Mike Rhoades, president of the San Marcos chapter of the Lions Club, addresses the San Marcos City Council Tuesday night. Photo by Bill Peterson.
While San Marcos officials investigate a fire that destroyed the Lions Club’s inner tube supply as arson, they’re also starting to think of ways they can redesign the City Park facility as they rebuild it.
On a temporary basis, San Marcos Lions chapter president Mike Rhoades said the inner tube rental operation will work out of two 40-foot storage containers when it resumes business as early as May 16. One of the trailers would be insulated for office use.
San Marcos parks director Rodney Cobb said the Lions and the city face “a few obstacles” to re-opening. Cobb said the fire wiped out electric service to the park. However, Cobb added, new power should be up by the end of this week or the start of next.
San Mayor Mayor Susan Narvaiz asked Rhoades if there was anything at all the Lions Club needs from the city to get back to tube renting. Rhoades said the Lions need little more than the city’s blessing.
“The support and outpouring we’ve received from the city and the citizens of San Marcos have been unbelievable,” Rhoades said. ” … All we’re looking for is the ‘OK’ to go ahead. We’re not asking for any money or anything else.”
Councilmember Kim Porterfield brought up the possibility that a permanent reconstruction could lead to a reshaping of City Park area from where the Lions club rents out tubes. The city has $400,000 in capital improvement money set aside for City Park.
Furthermore, said City Manager Rick Menchaca, the city will receive an insurance settlement for the building. Menchaca said outside Tuesday night’s city council meeting that the those two sources combined could give the city some flexibility in redesigning.
In addition to all that, the state legislature is working on legislation that could give cities access to hotel tax money for river tourism.
The Lions began renting inner tubes for riding the San Marcos River currents during the 1970s. At first, the Lions rented 20-40 tubes per day from a cattle truck with a portable air compressor located behind Joe’s Crab Shack. At the end of each day, the tubes were stored in a club member’s garage.
The concession has now grown to 800-850 tubes per day, making the program the local Lions’ largest fundraising enterprise. Proceeds enable the Lions to donate to more than 100 charities in the area. The Lions rent out the tubes under a franchise agreement with the city.
An early morning blaze on April 27 destroyed the Lions Club tube rental building located in San Marcos City Park.
The fire started between 5:00-5:30 a.m., causing significant damage to the roof of the cinder block building and destroying the contents of the Lions Club tube rental, which operates out of the west side of the building.
Rhoades said the club had recently received a $15,000 shipment of special order tubes from China that were “completely destroyed.”
“We self-insure ourselves,” Rhoades said. “So it’s a complete loss.”
Fire fighting efforts were hampered by the lack of water supply and fire hydrants at the park, according to San Marcos Fire Marshall Ken Bell. He said South Hays County Fire Department was called for mutual aid to provide water tender trucks to the four San Marcos fire station trucks already present.
The Lion’s Club tube rental concession area, restrooms and kitchen sector were destroyed.
One firefighter was injured when he was struck by a metal fragment while cutting through a metal door during the salvage and overhaul operation after the fire.
In a special meeting the night of the fire, the Lions Club decided to order $15,000 worth of inner tubes in an attempt to revive the concession quickly.Email | Print