With all the discussion about Cape’s Dam and the surrounding areas, there is a question I keep asking myself.
Is the city of San Marcos capable of rising to the challenge in creating a vision — a master plan — for Cape’s Dam, Stokes Park, the mill race and the surrounding areas?
There really is no reason why our city is unable to restore Cape’s Dam, providing safe passage for fish and wildlife, while still providing safe recreational access for through the historic millrace. Where there is a will, there is a way. Sometimes quick fixes are not the solution and it is better to start over.
We need to create a signature project through a process in which all the various interest groups, organizations and river enthusiast have a say in make the project their own while working in collaboration. Organizations like the U.S. Fish & Wildlife department, Texas Historical Commission, Texas Parks & Wildlife and other groups such as the kayakers, veterans, river enthusiast and tourism promoters should all have seats at the table.
The project should think big, making accommodations for all, including: Proving safe passage for fish and wildlife; safe access points for recreation; protection for our endangered species; protecting our history with Cape’s Dam and the mill race; and preserving the water in the mill race for our community and veterans.
At the city council meeting this week, several city council members said they were willing to look at the idea of creating a group or commission to develop a plan. Let’s hope that if this group is formed and it is inclusive so that all parties have a say and common solutions can be found.
Our city is rich, with many people and groups who have a love for the river. What we need from the city is leadership so all of its river enthusiasts have a seat at the table working in collaboration. By working together, opportunities may be discovered and solutions may be found.
We all need a chance to step back and think big.
COVER: The San Marcos River at Cape’s Dam. SAN MARCOS MERCURY FILE PHOTO. © 2012, JAMIE MALDONADO PHOTOGRAPHY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.