councilor Ferguson said they are concerned about bids higher than the grant amount, but said it won't slow them down.
"We're going to get it done," he said. "This has been going on a couple of years now. We've been trying to finish it. Regardless of what we do, even if we have to scale back a little bit more, we will get something up here and it'll be nice."
The grant money will go towards an open-air area with public restrooms. The enclosed part of the building will be an indoor area paid for by private fundraising.
Councilor Ferguson said the whole project is bigger than just a new Community Center.
"People want to come out and see the surroundings, small towns, small areas," he said. "They don't want us to build a grapevine or something they see all the time. We need to save our history and just share it with everybody."
Ferguson said that many of the buildings in downtown Nocona have been revitalized and it's important they continue to do so because they all play a huge role in the city's history.
Councilor Ferguson said once bids are opened and a decision is made, the city is hoping for construction to be complete sometime in early 2018.