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Hays 2020 Parks Bond: Kyle, Buda projects on the ballot

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Hays County invites voters to learn more about Proposition A — the 2020 Parks and Open Spaces Bond — on the ballot this year through their website: There residents can read about the bond, view a story map of the projects and see answers to frequently asked questions.

Hays County Proposition A would potentially fund, either wholly or partially, approximately 15 projects that were vetted by the Parks and Open Spaces Commission earlier this year. There are five projects proposed in the Dripping Springs area, four in the San Marcos area, four in the Wimberley area and two in the Kyle and Buda region of various sizes and costs.

The story map can help visually explain the projects that could be funded if voters approve the bond, which would fund roughly $75 million for new parks, trails and open spaces over the next several years. 

The website also has the specific bond language, in English and Spanish, that voters will see on their ballots.

“Being familiar with what is on a bond is important,” said Hays County General Counsel Mark Kennedy. “If you haven’t seen the information ahead of time, bond language can be a little overwhelming.”

If the bond is approved, Hays County will attempt to negotiate agreements that determine qualification for each project to receive some bond funding; most projects would only be partially funded through the bond and were presented with alternative funding to complete the project cost.

The qualifications for projects to receive funding are that Hays County is able to secure control of the project site to ensure prudent use of funds, that Hays County is able to secure public access to the project site, or a portion thereof, to ensure public enjoyment and that Hays County is able to secure a match of funds or in-kind value. The program had a goal of a 1:1 funding match or better. 

The projects in the Kyle and Buda area are both considered connectivity projects; the Violet Crown Trail extension into Hays County and the Fajita Fields, festival grounds and trail system project. 

The Violet Crown Trail is considered a tier one project, or highly recommended to fund at some level, should the bond pass, while Fajita Fields is a tier two project, or strongly recommended to fund at some level. 

The Violet Crown Trail project is sponsored by the Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) at $500,000. The project also has $200,000 in grant funding from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s trail program. The project is requesting $3,800,000 in total. 

The project would create 14 miles of new trails through publicly owned lands to connect Hays County with the City of Austin’s Violet Crown Trail. 

The trail would be located about six miles west of Buda, with trailheads at Bliss Spillar Road and at the FM 967 crossing. In the heart of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, the trails would loop south near Onion Creek near FM 150 and potentially connect into parks in Kyle and Buda. Trails built by the HCC are built to high-quality, sustainable trail standards. 

The second project in the Kyle and Buda area is the City of Kyle’s proposed trail system, festival grounds and sportsplex at Fajita Fields. The City of Kyle has requested $14,520,000 total for the project and has offered a one to one match for funding. 

The project would include a festival area, sportsplex and amenity area, approximately 21 acres of competition soccer fields, 39 acres of open space and practice fields, approximately four acres of greenway and 1 mile linear trail on 64 acres of undeveloped parkland. 

The project will serve a variety of uses by serving as a central hub for athletics, recreation and event space in Hays County. The trail provides future connectivity to the violet crown trail, uptown and heroes memorial park. 

From the project submission document, the City of Kyle said the location and amenities allow numerous possibilities to enhance economic development year-round and that it was a project that would enhance equity and access for all. 

San Marcos Record

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