Commissioners consider Old Jail lease


County commissioners met in special session Monday to discuss items regarding the Old Jail building and the museum inside. At issue was a lease agreement between the county, who owns the historic structure, and Gonzales Preservation Inc. that operates the museum inside.

A new lease was presented from Gonzales Preservation in the lead up to a grant application they are looking to receive from the Texas Historical Commission in the amount of $21,600 in order to begin a window restoration project on the jail.

Commissioners asked if everything would remain the same in the new lease agreement between all parties. The jail also houses the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce. Gonzales Preservation officials said that it would. Commissioners had concerns regarding a 15 foot “easement” around the footprint of the jail, and what that meant. Glenda Gordon, speaking on behalf of Gonzales Preservation, said that the easement is simply to describe the property and was created by their attorney in drawing up the lease. The lease, she said, was less about the easement and more about the organization being allowed to operate the museum and to seek more funs for restorations.

It was noted by another Gonzales Preservation official that the easement would guarantee that the county could not place anything near the jail that would impede them from accessing any part of it.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Donnie Brzozowski asked Gordon if the organization carried liability insurance for the museum, in which she said they did not. They are a volunteer organization, she said, and were looking for legal standing to operate the museum before they went out for insurance quotes.

County Judge David Bird mentioned that the county carried a $2 million line of insurance on the building itself, and that liability likely fell under the county's insurance umbrella.

Commissioners decided to table the item and return to it next meeting once they have had time to review it further.

“It is very important that [the jail] is alive over there and people can come and learn,” Gordon said after the meeting.