Ground broken for Heritage Center

BREAKING GROUND on the new Texas Rangers Heritage Center with the first shovels full of dirt turned on Tuesday, Sept. 24, were, from left: State Rep. Doug Miller, Governor Rick Perry, Bennie Tahmahkera Jr., Mayor Jeryl Hoover, Joe B. Davis, Milton Wright (behind Davis), Lila Davis, Chris Davis, Lee Spencer White and historian Mike Cox.

Governor attends ceremony for $10 million facility

By Ken Esten Cooke— A project 14 years in the making broke ground on Fredericksburg’s east side Tuesday morning, promising to add another popular attraction for visitors to Fredericksburg.

The Texas Rangers Heritage Center came one step closer to reality with Governor Rick Perry, State Rep. Doug Miller and an overflow crowd of an estimated 350 in attendance.

The center will be built on acreage between Fort Martin Scott and the Hill Country University Center.

“I can’t think of a better location,” said Joe B. Davis, president of the Former Texas Rangers Foundation, and the driving force behind the project. “Fort Martin Scott has a great history here, and it involves the Texas Rangers.”

Davis said it was a great turnout for an event he had envisioned for well over a decade. He teared up as he thanked his FTRF staff, “who do all the work,” and his wife, Lila, “who has been with me throughout this journey.”

“Pardon me,” he said while collecting himself, “but that’s just the way it is.”

Perry said the project is the perfect fit for Fredericksburg.

“When Larry Martin and Joe Davis were sharing with me that they thought they had a piece of property and it was in Fredericksburg, I knew it would be a very special place,” Perry said. “This community is fascinating, whether you like to come for the art galleries, or museums, or wineries or wildflower centers, it goes on and on. This center will add the opportunity to learn more about the history and heritage of heroes in the Texas Rangers.”

Perry said the lore of the Rangers will draw visitors from around the nation.

“They represent a special place in the history of American law enforcement. They’re immortalized by Hollywood, written about by countless authors, sung about by balladeers, and they are an essential part of the fabric of this state and our country,” Perry said.

“To this day, the Texas Ranger badge stands for professionalism, excellence and determination,” he said. “And to this day, nothing chills the heart of a wrongdoer more than the phrase ‘the Rangers are looking for you.’”

Perry said while investigative techniques have changed, the Rangers “have not changed all that much.”

“They may not ride a pony as often as they do a high-tech helicopter, but they are there,” he said.

Miller said he discovered an ancestor of his wife in last week’s Standard-Radio Post listing of Rangers from Gillespie County who had served during the 1800s. He said the Rangers’ history will play in well with that of Fredericksburg, which values its tradition.

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