trading house ra2

County leaders and neighboring cities have seen an increase in popularity of Tradinghouse Lake Park.

Staff photo— Rod Aydelotte

McLennan County commissioners accepted a gift of almost 190 acres of park land and the resignation of a department head Tuesday.

Power generator Luminant handed over ownership of 190 acres near Tradinghouse Lake that the county has leased since 1969 for $1 a year.

The county received a $264,970 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to improve the location, County Administrator Dustin Chapman said.

Negotiations have been underway for some time, and the county is happy Luminant decided to simply give the property to the county, said Herb Bristow, an attorney the county hired.

County Judge Scott Felton, who lives near Tradinghouse, said the property is a jewel for local recreational opportunities, with access to one of the best fishing and boating lakes in the county.

“We don’t take the gift lightly,” Felton said. “We appreciate it very much.”

Tradinghouse Lake provided an important alternative to Lake Waco in recent years when flooding cut off access to Lake Waco for several months, Commissioner Ben Perry said.

Maintenance director

During Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners also accepted a two-week notice from Herschel Miller, county building maintenance director. Miller’s last day will be Sept. 15.

Felton said Miller has accepted a new role at Texas State Technical College, where he started his career.

“He was tickled to death to go back,” Felton said. “They made him a good offer and inspired him. He liked working at the county but he and his family thought that would be the best route for them.”

Felton said he tried to convince Miller to stay on with the county.

County leaders implemented a new procedure in June to review payroll status forms after Miller gave himself an unauthorized $14,000 raise that went uncorrected for months. Miller paid back the $5,784.21 he had already received in error by the time the it was discovered. Several county leaders at the time said they believed Miller made an honest mistake on a form.

Felton said while he is sure that situation was uncomfortable for Miller, the department head did not mention that incident in resigning.

Felton said he is not sure how long it will take to fill the role, but commissioners directed staff Tuesday to start advertising the opening.

“An important position like that, the process where all the commissioners are involved in it, it’s hard to move very fast,” Felton said.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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