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City deserves tag of Texas Treasure

Denton is now officially a Texas Treasure, and we believe the designation is long overdue.

We’re referring, of course, to the city’s recent recognition as the Texas Historical Commission’s First Lady’s Texas Treasures Community of 2014.

The special award, an initiative from the office of Texas first lady Anita Perry and the Texas Historical Commission, recognizes communities that showcase their dedication to preservation efforts through participation in state and local programs.

We take a lot of pride in Denton’s historic downtown, and with good reason. Anchored by one of the most beautiful courthouses in the state, the square is home to many historic structures and retains the look and flavor of the city’s past.

Newcomers may not realize it, but what you see in downtown Denton today is the result of many years of hard work by a lot of dedicated residents and business owners. It didn’t come easily or quickly.

We are fortunate to have this picture-book setting to enjoy — many other Texas cities foolishly allowed many, if not all, of their historic structures to be lost through the years.

Some seem to no longer have a center or a soul.

The fact that Denton is only the 10th city to receive this award emphasizes its importance. It is a tribute to many residents and community leaders who realized that an authentic downtown was immensely preferable to the “false-front” modern additions that began to rise a few years ago in some cities.

Mark Wolfe, executive director of the Texas Historical Commission, told those gathered for the May 28 presentation that it was about time he showed up with the award for Denton.

“It’s nice to be able to share a celebration with people who worked so hard for an award,” Wolfe told the city, county and historical officials and residents packed inside the Commissioners Courtroom of the Courthouse on the Square.

Local officials who attended the May 28 presentation — including new Denton Mayor Chris Watts and County Judge Mary Horn — noted the collaboration between the city and county in preserving the city’s history, an effort that continues to grow and expand.

That’s the important part of this story — the need to continue to nurture collaboration and teamwork to fund and promote restoration projects that will keep Denton’s downtown alive and thriving.

Restored historic buildings are beautiful, but they’re no good if they remain empty and unused. We must continue to encourage investors to find innovative ways to build on the historic base to provide products and services that today’s consumers demand.

Downtown Denton is a tremendous tourism draw, mostly because business owners have had the foresight to invest and build, worked hard and kept the faith.

Awards like this one will help focus positive attention on our historic downtown and bring even more visitors.

We know they’ll like what they find when they get here.