Many of those with the City of Wharton and those associated with local businessman Richard Lockley are hoping a new joint venture to improve the area around Zarsky Lumber Company, Inc. will turn an eyesore into something appealing and, more importantly economically viable.

The old business located at 1106 North Richmond Road was the topic of conversation and request for dollars at a recent Wharton Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) regular meeting. Lockley, who owns and operates Wharton Feed & Supply, addressed the WEDC Board of Directors with numerous advisory board members present.

He made a funding request for improvements to the property that would enhance the business through adequate inventory and easier maneuvering around the parking lot for pick-up orders for those in the construction business. Lockley said at some point in the near future, he would like for Wharton Feed & Supply, which he purchased from Tim Barker, to co-exist with the new business. He told the WEDC board in his presentation that he would service not only customers in Wharton, but the surrounding area. He plans to sell a variety of merchandise, including lumber and paint, to attract various construction companies, but also different age groups and both men and women.

He said the fence area at the old Zarsky’s site would be improved, and some of the exterior that is dated taken away and enhanced.

The board of directors present included President Marshall Francis, and also Freddie Pekar, Russell Machann, Judd Perry, Clifford Jackson and Bill Ansley. According to the minutes of the January meeting, the board unanimously approved to fund the request in the amount of $30,000. An amended motion was made by Pekar and seconded by Jackson to also have improvements made to 1311 North Richmond Road for $42,000.

“The board finds that it will promote the expansion of business in Wharton. Funding will be contingent upon completion of the project and the applicants providing paid receipts in the amount of $84,000,” the WEDC minutes read.

WEDC agreed to have signage posted on the property as being part of the renovation “investment.”

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