ANNA - The Anna City Council voted April 14 to extend the city’s emergency declaration until Gov. Greg Abbott lifts statewide restrictions.


The motion passed unanimously, but not without some major reservations from the mayor and council.


Councilman John Beazely worried that solutions best for other parts of the country may not be best for Anna.


However, he acknowledged that there was also the possibility that cases could skyrocket if more things returned to normal.


“Personally, I feel like our city and our county here is not at significant risk like other highly populated areas. I really don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong,” he said. “Somebody out there is going to get the luxury of hindsight and we don’t have that.”


Mayor Nate Pike stressed that the city ordinance will automatically end when statewide restrictions are rescinded. The city can also independently rescind its motion at any time.


He also believes there’s a good chance that statewide restrictions will begin to be lessened sooner than many people think.


“I do think there’s big changes coming to all of this,” Pike said. “I think there’s going to be a plan to try and get people back to work probably next week.”


Pike added that when social distancing requirements are lifted, he wants to plan a community-wide celebration to thank first responders, healthcare workers, small businesses and others who endured throughout the pandemic.


As of April 14, there had been 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Anna and eight in Melissa. Of those, three remained active in each city.


Train is a comin’


Also on April 14, the council approved a plan to allocate $440,000 to bring a restored 1906 locomotive to Anna, despite the objections of councilman Kevin Toten.


Funds for the train will come from the Park Development fund. Plans now call for the train to be on standard tracks with loose rock between them.


Toten voiced concerns that this would be a tripping hazard for people crossing the tracks. He also believes that the loose rocks will quickly become a mess. Encasing them in concrete would double the track cost.


However, City Manager Jim Proce believes that there are other solutions that can provide a safe crossing, citing DART stations as an example.


It will take approximately five months for the train to be renovated and delivered to its new home at Sherley Heritage Park.