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June 18th, 2008
Hays County Civic Center rennovations under consideration

Commissioners gave their approval for the Hays County Civic Center to take bids for new bull chutes at today’s meeting, however, the discussion about the center did not revolve solely around the bidding process. Many were concerned about the general state of the center, and what can be done to better support it.”A lot of programming has gone,” said facility manager Barry Nelson, referring to the loss of Chilimpiad and several other events, including 11 Equine events, 4 Bull events and one tool show in the last few years.

Furthermore, in an email to county commissioners, Nelson pointed out that none of the existing bathrooms are ADA compliant, there are problems with the doors that could hinder evacuation in an emergency, and wiring and electrical systems that are badly in need of repair. Also, the only air conditioning is provided by a misting system that can only lower temperatures by 10 to 15 degrees.

4-H, livestock shows, and the League of United Latin American Citizens still use the center extensively, however Nelson sees the potential for growth.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley expressed both concern and optimism that conditions could be improved. “We need a facility for the 21st century,” said Conley, who then said that both a short and long-term plan was needed to help the center.

Nelson also suggested an advisory council be set up by both those that use the facility on a regular basis and those that don’t usually attend events there. “What the community wants might be different than what the center wants,” said Nelson.

According to the email Nelson sent the court the chutes are needed to attract more bull riding events. In the email Nelson states that he has “…had 3 inquiries for bull riding events, but when the potential client comes to the facility and sees the state of our equipment and the lack of a full set of 6 chutes, all 3 clients have booked their events elsewhere.”

“It’s improving everyday,” said Nelson. “My goal is every time someone comes out they need to see a new and positive change.” More Equine events have been booked recently, but given the special requirements for these shows investment will be needed to keep them.

“We all see the potential here,” said Nelson.

Discussion then turned to growth in Hays County, and how to manage it. County Judge Elizabeth Sumter sought the thoughts of the court on this matter. “I’m looking for direction here,” said Sumter, who then asked if growth in Hays County could be handled from a holistic perspective or through a project at a time, as has been the custom.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Karen Ford expressed initial support for the holistic approach in the open-ended discussion, but urged caution. “I like the holistic approach but I have questions on how we approach the approach,” said Ford.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton expressed his thoughts on the holistic approach as well.

“I have sympathy for the holistic approach but I’m concerned about the cost,” said Barton. “We might have to go in bite sized installments.”

No action was taken as Sumter was seeking guidance and opinion from the court. However, the court is looking into filling the vacant senior planner position for the county.

In other business Conley is applying for a set on the Region L South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group. The court unanimously approved a proclamation nominating Conley for the position. The group develops five year plans to protect water resources in the area. There are 16 regions, whose groups also identify water needs, assess potential supplies, and recommend strategies to the Texas Water Development Board. Nominations for the position close at 5 PM on June 20th.

The court will not be meeting on July 1st and 15th due to summer scheduling.


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