BIDC awards grant for tasting room

July 19, 2017

A local family with a long history in Terry County is eyeing the future and the Brownfield Industrial Development Corp. has agreed to help them.

As the Grape Capital of Texas continues to grow and find its place in the state’s wine industry, the BIDC board heard that vision and voted to award Farmhouse Vineyards a $20,000 matching grant.

Farmhouse Vineyards, owned and operated by Nick and Katy Jane Seaton and Anthony and Traci Furgeson, will put the funds toward turning a long-standing home on the Old Lamesa Road into a Co-op tasting room and temporary living quarters for vineyard workers, wine experts, or winery owners visiting to view local crops.

Katy Jane Seaton spoke before the board and said the future is bright for Brownfield’s vineyard industry.

The family will convert the white Parker house into a multi-purpose space.

“This old stucco white house is near and dear to our hearts,” she said. “It’s a funky little house that is full of history and as the vineyard matured around the house, it’s almost like it began to speak to us, regarding its renewed sense of purpose.”

The group intends to offer the home’s main area as tasting space available to local vineyard owners who have their own wine labels.

In addition to the house, a harvest pad and paved parking will be constructed, to allow the public to actively view work in the vineyard and harvest.

“We have found that people are very curious about the vineyards and they want to see what goes on, but most are not as accessible to the public as ours is,” she said. “We’re in town and on the road so we want to educate the community and invite them to see how this works. Imagine a long-standing production agricultural farm now becoming a beautiful place of respite just two blocks from our fantastic city pool.”

BIDC board voted unanimously to award the $20,000 matching grant and encouraged Seaton to continue to promote Terry County’s grape industry.

In other business, the board authorized executive director David Partlow to negotiate for the purchase of a small parcel of land adjacent to the railroad near 7th Street.

The lot, just shy of one acre, includes a rail spur and was offered for sale by Todd Cecil, a former employee of the West Texas and Lubbock Railroad.

Partlow said owning the lot would give BIDC an advantage in attracting a company that needed rail access and the land could be combined with other parcels nearby if more area is needed for a prospective business.

“Those lots can be purchased in the future if needed, but this one piece is the key because of the rail spur and its attachment to the railroad tracks,” he told the board. “Whoever controls this piece can decide who’s going in there. It’s an economical way of getting a spur as well, because it can be very expensive to construct one.”

Cecil’s asking price for the land was $45,000, which is in line with real real estate with rail access and a spur.

Partlow said he would negotiate and bring a counter offer back to the next board meeting.

The board also discussed multiple offers for land in the High Plains Winery Estates and instructed Partlow to pursue the matter further with recommendations at the next meeting.

Financial reports were reviewed, showing BIDCorp.’s reserve funds of $1.5 million with interest earned of $1,702 last month.

A sales tax report was heard with continued positive gains for the months and year to date.

Minutes from a previous meeting were approved.

The full board was present for the meeting, to include Brian Brisendine, Chairman, Michael Franke, Steve Carter, Judy Besler, and Mike Swaringen.

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Category: Updates