By BRAD ROLLINS
Hays County commissioners voted this morning to dedicate $2 million in parks bond money for development of the Blue Hole Regional Park and Preserve.
The 126-acre park in Wimberley includes the popular swimming hole on Cypress Creek where generations of county residents have spent sunny summer days. In presenting their proposal to the commissioners court, supporters said the park is a natural jewel that should be protected and preserved.
“It really is an important community project and part of a much grander plan,” said Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley, who sponsored the measure.
The expenditure was approved 4-0. Pct. 4 Commissioner Karen Ford was absent to attend a family member’s funeral, County Judge Elizabeth Sumter said later in the meeting.
The county’s share of funding will be matched by local contributions to implement the second phase of the park’s master plan. The county previously granted $3 million to the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association to buy Jacob’s Well, the Cypress Creek headwaters upstream from the Blue Hole. Both projects are being paid for with the sell of $30 million in general obligation bonds approved overwhelmingly by Hays County voters in May.
The park is part of a 500-acre tract of farmland purchased by John R. Dobie in 1897. Beginning in the 1920’s the family allowed fee-based swimming and picnicking at the Blue Hole, according to the park’s masterplan. In the 1970s, the land was bought by a group that formed the Blue Hole Recreation Club, which allowed public use of the property for swimming and camping.
When the land was put on the market and was being eyed for residential development, part-time Wimberley resident Peter Way agreed in 2003 to buy and hold the property for two years to allow local partners time to raise funds. The transfer of the property to the village of Wimberley was completed in 2005.