Old bridge stage to be dedicated in memory of Councilman Hazelip
Posted by : March 23, 2014| On :
By David Webb
KEMP–An old steel bridge being converted to a stage for Kemp City Park will be dedicated to the memory of recently deceased City Council member Jerry Hazelip.
The bridge is now in place on a vacant lot directly across from City Park, and its renovation into a covered stage is complete. The stage will be used for the first time during Kemp’s Wildflower Festival on April 12. It will again be used for Easter Sunday sunrise service April 20.
Mayor Laura Hanna Peace said she plans to buy a bronze plaque to dedicate the new stage to Hazelip, who recently died in Dallas Presbyterian Hospital after suffering a heart attack and never regaining consciousness.
Peace said that she, Hazelip and general contractor Henry Mosley worked out the design for the stage just before the councilman began complaining of feeling short of breath and entering the hospital. He suffered a severe heart attack in the hospital and died about a week later on Feb. 28.
“Helping me with the bridge is one of the last things Jerry did,” Peace said. “I depended on Jerry to help me with so many things. I’m going to miss him very much. He was a very good friend.”
Peace said Hazelip had encouraged her plan to convert the old bridge to a stage, and he gave her advice about maintaining its historical integrity.
Peace and Hazelip lived directly across the street from each other in Kemp. Hazelip had previously served two terms on the city council, but he agreed to accept an appointment from Peace to return to civic service when she was elected mayor in 2013.
Hazelip was remembered in the invocation at the Kemp City Council meeting March 11 where a plaque with his name remained in front of an empty seat.
The council had previously approved spending up to $10,000 to relocate and renovate the old county bridge to its current location. The funding will come from economic development funds being held in reserve by the city.
Kaufman County originally moved the century-old bridge to a grassy area behind the post office where it had sat unnoticed for several years. The county donated it to Kemp when it was replaced with a modern bridge outside of the city limits.
Mosley said the bridge was moved to the new location within one afternoon, and that it took about five days to renovate it. All of the bridge’s steel pieces were used in the construction of the roof.