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Honor change, courage with Lindsey Hill

Guest Column
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Let me start by saying I am happy to know about the history of San Marcos being one of the first to start the integration process back in 1955. All those years Lamar served as a school and there is not one mention on the SMCISD website that this location was one of the sites of the first schools in Texas to integrate. What I am troubled about is there seems to be a small group that feels this school should not be touched now because of the history. That every single part of it remain intact. Are we to make it some sort of historic site waiting for funds to improve it? Much like the old leaning wooden black church on MLK or the home economics building behind the Dunbar Activity Center which is all that remains of the Dunbar School and is in disrepair?

These developers have an excellent plan to honor the history of this site by first, saving two of the buildings that actually have some economic value and architectural significance, and second, they already are working to create a visual history piece to provide a meaningful educational opportunity about the history of this site. 

If you own a business anywhere downtown or you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce your voice needs to be heard. The economic value to downtown business is tremendous with year-round customers just steps away. Our downtown is becoming vibrant with weekend markets and festivals, Thursday art walkabouts, movies and concerts in the park and yet parking remains a BIG problem. Again, the walkable appeal to town and our largest employer, the university, is a big plus. Please don’t tell me that nobody walks. It just means you don’t walk anywhere. Come sit on my porch and watch all the people everyday that walk and bike to town. As downtown grows, employers and employees are going to need housing. Many may not want to buy this close to town, but they can rent. They may also stay and use local realtors when they do decide to buy. There are condos for sale, and many who are ready to downsize look forward to a neighborhood so close to what our city has to offer.

If you live in the city limits and pay city and school taxes, you have a voice in this. It’s not about who lives next door or down the street from this property. It’s about what it can do for all of us. When the school board sold this property, it came as a welcomed addition to the tax base. Living here for 38 years has shown me what can happen when a state university takes over so much of your city and pays nothing to the city tax base. I don’t know the projected cost of this development but I know it will be a much-needed increase to our city and public schools’ tax funds.

While it’s impossible to achieve 100 percent perfection, or make everyone happy, so much of what we need and want as a community is provided within this project. Mr. Lerman and Mr. Berins have worked tirelessly for several years, listening to neighbors and businesses. They have tried to meet with the city council and other boards. They have studied Vision San Marcos and interviewed a huge number of people in order to craft this project. They have gotten to know many of us and show great respect for us as well as those against their project. With condos for sale, hidden parking, retail space, spacious 1-2-3 bedroom apartments with strict rental agreements and open space, this is an opportunity for this neighborhood and city. 

I think it’s time our City Council show some leadership and be open and involved in development for something besides students. City council as well as planning and zoning should always be open to the possibilities with open dialog. We elect and expect our council to work together, not be so fractured and bickering with each other. We elect and expect our council to be able to park their personal agendas at the door and stop wasting time and our money while they stall making decisions. There were council members at the last meeting ready to serve on the sub-committee the minute it came up and they even had the perfect public people picked out to be on their new committee. A year after this process has started, council has decided on a sub-committee to study it? Not only is that transparent but insulting to anyone paying attention. These investors have been involved with neighbors, businesses and paying tax on this property for several years.  The first, that I know of, mixed use project in this town and council hasn’t found time before now to meet with them much less study it.    

I totally understand many can’t show up at every planning and zoning or city council meeting but you still have a voice in this. Go to www.lindseyhilltx.com and see the aspirations for Lindsey Hill. If you think it will be a good opportunity and multi use project as well as a much needed addition to our tax rolls then use your voice and let City Council know.  If you can’t attend, you can email. 

Their email contacts are 

Andrea Villalobos at avillalobos@sanmarcostx.gov

Amanda Hernandez at  ahernandez2@sanmarcostx.gov

Sandi Neese is a resident of San Marcos